Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Choking in the Highlands of Berstagi

Volcano Sibayak - still active!

Old Dutch bungalow - $8 per nite

Churches abound, cigarette ads more so

Fresh produce!

Horses here and there

Tobacco everywhere!

Berstagi is the Cameron H'lands of Sumatra, cool weather of 22c, lush green valleys, fresh vegetables and fruit. Its no wonder that the Dutch built many bungalows here and today, Bertsagi is the getaway chill out spot for 2 million people who live in Medan, just 65km away. We cycled out of crazy, congested Medan and after 18km, decided to hire a van. 2 reasons. Firstly, we paid 150k instead of 350k at the airport and secondly, the uphill and winding road to Berstagi is simply not worth it.

Our first night was in a Mr Bean, terribly run down hotel that did not even have constant running water and it is the first time I stayed in a room with no hot water and no TV. Chris came here years ago and it was good. Zero maintenance over the years have taken its toll. Today, we moved to a much nice hotel, The Sibayake Intl Hotel with swimming pool, 24 hrs hot water & cable TV. The Front Office Manager (known uncharacteristically as the FO Manager) gave us a deal of 60% off rack rates. Perhaps he took pity on us as poor cyclists.

As much as we love the cool weather, fresh breezes, beautiful scenery with 2 smoking volcanoes nearby, we are annoyed by the loud horns and noisy exhausts of the Bemo van taxis, motorbikes and pickup trucks. Whats worse is that everyone smokes like crazy, even indoors.

As I write in this internet cafe, I'm shortening my life breathing in all the secondhand smoke. If I get diagnosed for lung cancer, it will be due to these 2 days! But then again, this seems to be part and parcel of life in Indonesia so I can't wait to be on the road - 75km to Harrangaol which is our destination tomorrow.

Got to leave this place now, someone just lighted up his 76th cigarette for the day!

2 comments:

Right-side Up said...

Rooting you on...!

in2minds said...

The Holy Spirit gives life. The body means nothing at all. The words I have spoken to you are from the Holy Spirit. They give life(John 6:63). May these word restore your lungs & Chris' too.