Friday, April 18, 2008

An unexpected blessing in Harunggoal

Chris before flying down the hill to Harunggoal

Our first glimpse of the magnificent Lake Toba

This is largely a Christian town!

Our humble hotel - The Horisan on the lake's edge

Priceless views just outside your window

Breakfast - Lontong, rice cakes in mild curry with tea

Inspiring Batak folks -Deaconess Masarina and friends

What a relief it was to leave Berstagi. We began our ride just coasting down for kms on end passing by farms, a shifting and priceless view of the smoking Sinabu Volcano on our right and churches after churches. The cool mountain air made it a bit chilly as we whiz down silently with only the sound of our wheels spinning.

Of course what comes down must eventually go up and we attacked our first climbs with much gusto. After 40km, we arrived at the famous Sipiso waterfall and had a sneak preview of the magnificient Lake Toba. It was breathtaking to say the least. Its the biggest lake in Asia, and is like a huge bowl. Words cannot describe the beauty of this place and it made me in awe of the creativity of the One who made it.

At a simple warung (small eatery), we had a very average fried rice cooked by a slighty effeminated guy. But we enjoyed a lovely chat with the owner of the warung, a final year law student named Lina. It was fun learning a bit about her culture and her faith as we sat through heavy showers. The ride to Haranggoal was easy enough especially the last 10km as we turn off the crater rim road and descended down into the small lakeside town. We passed by many elaborate graves and the Bataks here seem to spend a fortune remembering their loved ones.

Harrunggoal is definitely off the tourist route which is great for us. We came here for the photos and wanted to capture life in the quiet and quaint kampong town. We stayed at the Horisan, a very rundown motel but compensated by its scenic beauty and helpful staff. We found out later that Ibu, the 63 year old owner is a Deaconness in her church and preaches regularly. She was so honored to know that I'm a fellow believer and servant that she insisted on buying us Babi Panggang (BBQ Pork). We enjoyed heart warming fellowship together, singing hymns (she in Batak, I in English version), shared favourite scripture passages and prayed. It was a special evening that continued again in the morning before we left.

It's amazing how God brings special people into our life - what an unexpected blessing indeed!

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