Feb 7, 2011

Indonesian Spirit

Iso Moro,

Indonesia had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Finland and his three associates into their lovely country on the 26. of January. The local officials have still lots to learn about how to keep international diplomats satisfied because they had forgotten the red carpet and other formal solemnities. Instead of these we got before our eyes a city which you could call justly “something different”.

Our first stop in Medan, capitol of Northern Sumatra, offered as few memorable experiences. Cockroaches and leaking roofs wasn’t the most desirable welcome but at least we didn’t get mobbed, thanks to my huge size, excellent leadership and Bahasa Indonesia (official language) speaking skills. There wasn’t much to see in Medan, so I think big majority of our group members were feeling a bit like home. At least as a mark of sophistication both KFC and McDonalds had their representatives at present. In Medan you could see men with long nails and travel in busses made for midgets. For our girls this caused no problems.

In Indonesia you pay with rupiahs, and every foreigner is there like a millionaire (nothing new to me). Living expenses are cheap, but again beer is quite overpriced. Muslims don’t drink beer - at least in public.
From place to another you can get by using opelets or rickshaws, again not so comfortable way of traveling for people over 145 cm.

Second stop was held in Berastagi, located in the mountains. There we tried to get to see the nearby volcano but because of bad relations between Indonesia and Liechtenstein (Indonesia has not officially recognized Liechtenstein) we were forced to move on. Indonesian landscape is a mixture of steep mountains, fertile plains and waters. From the mountains there were usually breathtaking sights to the valleys.
You could often see monkeys waving to their leader from the road banks.

Lake Toba is the area which is considered one of the bagbackers “must-go” attractions. Even Madventurers have been there and because of their pre-work also Finns have respected the area with their presence many times. I had to replay comments like “Kuuma kissa”, “Hyva perse” and “Miten menee?” several times and every time they were impressed of my talent to turn this mythical language understandable for them.

During rainy season tourists are not much to be seen so we had plenty of space and peace at our proposal. Samosir turned out to be a great place for cycling. Everyone else expect I were nearly burned alive because of the sun but luckily I remembered precautionary means to protect my precious skin.  

From Lake Toba we turned our heads to Bukit Lawang, a place told to be inhabitated by Orangutans, big monkeys familiar to those living in Sweden where they have formed an actual society. Quite impressive!
Many say that I have a gift of animal whispering. I have proven this assumption true also by speaking to Swiss people, thought to be the most highly organized group of chimpanzees, so my preparations for the jungle expedition were well made. We stayed one night in the darkness of the jungle surrounded by food stealing monkeys, lizards, butterflies and other dangerous and vicious creatures you can imagine. Orangutans were quite friendly also, they made several attempts to approach me, but I declined their requests by saying “that I was already in a relationship”.

After Bukit Lawang one of us was gone, A.J decided to take a hike and leave me, so there were only three of us left. I thanked god for saving me from A.Js singing (god had already let me down one time by saving A.J from the raft) and we continued onwards. Last target would be Pulau Weh, the promised island of Malaria.

Pulau Weh was all about the Indian Ocean, snorkeling, diving, relaxing, eating and taking sun baths. So not for my taste, I prefer exploring filthy streets of crowded urban cities and wondering in shopping malls hoping to find “something personal to wear” or if lucky a new version of Apple’s Ipoo. Pulau Weh was also disappointing because I didn’t get highly anticipated malaria, all I got was some kind of B-status shit disease, which won’t even put you up for the test. But it is not always easy to be made out of steel, even though my ass and stomach proved to be made from false materials. I may have to change these parts to new ones but it is hard to give these old ones away cause they look so good.  

Okay, but the trip was awesome, I managed to cope with three unstable mental patients who seemed to get along quite fine even though it was their first time out for a long time. This time episode was also considered to the youngest of the herd, so the general tone has been kept serious. This way also my travel companions can hopefully enjoy it more.

Till next time.

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