Republic of Indonesia
Jalan Sisingamangaraja 84
Dairi Hotel +6262721315
Adequate twin room (no. 24) with shared bathroom (mandi) and wifi for IDR 92,000.- or US$ 10.- per night, including a very light local breakfast for two people.
Exploring the sleepy Batak town of Sidikalang, knocking back our first beers at Ah Chen & Jony’s friendly Mie Simpang Empat restaurant (ice-cold Bintang Pilsener with c. 4.7 % alc./vol. for IDR 25,000.- or US$ 2.70 per large 620-ml bottle), after one month of enforced abstinence in Aceh, being totally flabbergasted, all of a sudden, when we felt the sobering tremors of a massive 8.6-magnitude earthquake (centered about 30 km beneath the ocean floor, approximately 400 km off Sumatra), jumping up and running out of the building and wondering whether another tsunami was about to thrash the fateful west coast of North Sumatra which lies on a significant segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire where two large crustal plates, the Indian Ocean and western Pacific plates, are forced under the massive Eurasian plate.
“The earthquake, however, must be to every one a most impressive event: the earth, considered from our earliest childhood as the type of solidity, has oscillated like a thin crust beneath our feet; and in seeing the laboured works of man in a moment overthrown, we feel the insignificance of his boasted power.”
Having our first close encounter with tamed Batak ogresses and ogres in the form of enchanting and outgoing high school students and listening to their career aspirations and dreams of the future: first and foremost in government, tourism and human resources, but under no circumstances to train as a custom seamstress or as a skilled plumber (…crafts and trades which we old people would perceive as pillars of the civilised world).
Taking the jam-packed Cv. Sinar Sepadan +6262721197 minibus wreck from Sidikalang through an agricultural landscape with intensive cultivation of vegetable (cabbage, tomatoes, turnips, carrots, corn) on fertile volcanic land to (Pematang-)siantar (85 km, 3¼ bone-breaking hours, IDR 25,000.- or US$ 2.70 per person) and thereafter a big bus for the smooth ride from (Pematang-)siantar to the resort town of Parapat (40 km, 1 hour, IDR 15,000.- or US$ 1.65 per person), flagging down one of the blue angkot station wagons which shuttle from the town centre of Parapat to the ferry jetty (for a flat rate of IDR 2,000.- or US$ 0.22 per person) and eventually embarking on the ferry (IDR 7,000.- or US$ 0.75 per person) to Samosir Island, only to find ourselves, bang-on, back on this not-so-lonely planet’s heavily trodden Banana Pancake Trail at Tuk-Tuk; "Horas!"
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