Monday, January 03, 2011

1 Dec, 2010 - Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

After a taste of Malaysia, we were very pleased to return to Indonesia. We chose Lake Toba in the cool, rainy highlands of Northern Sumatra based on stories and hauntingly beautiful photos our friends Rob and Sue had brought back from their Asia grand tour 25 or so years ago. The local people, the Batak, were fearsome cannibals. The Muslims never made any headway with the Batak, but they are now Christians.
I’m sure the journey is nowhere near as epic as 25 years ago. With connections, it took about 8 hours to fly the 200 miles from Langkawi, Malaysia, to Medan, the largest city in Sumatra. The next morning, a minibus picked us up at our hotel. With seven riders and the cargo area full to bursting, we headed off. The grimy, chaotic metropolis sprawled forever.
We enjoyed 10 minutes of toll roads. The Trans Sumatra Highway dwindled to two lanes but the drivers made it a three laner – pulling out and passing whenever possible. Nothing to do but try to relax and look at the palm oil and rubber tree plantations. Four and half hours later we arrived at beautiful Lake Toba. Touts directed us onto a gaily painted ferry and had us disembark at a resort that had been built by a German woman who had settled in the village of Tuk-tuk on Samosir Island after marrying a local Batak man. Our villa was clean and quiet. It had a soaring roof and a beautiful view of the lake. What a place to take a break from the heat and noise of SE Asia.


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