Word of the Day: By-ways
Notable / Highlight of the Day: there is no direct route between Bukit Lawang and Lake Toba. They’re separated by a mountain and the straightest route brings you back to Medan and through a town called Beristagi.
Matt and I were in good spirits and hoping that we’d have the shuttle mostly to ourselves, but that was hilariously wishful thinking. It was a car the size of a Toyota Rav4 with three rows of seats and every single one was assigned.
The other group beat us to the car so Matt, our new Swedish friend Steffan, and I were squished into the back seat. Matt and Steffan are significantly taller than me and my knees were just about pressed against the middle row of seats, so needless to say they were a bit more cramped.
So, I was squished between two relatively large men who radiated heat like furnaces for nearly five hours while we twisted through the byways of Sumatra. Poor Steffan was getting carsick so I offered up some motion-sickness tablets which he gladly accepted.
About an hour and a half into our trip I asked if we could pull over to use the restroom at some point soon, and about an hour after that we finally stopped at a gas station.
I couldn’t take the drivers music and had not much interest in chit-chat so I spent most of the trip with my headphones on catching up on podcasts.We stopped for a quick lunch and chatted with one of the girls in the middle row who was just starting her eight-month adventure around Southeast Asia.
It took five hours to get to Beristagi and drop off the three middle row guests. And another four to reach the port. We had an hour to kill until our seven pm ferry so we grabbed some dinner and beers with Steffan.
The ferry ride was uneventful and Steffan and I chatted while Matt gabbed with one of the locals. He had a few hotel recommendations and was going to lead us to his friends hotel once we got there.
We waved bye to Steffan who was to exit at the first top and continued to the second port of call. We followed the local who had a crazy head of curly hair up and up to the hilltop to his friends hotel. He showed us the room for 200k rupiah ($15) and when I stepped into the bathroom there was no shower. I asked Matt if he had one and the guy said that we could just use the bucket.
No, not a chance, matt said and he then whisked us away to another set of bungalows that were only 120k rupiah ($9) and had showers. Yes please, I was sold. But they only had one room and Matt and I had to share once again.
We had an easy dinner at the hotel as we were feeling tumbled from our car ride and headed to bed early. A happy surprise was the our hotel even had hot water, even if it didn’t have a sink, just a spigot on the wall.
I couldn’t wait to see the island in the morning.
Current Location: Bukit Lawang to Lake Toba, Indonesia
Mood Emoji: 🚙