Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wednesday, Mar 14th, Berestagi, North Sumatra, Indonesia


Driving away from Lake Toba can’t be done quickly.  It's a huge island, and the road around it too our bus by lots of interesting views.  With my Google Pixel up against the window, I tried to assemble a collection of Batak architectural styles, and of their people.  We circled a major portion of the island to get to the bridge that connects it to the mainland.  Then, it took us three more hours to get to the northern end of the caldera.  Aop a very large volcanic plug, we had lunch at an exclusive resort.

Indonesia has more volcanos than any other country, and is fourth in population density.  Combine that with the fact that it ranks just behind the Amazon in vegetation density, and you get lots of people living amidst lots of greenery, a little worried about their futures.  We sped down poorly maintained, winding roads, filled with motorcycles, cars, and trucks passing each other next to houses, businesses, agricultural fields, and every type of sign imaginable.

We stopped at Si Piso Piso, a 394 ft waterfall with a spectacular view of the lake.  We visited several villages, and walked uninvited into them to talk to the residents.  All were very receptive, and allowed us to poke through some of the traditional houses.  The Batak tribe is trying to hold onto their ethnic identity against the usual factors influencing the attitudes of their young, and in the face of serious economic woes.  But they seemed happy, and were certainly appreciative of the chance to meet some foreign travelers.

Berastagi (rice store) is our destination tonight, and we had some time to walk around it before dinner.  The market was crowded, and full of vegetables, fruits, spices, and fish.  It's an old city in the mountains, that the Dutch built in 1920 to get away from the heat.

After dinner, we drove up to an abandoned town on the slopes of Mount Sinabung.  It looked like this last October, but wasn't cooking anything up tonight.

To see all of the photo taken today, click on Wednesday, Mar 14th, Berestagi, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

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