August 4, 1997

Lake Toba/Berstagi

Departed Samorsir Island in the morning. Tried to catch a ferry to the north side of the lake, however the Indonesia time schedule is non existenct. The locals informed me the boat was two hours early. I realized the boat would travel up the shore and made a MAD DASH to catch it. Successfully, on its last pick-up location, I boarded the wooden boat. The captain of the boat could have taken a few lessons from Gilligan. The little wooden boat was close to capsizing numerous times. This did not surprise me because only a week ago a similar boat crashed killing almost 100 people. The safety procedures in Indonesia do not exist. Safely on shore I had a 80 km ride to Berstagi over a mountain range. The ride was not terribly difficult except for the lack of energy. On the top of the range the howling sound of lots monkey could be heard in the forest. I spotted a few swinging in the rainforest jungle.

August 5, 1997


Looking forward to climbing the Locate volcano. However, not feeling so well and had to give it a pass. Nothing happening expect for planning to catch a boat tomorrow to Penang Malaysia.

August 6, 1997

Berstagi/Penang Malaysia

At 5:00 am boarded a mini bus from Berstagi to Medan. I had to catch a bus because the ferry leaves Belawan, Sumatra at 10:00 am for Penang, Malaysia. The rainy weather made the choice easier. It was only 70 km, but the first assisted auto transport in all Indonesia. Also, still not feeling up to par. The ferry cruised across the Straits of Melka in 4 hours. The cost of US$ 45 dollars seemed a fair value for the trip. The high-speed ferry powered through the waves sending water rushing along the sides. It was more like an amusement ride.

A few highlights of Indonesia. The cost is very inexpensive to travel. Unspoiled views and people in the remote villages are breathtaking. The weather is usually very nice year round. There are spectacular landscapes of mountains, volcanos and rice fields. On the flip side of the coin, there are some warnings to advise travelers in Indonesia. Be careful of the sanitary means when eating. As always, watch your belongings. Have a understanding of some local prices and phrases. The public transportation is a little scary at times, but seems to make most of the destinations okay. I had no troubles with the locals. The Indonesians are a non-violent people. I am sure you will get a life time of experiences out of your traveling in Indonesia.

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