Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Last Days on the island of Lake Toba ~

We are enjoying our stay here...doing walks, rented a scooter to discover our area...visiting with new friends and just hanging out!  We meant a person from SF area who lives here already 8 yrs~

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 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 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.  

We booked for the night and relaxed that day ~ 
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 long Lake Toba - it has been wonderful to see this beautiful lake and cute Tuk Tuk village on  Samosir island! 

Onward we Go!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Morning - wake up and arise! 9:30 am!

We had a BIG storm last evening ~ 

Wow it came down louder and more then I had ever heard before in Asia~ I took a clip of it and will see if it came through!  

Well first things FIRST...called Cecile, Jim & Mar on the magic jack! 10 am here ....Monday morning - 14 hrs back...Sunday evening 8 pm on the west coast! 

Hello! Hello Cecile? Do you hear me? How are you doing?  Yes a very clear connection huh?

Jim,..... are you there?  What is that... Maralin picked up the phone at Jim's? What you flew down in your plane...with all that stormy weather today Mar? Gosh careful!  
You came down into Concord and Jim picked you up at the airport there?  Oh coming down to CA for a few days to visit and see Mom & Jim? Good! And Ron & Viola visiting in Woodland too and will be coming by tomorrow - how nice!  So good to talk and visit for a while!  

Well at noon time Nick said: "Let's order lunch from Horas Family Home today...? Ah...sounds good to me Nico!  So within an hour...the sweet gal brings up so many dishes and we are ever so... ready to chow-down...look at this folks????!!!!!!!!
                           Krupuk...freshly fried.....Lekker! (shrimp chip)
                       Chicken sate' with homemade peanut sauce! Oh My!

                                       Gado Gado fresh vegetables with tempeh and hard boiled eggs

 Was this boy a happy & contented Indo or what????????????????
......... Yes and this Indo too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 So much to eat enough for this evening too! You Jim would say!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                         Yes a better meal you couldn't have...yes better then                                         Toomies you guys...really! 

A whole cup of peanut sauce and also sambal badjak served fresh ! My oh my...we are blessed! 

Time to eat....don't have to say it twice...we are ready! Yum Yum! 

Nick is now sleeping...tummy full and dozing on the bed....can you guess why?
Contented! Very!

Finally caught up with the Blogging!
Yeah! Enjoy! 

Love you all and again ...miss you! 

Warm greetings to the family in the Bay Area, Fairfield, Washington, Virginia, Cabo, Holland, Los Angeles Area,
 Bend & Prineville, Modesto.....Turlock...

....and friends through out!

Love from us on the island of Samosir Lake Toba Sumatra!

Sunday August 25th

Sunday morning & Church on the island~

 Breakfast on the was a good way to start the day...thank you Lord!

Berend came up to ask if we wanted to go to church?  Yes - we do...well it starts in 40 min...we can bring you with scooters?  Great! We quickly washed up and was ready at 9:50 am to go! How thoughtful of him!

We rode about 10 minutes to the main island to the little town of Ambarita and saw this very large building!
Full of Christian worshipers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How precious is that in a Muslim country!
 It seems that the Batak people (this region) are mostly Christians!  What a beautiful sight to behold!
 The men were on one side of the church and the ladies on the other side! But we sat in the back with another couple...which turned out to be Dutchies: Dick & Coby Scheepstra from Alkmaar ~

Here is the church program...on the boards - 6 of them through out the church...


                  ...sure saves on paper!

Luke 13:10-17 and Isaiah 58: 9b-14

(Jesaya was their spelling) 

 The teaching and hymn's were all in Indonesian - but someone did ready Luke & Isaiah in English for us! 

Everyone sang with such fervor and there was young ladies singing a song, adult men, and young men too had a song...and they children also did a hymn.  Their psalm book was all written in Indonesian! 

It was a wonderful experience and such a blessing to see and hear! What a special morning!  

We walked out of church and introduced ourselves to our neighbors in church... Dick & Coby and we suggested to go have a cup of coffee at the German Bakery and they agreed - and Nick & I walked back and they had bikes which they had rented.  

                                 The local people were all dressed so nicely ....the ladies all were dressed in their Sunday's pretty to see!                                 
                                             Selamat pagi....Good morning! 
 Here we sit...a Sunday afternoon after church under a bamboo umbrella....talking a sharing with new friends....God is so' good!
                Berend came over - I am sure he heard us speaking Dutch...and joined us for a little while!
 A very relaxing afternoon the rest of the day! Well it is Sunday you know! 

Corn was laid out to dry in a yard~

Shopping at Parapet Saturday Market & More!

Saturday Morning~ 

We woke up refreshed and sat on the balcony and Berend came to tell us if we needed to do any shopping at all the best place was to go to Parapet to the Saturday market...and we thought that was a great idea...Thanks Berend!  Just then we saw the ferry coming towards the pier and so we grabbed our stuff and raced down to the pier....just in time! nice and cool on the boat...feels so refreshing...the soft wind blows so' pleasantly on this Saturday morning!
 People got off and a other ferry boat was filling up already with people, scooters and goods!

 Gosh we experienced a Saturday market that was so busy...people from all the villages that came from afar to sell and buy their goods~

Families, animals, children, veggies, pigs, chickens, was for sale!

People coming from all over the place...I think the island too to buy their needed goods.  Many people grow their own vegetables but there are many others staples needed for the week.

        Dried fish - possibly anchovies?
Fresh Mango's so good and banana's a different type then we are use to.

Some kind of egg roll and other things I did not
 recognize...sometimes better not to know! HA!

Look here you see all the cars lined up and coming in?  A long line of pick-up cars full of women, children and all coming into town to the market to buy their goods.

It was so busy here and it is hard to believe that people have to go through this every week to get their staples!!!!
 Do you see the car full of people and loaded up on the top too? (double click on the picture for a better look!) The car was not full yet of passengers - Nick they will only leave with it is jam packed...oh I would be so claustrophobic in there!  Get me out of! No thankfully I did not have to get in there...but still - if you have to!
 Look at this hanging on the back of the truck????  Can you see what I saw??????? Not sure if you really want to see this...but I just couldn't believe it and had to take a picture of it.............because it was moving in the bags.................
Yes two little piglet's bought at the market and most likely going to be fattened up on the farm! They were squirming in the bag!
I looked at it for quite a while...and I do think they will make it home to the farms...just sad hanging on the back like that! 
Vonna....I thought of you!!!!!!!!!

 Well we headed home with our market bought goods and it was again such a pretty view out there!
 Such a serene place to live...Lake Toba!
 Yes this was a Muslim temple in the downtown area. It seems they have a stainless steel dome..doesn't it?

Back on the ferry boat we had some tourists that we began to chat with from Germany...they too had spent the afternoon at the market!
 Sven & Brigitte and sister Tina with husband Stephan...we had a wonderful talk...45 min long and it was great to hear all about what they were doing!  the two in the middle Tina & Stephan had also sold their house and furniture and are also traveling for a year! They thought it was the greatest to they could so relate with us! They were in their early 50's!
Sven and Brigitte had also been traveling since May...and they left Germany to Moscow and then took the Trans Siberian Railroad of 8000 miles Trans-Siberian_Railway from Moscow to Siberia and into Mongolia / China...and said it was a most adventurous trip ever! Then to China, Laos, Vietnam...Thailand to Malaysia and here to oh my what interesting people we come much fun!!!!  We hope to meet up with them again...they were staying at the Toba Inn the German Bakery/hotel of course!

Well we unloaded our groceries and decided to make some homemade home grown lunch!

Nick went out with his pocket knife and cut some fresh veggies out of the garden....yum!

We had bought some items to do a better job cleaning the veggies~


I had plenty of area to work and they had a Wok available here too!

Cabbage, onions, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes...and some Indonesian spices I had found......

 ...made it a nice dish with a little cucumber and tomato's too! 
.......Lunch is served Nick...come and get it!