Today was market day in Haranggaol and the bi-weekly boat to Samosir Island was going across the lake today when the market was finished. We walked down to the market – once again the only foreigners and the entire marketplace was teeming with people. We made our way through the masses of people – about half of them older Indonesian women with the red betel nut and tobacco chew hanging out of their mouths. People were selling huge volumes of produce, chickens, coy, and fresh meat from the butcher who was chopping up a pig on the spot.
We watched a charlatan doctor (complete with a microphone hooked up to a car battery) try to cure a man with a bum leg in front of the crowd of locals who’d gathered. They had this man who used one crutch to walk on drink what looked like a shot of orange juice, then the quack told the man to take a few steps forward. The man hesitated, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to do it, so noticing the fear on the man’s face the quack doctor had him sit down and take another shot of O.J.. I didn’t wait around for the main event – I felt bad for the man with the crutch. I had the flu so I headed back to the room to sleep for a few hours; this was the second time in seven months I’d been really sick. Slept a while then woke up, grabbed my pack and headed to the door to catch the boat to Samosir.
Got to the boat and no matter how loud we yelled and ranted on they wouldn’t give us the local price of Rs1000 across the lake; they screwed us for Rs2500 each – 800 of which goes to the tourist office wench’s pocket. This boat was like a Malawian local bus in that is stopped at each and every person’s house on the mainland side of the lake before actually crossing the thing to Samosir Island. We had some absolutely marvelous views of the lake, the island and surrounding countryside. We saw waterfalls coming down the side of the mountain above the three house village where we were stopping. Took loads of photos of village life on the lake. The boat finally stopped at Shangri-La, our stop, about four hours later and when it docked all it did was stick the bow of the boat into the sand and lower a chicken plank over the water for us to walk across. With my 14 kilo pack on I’d have probably gone into the drink so I went for a flying leap and made it.
Shangri-La is about seven kilometres north of the main settlements on the island and consists solely of a restaurant and ten large bungalows. The place is run by a man named Pome who greeted us and ushered us into the restaurant for our complimentary banana shake. He gave us this great welcoming, amps, etc., then took us to our Rs5000 bungalow. The thing was huge – two huge beds with nightstand, two chairs and table below the bay window facing the lake, a full closet, full bathroom and another table the size of a small dining room set with two chairs. Perfect.
We vegged out then went to dinner and met some of the other people staying there. We met yet two more Californians, Gayle and Jen (from Davis) who’d been living there for two weeks waiting for their friends. One celebratory beer for making it there then off to bed.
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