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17

Lake Toba/Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia

December 20, 2011 – December 24, 2011

*** I edited this video of the USM buddies performance in the previous post, but as no-one seemed to get a notification, I'll just post it here aswell. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=333343996675745 *** After the useless classes on Wednesday i got our storeguy to drive me to the airport. I didn’t book any checked-in baggage, only my backpack as handluggage (was a bit bigger than allowed) but didn’t have any problems. I had liquids and scissors that I forgot to take out in there but had no problem to get it to the plane. The airport security in countries here really isn’t as serious as back in Europe. To be fair, Zelda and Alex had been taken out to inspect all their baggage throughout when arriving in Banda Aceh so it’s not totally ignored. I met a few German girls on the airport who we shared a cab to a cheap hotel really near a big mosque in Medan. Everyone who’s been here told about how loud they are in Indonesia, but I had no problem sleeping through the morning prayers at 6.30, didn’t hear a thing. I have actually never woken up to them, some people wake up every morning, so I’m a tight sleeper but that I always known. Anyways people who’ve been in Medan told me it’s like the ugliest city anywhere. I don’t know about that (having seen a really small part of it), but it’s really hot, dusty with lots of traffic and didn’t quite turn me on. But I was just passing through, after getting tickets to lake toba for next morning, we took a really old and broken motorbike with a side cart to go get some cash and food. Before the minibus left 9am, I had to book my ticket to Banda Aceh because their site didn’t accept my credit card online. First they asked for 450k IDR but showing them the real price online on my phone she made some more calls and I got it for 340k, which was a bit more than normal but ok. The road to Parapat, where the ferry at lake toba goes was really small and bumpy (I heard it’s the same everywhere in Sumatra). A European driver would go crazy and get stuck here so badly, everyone is passing each other all the time like crazy, even if there’s a long line of cars they pass them one at the time. Some of the passings became really close situations, but as everyone is used to it it works. Because they drive here every day, everyone keeps their eyes open and gives way, slows down or such for it to work. I can’t really imagine that in Finland. The ferry left pretty much immediately when we arrived there and I got off at the last stop, Sonys. It’s a basic place by the lake, about half an hour walk from tuk tuk, the “village” there. Actually it’s a road going aroung where all the services are. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world, 100km long and 30km wide, and the deepest point is around 500m. It’s really relaxed, people are in no hurry whatsoever, just taking it easy. There are activities to do but mostly it’s relaxing, reading, taking a dip in the coolish refreshing water. The climate is also nice with temperatures close to 25 C I guess, using Mattis words “you don’t have to sweat here”. In the evenings I was using my hoodie. There are lots of Finns coming there, probably the most, and for example a guy at the bar talked to us with words like “hölkyn kölkyn” and “ensipurasu”. As I was walking around, a guy gave me a leaflet about a Christmas dinner. We went there with Janina, Janne and his mom, Matti was too tired and stayed at Sonys for rest. The meal was nice and there was lots of people, after there was a traditional Batak music and dance show. I was picked to attend for one of the dances, basically just shaking your bum a bit, but was nice. Afterwards we walked back by the road and it was really quiet everywhere. They couldn’t really see that it’s Christmas from anywhere even though it’s a Christian area. We had our Christmas hats on and after walking back 15min we were a bit tired of replying Merry Christmas to everyone walking or driving past, sitting in their yard or a restaurant. I also asked about Christmas church from our guesthouse (there’s a protestant and a catholic church near), and she said she’s going at 8PM. However, our meal was at the same time so we (Janina also wanted to check it out) couldn’t go. We could have made it if we had gone right after eating as the mass lasted 2 hours, but we didn’t know it so, maybe next Christmas. It would have been interesting though. I was there from the 22nd evening to 25th afternoon when I continued forwards. I was planning to take the public bus to Medan just for the experience (every seat is sold like three times, there’s animals and people are smoking onboard, not to mention the driver stopping whenever he feels like it), but I met some young local guys on the ferry who happened to be from Medan, they happened to be there with a car which happened to have an empty seat and they asked me if I want to ride with them, so yeah why not. It was a 4000km driven new Isuzu turbo SUV, so the ride back was really cozy. I had to spend another night in Medan before flying in the morning..
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