July 27, 1997
In the morning on the outskirts of Tarutung I cycled past two roosters battling each
other. It was a live match on the side of the road. There is no such thing as rights for
animals in many third world countries. Yesterday I saw a boy cycling with a dead dog,
probably for evening chow. Being curious in nature, I decided to watch the battle. I could
see my friend Tony back in San Francisco having a heart attack. The fight lasts a few
rounds about five minutes each. In between the handlers would put the chickens in water
baths and force some down their throats. Then its back to pecking each other on the head
and chest. Maybe Mike Tyson has a future after all. After the third round one bird was the
victor by a TKO. The cycle continued to Lake Toba, the largest crater lake in the world.
Located in the middle of north Sumatra, the elevation of the lake is 800 meters, 1707 sq
km and 450 deep. Out in the middle is Samosir Island, almost as big as Singapore. The
Island is the center for the Batak people. You can see plenty of their high-peaked Batak
houses in villages around the island.
July 28, 1997
I was looking forward to a few relaxing days on Samosir Island-NOT. Once again bitten
by a illness and forced to limit my activities to sleep and reading. The cycle from Padang
to Lake Toba of around 900km in six days must worn me out. A stop at the local clinic some
rest and I'll be ready to motor on down the highway. Within a few days I will cycle to
Medan and board a ferry to Georgetown in northern Malaysia.
July 31, 1997
Tuk Tuk/Lake Toba
Feeling a bit better today and explored some local culture. Afterwards, I had a nice
lunch at the Yolanda restaurant. The owner of the restarant in Tuk Tuk has a sister about
70 yrs old. This farming women gives the best Batak massage in the world for a mere 5,000
Rupiah (US$2). She may be small in stature, but not in spirit!
August 1, 1997
The Toba Batak originates from the tree of life, lives in it and will be united with
again and thus we shall see that the ceremonies of initiation aim at participating in the
under, middle and upper world.(The villager B.M. 1997)
This is a poem by a local Batik man who ownes the Gokhon Library in Tuk Tuk,Lake
August 2, 1997
Lake Toba, Sumatra
Here we all are at Lake Toba chilling out with the wavy waves and the banana lassis.
The view is amazing, but it's surprisingly easy to forget it's there every now and then.
The hills are beautiful and overflowing with trees behind the mist. The lake is
blue-green, not too hot and not too cold for that morning swim. The weather is also
beautiful, hot enough for sunbathing but with a slight breeze so as to give us
non-experienced bike riders a bit of a chance when we decide to heave our behinds into
shape and go for a gentle roam around the island. What Tim is doing on 140 kms a day is
totally beyond us, but we all know what those crazy Yanks are like don't we.
Happy thoughts and multitudinous hugs, Erica and Hans, England.
August 3, 1997
Hangin out in Tuk Tuk at my homestay. Still feeling a bit of a flu inside the body. I
think its only the flu and not some foreign tropical disease. Hopefully, I will have the
energy to pedal out of the crater lake to the township of Berstagi tomorrow.
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