|The ride begins!|
|The Team at Warong Sibatu-batu|
|Tea and coffee for everyone; Mie goreng for Herbert at Warong Sibatu-batu|
|Pushing off from Warong Sibatu-batu|
|The boys at Langat Beach|
|Dot flanked by GQ models at Shimanindo Port|
|Exiting Samosir Cottages Resort|
|Our first sight of Batak house|
|Our first pit stop|
|View from Shangrila Resort|
|Bikes a plenty at Warong Sibatu-batu|
|Road constructions are still on going...|
|....thus, round island ride can still be quite rough!|
|Polygon MTB for rents|
|Food for another type of pets! Corn drying in the sun|
|Mummy and her pet son!|
|Pets for now, food in the furture!!!|
|Further up from the bath houses...|
|Little shepherd girls. Fixie bike can climb!!!|
|Church before the bath houses|
Stepping out of our rooms this morning, we were greeted by clear blue skies. Last night’s thunderstorm had cleared the haze, replacing it with crisp, clean air! Without a speck of cloud in the sky, the sun was shining through brightly, promising a good day ahead!
Indeed good tidings followed as we soon received news from the airlines that they had found Gerard’s missing pannier. Adapted to basic living after a mere 24 hours, Gerard gave instructions for his bag to be sent back home....perhaps out of fear of losing it once again or possibly loving his carefree commando style???
After a simple complimentary breakfast of either fried rice, fried noodles or bread served over tea, coffee or juice, we left the resort in good spirits. Following the perimeters of the island, Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world became a constant backdrop in our photos. Once in a while, we left the large basin of water to scenes of paddy fields and buffaloes.
Scattered along the countryside are native Batak houses. Traditionally built without a nail and earthquake proof, these homes are primarily used for sleeping. As such, they are poorly lit with their only light source streaming in from small windows.
Surprisingly, Batak people are not short as opposed to the small doorway in every home. The low entrance makes it compulsory to bend upon entry, thus a sign of respect to the occupants of the homes.
Skirting the lake, we rolled past many churches. Once, a gigantic Christian cross loomed from a hillside, visible for miles.
As the religious views lean mostly to Christianity, dogs here are kept as pets and sometimes meat! This, we soon witnessed at Warung Sibatu-batu, our first stop after an hour of riding! Pottering happily in the stall, oblivious to its future fate was a cute black puppy while simmering in a hot wok back in the kitchen was its next of kin!
After our heart wrenching experience, we rode on to Langat Beach, passing by the old grave of King Rosuhul. Carved out of large boulders, this grave has a distinctive cover which mimics the sweeping roof of a Batak house. Not decorated with a cross, unlike other large multistorey graves that dotted the countryside, we can only assume Christianity had not arrived in Samosir during his rule!
As we ventured nearer to Pangururan, graves became more extensive, reflecting on the economic viability of the area. Mostly on private farm lands, some looked more like a mausoleum, able to house the remains of an entire family.
Animistic practices of sheltering the dead are still followed to this day. Bodies are dug out 10 years after the original internment and reburied after the bones are polished! This explains the narrow chambers of some graves.
Too early to arrive at Pangururan, we detoured to Shimanindo Port which offers ferry service to Simalungun, Karo, Siantar, Tebing and Medan. Some of these ferries can load up to 12 cars. However, all we saw when we were there were small ferries loaded with motorcycles and passengers.
Leaving the port, the streets ahead were filled with school children on their home run. Eager to greet us and not shy at all, they raised their hands to exchange high 5’s!!!
Arriving at Pangururan close to lunchtime, we dined over a meal of Nasi Padang. Later, Kim Chai led us to our hotel which is located just next door!
A clean and simple boarding house, Hotel Wisata Samosir was basic to the core! The rooms are all NON air-conditioned with some not even fitted with a fan!
The complimentary toiletries of toothbrush and miniature bottled shampoo were a queer surprise! The bigger surprise though was the lack of toilet paper. Unless the culture here is to wash after every deposit, we preferred to be given a choice.....thank you!!!!
All ensuite bathroom comes with a squat toilet with no flush and dipper styled bathing. However, Dot’s presidential suite has a water heater which became the envy of all!
Another missing fittings in the bathroom is a washbasin. Looks like brushing one’s teeth will be a dilemma....to spit into the latrine and suffer the possible back splash or onto the wide floor and wetting one’s own feet?
As Apples used to grow on trees and a tablet is what you take when you have a headache, life has changed tremendously since the introduction of internet. Insecure without a connection, VT and Claudine rode 500 m to Palito Cafe to use their WiFi service which was otherwise not provided by the hotel.
We met again in the mid afternoon for an excursion to Aek Rangat Hot Springs. Located on the mainland and a mere 3 km away from our hotel, we were all slapped a small fee of IDR5000 as we entered the village. Beyond the “toll booth” bath houses decked the landscape, with each drawing water from the source.
Being a predominantly Muslim country, the outlook is still conservative. Men and women are separated into different pools while a family pool only allows male adults as caregivers! Private baths are also provided for the truly shy!
Entrance to the bath house is free BUT customers are required to dine in the adjacent restaurant. As the minimum charge for a drink starts from IDR10,000, perhaps negotiate just to pay the sum as a fee?
|When his hose fell, the man had to climb 8 feet down to retrieve it|
|VT helped to catch the hose from the top|
|Together, they reconnected the hose|
Not eager to swim in a pool, VT and Claudine explored the area, bumping into a local who was releasing water from his pool to lower its temperature. The endless flow from the spring, coupled with today’s sunny weather, had made his pool too hot for his customers.
Next to the rocky hills, VT and Claudine found the original source of spring water. As every bath house draws water from the source, the original river is reduced to a trickle.
At night, we went separate ways for dinner. While one group tried out C Way 88, just opposite Indomaret; another group went for seafood, right next to the convenience store.
Talking to the locals, Claudine found out C Way 88 is famous for their Mie pansit, a type of noodle which is similar to Sarawak’s kolo mee. This shop also whips up good fried ifumie and mie goreng, all of which were well received though a tad too salty.
Congregating at the hotel lobby after dinner, we shared small talks over durians before returning to our rooms to rest. Rest though, was long to come for the streets were extremely noisy until the wee hours of the morning!
Photo Courtesy :