We met a few back-packers who have done an amazing travel log already - to areas of Sri Lanka - Vietnam - Mayarmaar (Burma)- Thailand - oh my goodness when you hear the travel itinerary it is amazing how people do it - Marleen you are still amazing to us traveling by yourself and Polly we too think you are so' brave to have done the same!
So many people do it! Where have we been???? Our German friends told us last evening that in Germany you have different levels of employee contracts you can make when you are employed with a employer and can agree to receive a 60% salary for 2 yrs and then take a one sabbatical year and your salary continues in that year! Both these couples are doing that!!!
With Nick & I being self-employed we are not at all familiar with this kind of set-up???? Is anyone aware/familiar with this in the States? Wow what a way to go! Even their health insurance continues! Of course their position is in tack when they return...oh my goodness that sounds like such a successful way to stay committed to your job and appreciate it as well when you return and are refreshed from your leave of absence or any trips you might want to take ~ Sure beats waiting till you are retired to travel and see the world! They have been doing this for quite sometime and they have enjoyed many places through the years and love this arrangement with their companies.
They said that in Germany people can get 'burn-out' with their jobs and loose interest - and so they set up these models to choose from so they will come back to their jobs with enthusiasm and new & fresh desire to finish and retire without burn-out! What a great way to do it - when you are in a job you want to retire in!
This morning we received an email and heard of our dear friend who passed away in her sleep - oh what news for her husband and family! Life is ever so precious and we so' need to be ever so thankful for our days together and remember that life is temporal!
Our hearts go out to the family in the days to come!
We enjoyed renting a scooter again - it has been a while since we did that on Koh Phangan Thailand. Nick & I so enjoy just driving along on these little rugged roads looking at these little villages here and there, discovering new things and meeting people! We were looking for a post office and found "Pos" OK they dropped the 't' got it!
We came across this little Batak village and heard it was a place they would judge people for serious crimes. We were able to enter into one of these houses which was interesting to see! It was very sparse...open floorplan with irregular wood planks and a few places where there was raised boards that were their beds...with a straw mat on it. There was a loft where other family members would sleep. In the center was a dirt area surrounded by rocks - which was the cooking area. People still live in these structures along the island in certain areas we drove through. They were not tall inside but the people could stand in them. They squat to do many chores in so many things they do...amazing how they can do that! No chairs - people just sit on the wooden floors. Not so for Ellen - a "YES!" for Nick!
A very old tree - look at all those roots ~ it was very large too!
This was a judging area for anyone that had broken a rule or law...the wise men would sit in a circle and the person who committed the crime, would sit in the center.
They were judged and set free or killed on the spot!
Thankfully this mother hen and her cute chicks were not bothered about all this history of the past!
There was a family living in this commune and they were so friendly and we chatted a bit. They always ask our age...and then share their own. They ask if I am Nick's wife, and ask where we are from. There was even some Dutch words spoken that the young man spoke very well! The elderly lady 83 yrs- she had teeth missing - and a sweet little grandma she was...began to sing "Jingle Bells" in Bahasa language (Indonesian) and we of recognized it and I began to sing Jingle Bells in English...and they laughed and laughed...so sweet! We came across a sign that said "door smeer" and found out that this person washes scooters and cleans them. We stopped for some gas for the scooter and saw the sign..."Ronny's Door Smeer"
These figures welcomed us or sent us off on our pathway!
Nick is tall but this guy is taller still! But the Courtyard of judgement was a serious place to be! Sometimes you think of how many people had possibly died there....ugh!
We are making some inquiries regarding our continued travels south and so yesterday we took the ferry back to the mainland and town of Parapat. There are so many people approaching you for offers...we walked into a little travel office to inquire about a taxi/van to Bukittinggi the town south of here...12 hrs that is~ There is a bus we can take that leaves at 9 pm in the evening and drives through till 6 am in the morning....ugh! These buses are jammed with people we hear and they don't leave until they are. Nick had taken one 24 yrs ago and - well to be honest - it sure didn't sound like anything we wanted to do. I don't like driving these windy roads at night anyway and there are only 2 lanes all the way. So a taxi/van is the next option. We put the word out that we are looking for another couple to share the costs with - $50,- each...otherwise they want us of course to pay the whole amount ourselves and that is not what we want to do! So we have extended our stay here one more night hoping to find another couple that also might be wanting to go south - surely there is! We hope to get this worked out soon. Not always so easy to get around in these parts!
The jungle is sparse here in Sumatra and the distances far on this big island. Another Dutch couple departed 4 days earlier and did fine...but their arrangements were made in Holland before their trip began. Their vacation was planned out day by day because they were on a time-limit.
Nick & I are learning little words and sayings: selamat pagi good morning (till noon), selamat siang good day (12-3) , selamat sore good afternoon (3-6), selamat malam good evening! (6 on~)
apa kabar how are you? baik good! ya yes tidak no, gula sugar, susu milk, pedas spicy (Ellen likes!) so little by little we would like to learn some words...we are also practicing our numbers that we did learn back home so we can become acquainted with prices here...we are already doing some shopping in the market place and buying items for our little kitchenette.
It makes it nice to be able to buy some goods here for breakfast and sometimes dinner. We might eat out one time which is so' reasonable in price $1- to $5.- dollars at the most!
We will continue to keep you posted - once we have made an commitment of travel in the next day or so! Say a prayer for us! Love ~
We were trying to get arrangements to go to Bukittinggi - and checked around for costs & a more comfortable way to travel the distance of a 12 hr drive through the mountains of Sumatra~
Then we heard from Rebecca - the gal from LA who traveled with us from Medan - Rebecca said before heading to Bali for the last week in Indonesia she would enjoy seeing a bit of Sumatra! She said if we were willing - she could join and split the ride down to Bukittinggi and travel together again? Yes! Yes! Rebecca - YOU ARE OUR ANSWER TO PRAYER!
Let's do it! OK she said - but the conference here ends on Saturday afternoon and could be depart on Sunday? Yes that is fine with us too- DEAL!
We had one more evening at Horas Family Home and we were blessed with a wonderful dinner by Berend & Mian! Wow how spoiled we were!
Sate with Peanut sauce, smoked catfish, spareribs, nasi goreng (fried rice) a salad, gado gado & krupuk It was all so delicious Thank you Berend & Mian for your hospitality and care! You spoiled us at Horas Family Home!
It was our last evening and we would be checking out on Saturday morning - so we went over to Tabo Cottages just down the way - a German run bungalow atmosphere resort...very cute with their own pier for the ferry.
In the evening they had some live music...and Annette the German gal sang along too...she speaks fluent Bahasa - she is married with a Batak Antol and they built this & run this beautiful resort together! Annette has been here since 20 yrs ago, when she first arrived with back-pack to visit the island! Annette bakes German bread and some pastries which makes it so nice for the tourists! Yes a little touch of the European is always a pleasure and yes the cottages were filled with European's too~ they had a good write up in the Lonely Planet travel book! Everything in the restaurant is freshly prepared.
Later that evening - finishing up with the conference, Rebecca came by to confirm our plans together for the next morning - Yeah Rebecca! We were all so' pleased to continue our travels together - how fun is that?!!!!!
She had a really busy week with the conference - 20 countries were represented there and she translated/interpreted all week Spanish-English-English-Spanish!
She said she was looking forward to taking the drive through the jungle of Sumatra with us and seeing the island and had read up on Bukittinggi and it sounded cute in her travel book!
Arrangements had been made by Mian - with Bagus Travel the day before - we would be departing from Parapat at 9 am the next morning. So we got up early, had some breakfast, and took our suitcases to the Tabo Cottage pier there by the pool, and waited for the ferry to arrive!
It would be a long day...we were told~ OK
...so long Lake Toba - it has been wonderful to see this beautiful lake and cute Tuk Tuk village on Samosir island!
Onward we Go!