Medan, Indonesia.

Medan, Indonesia. A place that surpisingly looks a lot like the suburbs of Kelantan, Terengganu and Hatyai. Immediately once I touched down, I was out in 5 minutes. It was a small airport. Polonia Airport is comparatively smaller a few times compared to Penang airport and maybe ten times of KLIA. There were touts once I stepped out of the place. Everyone was haggling me with their services from the traditional Becak to the more modern car rentals. I glided past them simply ignoring. I found both my friends sitting at one corner. We headed out in a taxi.That night we were supposed to hang out at Kesawan Square or Merdeka Walk. I rented a ride, they call their Toyota's here KIJANG. Don't ask me why, I have no idea. But the ride was delayed. It only arrived at 3AM. I was dead tired by then but we talked and hanged out in the house.

At 3AM, we headed out to Penatapan to munch on Corns. According to the locals and my guide, not many ppl know about the place. Especially not tourists. The road to the hill was winding and it took us an hour plus to reach the place. Not much because it was far but mainly because of the infrastructure. The road condition was so bad with potholes every 500 meters some sooo deep I could swear it might burst a few tyres. There was no lamp poles and not much road signs. But the ride was worth it, the place was cooling and the corn was something you'd enjoy. It was crazy OHSEM.

jagung enak from Penatapan

The next morning, we headed out to Parapat, the pier transit to Samosir of Danau Toba. The ride will take us 5 hours or so. One thing I noticed about the people here is their love for car horns. They use it to communicate everything from warnings to thank you's. And boy, every 1-2 minutes you can hear a distinct horn somewhere either from ur ride or from someone out there. They also lack respect for the authority. A RM10 (20,000IDR) is more than enough to get out of a traffic violation. Police here in Malaysia will ask for at least RM20 or RM50.

There wasn't much to see during the whole ride. I slept most of the way. There were some beautiful scenery but nothing you couldn't find at Cameron or along the road to Kelantan.

Town of Parapat.

Leaving the dock, the houses on the right are inns built to
resemble the traditional houses here. To Samosir!

a closer look at the inn.

bye bye fisherman.

I was only mesmerized by the people and their lack of 'topi keledar' when riding motorcycles. I had a hard time there referring to their transports. Their vans who act as buses are called 'angkut-angkut', motorized trishaws are called 'becak', their motorbikes are called 'motorkar' and their cars are called 'mobil'. They also do not refer to the washroom as 'tandas', simply 'toilet'. I find that amusing as 'toilet' is originally an English word. They assimilate a lot of English language into their own language.

view from inside an 'angkut-angkut' with Hans and Jandri, my local guides.

The dominant religion over here seems to be Christian as I've seen many churches and cemeteries but not much mosques as compared. Their food are also more chinese than malay cause although a lot of roadside stalls do not sell 'pork' but they're not exactly halal too. Only a pinch were halal and I had a really hard time distinguishing them unless the stall was owned by a lady wearing a tudung/headscarf.

ferry to Tomok, Danau Toba

We stayed overnight at Parapat in this cheap motel and headed to Tomok with a ferry the next day. Tomok is a town in Samosir, Danau Toba catering mainly to tourists looking for souvenirs and their history. Something like the Makam Mahsuri in Langkawi cause I distinctly remembered a tomb there which was some kind of tourist interest too. It was dirty and as soon as we docked at Tomok, I saw this pork seller culling a pig beside the road. It was rather un-appetizing to say the least.

The infrastructure of the houses in Danau Toba are usually as the picture above with sharp pointy roofs. They're built by the 'Suku Batak'. The people here are less concerned about their race. Their main characteristics that define them and that separate them are their clans or Suku. There's the Suku Jawa, Karo etc...

Pantai Chermin, bokehed.

We left Danau Toba around 1PM and headed to Pantai Chermin. Pantai Chermin is a lot like Batu Ferringhi except with more people. There was a theme park but by the time we reached, it was time to close so we hanged out at the beach.

There, I took some sunset shots and a view of the different shacks being rented out for people to chill out. A lot of families bring their children here. After a couple of hours being wet, we headed back to Medan for a trip to Merdeka Walk and Kesawan Square which I missed on the first day.

Merdeka Walk is actually the substitute for Kesawan Square cause Kesawan Square closed down a couple of years back according to them thus Merdeka Walk was built to accomodate the loss of Kesawan Square. Merdeka Walk reminded me a lot about Danga Bay. To Penangites, maybe Gurney Plaza's cafe area beside the plaza. The place where ppl hang out and sip coffee with Wi-Fi. Basically a place to date and hang out with good expensive food.

The next day I went to Palladium in a becak for a movie. We watched Clash of the Titans and ate more PORK before heading to Polonia airport. I was dead tired and I missed the comforts of home. It was a crazy 4 days and 3 nights.

p/s: one thing I find weird in Medan is the houses and public toilets do not have toilet flushes. Kinda old skool right?
p/s/s: click on image to enlarge.
April 9, 2010


pelf said…
Some people call toilets "kamar mandi", and clinics "rumah sakit".

The most amazing thing I found was that a van can seat up to 13 adults. And surprisingly, those who were already in the vehicle would always make way for another one passenger, no matter how crowded it already was, hahhaa..
Jimmy Ang said…
pelf, yeah, kamar mandi. dunno about clinics till u mentioned. LOL.

Thank god I didn't had that experience with the angkut2.
speedrider said…
Ang, please clarify this deeper:

"Only a pinch were halal and I had a really hard time distinguishing them unless the stall was owned by a lady wearing a tudung/headscarf."
Jimmy Ang said…
It means religion is the main factor separating them and not race. There is no Malays or aborigines. They're all Sukus and their religions are different. Those who practice Islam wear tudung those who practice Christianity don't. You can't purchase food from a Christian because you're scared the way of preparation is wrong.

Although many of them don't care as long as they don't have pork but I know many Malaysians do.


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