Thursday, 8 March 2018

Lake Toba Ride (1-5 March 2018), Day 1 : Medan to Samosir Island


The team minus Gerard who was lodging a report on baggage loss
Our Malindo aircraft, operated by Batik Air
Boarding our bus to the terminal
Brothers in arms
Outside the terminal
Inspection and documentation done!
On our way to Tuk Tuk
View of Parapat
View of Tuk Tuk and our resort
KC at work...
The men languishing in the lobby!


Arriving at KLIA in the wee hours of the morning, Claudine was struggling with the peculiar ratchet strap on her trolley when she noticed another man with the same problem. Looking up, she was surprised to see Peter!

Unlike a bird watcher, she doesn’t need a pair of binoculars to identify him. Having seen him regularly on FB; his wide grin, paired with an almost perfect set of teeth was an instant give away!

After a brief introduction to VT and minor rearrangements, the trio had to resign themselves to “tired” bike boxes which lay sideways despite the “This Way Up” arrows. Hence on, wheeling the boxes to the check in counter, Peter was crashing through every pole barriers on the line...

One...two...three........

Watching from behind, VT and Claudine were horrified. No doubt, Peter was paving a trail for them but there was no way they were going to bulldoze their way in as well!!!

As a quick after thought, VT suggested leaving their bikes at the end of the counter, only to collect them for check in when their turn comes up. This idea became Peter’s pitfall, preventing him from scoring a strike!


Once checked in with the bike boxes nicely sorted out at the odd sized baggage belt, the next order of the day was sustenance. VT and Claudine were having a debate on what to eat when they bumped into Herbert, Fong Wan and Freddoe at McD’s. Peter and Kelvin soon joined in, after answering their calls of nature.

Everyone seems to be making a beeline to McD’s these days despite the obesity scare; kudos to their public mascot of a very lean Ronald McDonald!!! Under the clown’s hypnotic smile, we all sank our teeth into McD’s greasy offerings without any second thoughts. 

Let’s just say, nobody stayed long enough to see who’s The Biggest Loser. We all had a plane to catch!

Besides, the lack of security exhibited by the auxiliary police when a bag was left behind at McD’s leaves little assurance to stay longer. Even when cautioned by Claudine of a possible bomb, they had just shrug it off, even refusing to tail after the 2 Indonesian tourists that were approaching the immigration line.

Luckily, we did not make the news headlines for it was just a bag left by an absentminded tourist! Had it been actual explosives, we wonder what sweet eulogies will be extended to us by Crazy KC, Simon and Cindy! While the filial couple had to abandon the ride on the eleventh hour, Crazy KC had some business affairs to attend to.

The flight to Medan was just a short 45 minute shuttle. Landing at Kuala Namo’s airport, the first catastrophe began with Freddoe’s bike box which opened wide at the bottom. Thankfully, nothing was lost during transit.

Gerard was not as lucky. His checked in pannier never came out from the belt! By the time we boarded our vans for Parapat, jokes on under wear spanning from recycling to going commando had gone totally overboard!



Our original 4 hours journey to Parapat was cut half an hour shorter, thanks to a new highway that was opened just 2 months ago. With time to spare we separated the 161 km journey into several stages...

Toilet and toiletries stage at Lalang, Tebing Tinggi; 60 km away from the airport
* Toilet stop for everyone at Pertamina petrol kiosk
* Toiletries purchase for Gerard at the next door Indomaret

Pasar Baru, Tebing Tinggi
Tebing Tinggi street view
Good nasi padang, Tebing Tinggi

Physiological stage near Pasar Baru, Tebing Tinggi; 3 km away from our toilet stop to fulfill the first level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
* Food - lunch stop near Pasar Baru
* Warmth - clothes shopping for Gerard


Divine intervention stage in the religious town of Pematang Siantar
* a stopover to seek divine help from the Goddess of Mercy at Avalokitesvara Buddhist Monastery
* while the non Buddhists marvel at the looming statue, they also took note of the many churches looming within sight on Jalan Gereja

Call of Nature stage at Siantar Marimbun, 3 km away after our spiritual stop.
* potty break at yet another Pertamina petrol kiosk!


After our last toilet stop, our ascend to Parapat began. The air began to cool but the ash from Mount Sinabung continues to hover over us all the way to Samosir Island. Hence, when we boarded our ferry for Samosir Cottages Resort, the view of Lake Toba and its surrounding mountains remained a hazy blur.


Arriving at the resort, our bikes were already waiting for us. Not quite ready to unpack, we headed to Orari restaurant for a late lunch before assembly work began.

Bike assembly at resort's car park

Then, the next catastrophe happened! Dot’s bike was plagued with a gear shift problem that took hours to solve.

When Patrick finally sat down to take a close look, he likened the chains to Mr Potato Head. A mixed and matched chain deriving from the original Shimano chain was linked to a few pieces of SRAM and an unknown brand as well rendering it too long for the drive train!


At night, we had a sumptuous dinner at Jenny’s. Famous for their barbecued lake fish, only Herbert managed to order the coveted dish as they were sold out by then. Meanwhile, their roast pork served with julienned fried potatoes and salad came from a tough pig that had gone through some HIIT workouts!

As we made merry, a storm blew in, sometimes misting over us and our meals as well! Almost like a baptism ritual, it regenerated us, promising good days ahead!

Photo Courtesy :
KC Tay 
Herbert
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Samosir Cottages Resort











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