Since my classes don’t start until March 1 and I have some free time on my hands, I decided to fly to Sumatra to visit Lake Toba, an area my friends have raved about. Lake Toba is a huge lake filling a volcanic crater in northern Sumatera, and it’s gorgeous. My first adventure upon settling in was to take a long morning walk from Tuk Tuk (a small peninsular village that juts into the lake) over to the neighboring town of Tomok, photographing pasture land, rice paddies, mountains, the lake, and other interesting sights along the way. During my walk I overtook a man on the road heading out of town. Here is our conversation, along with a rough translation of it:
HIM: Mau ke mana? (Where are you going?)
ME: Jalan jalan. (Just walking.)
HIM: Ke Tomok? (To Tomok?)
ME: Ya. (Yes.)
HIM: O, jauh! (Oh, that’s far!)
ME: Hanya 5 kilometer. (Only 5 kilometers.)
HIM: [something I didn’t understand, but he patted his leg and pointed to his feet, indicating it’s a long and difficult walk.]
ME: Saya suka berjalan kaki. (I like walking.)
HIM: Saya suka naik motor. (I like riding a motorbike.) [By the tone of his voice, I think the hidden message was something along the lines of “You better believe I would be driving a motorbike to Tomok if I had one instead of walking all the way there. And this fool foreigner who could probably afford a motorbike is CHOOSING to walk. Idiot.”]
Continuing my walk, I later overtook this elderly woman slowly making her way up the hillside, so I stopped and chatted with her. She was going to tend her water buffalo. Not the water buffalo I had already passed, those belonged to someone else. She had different water buffalo. It was during this conversation that I realized that “water buffalo” is way more frequent in my Indonesian vocabulary than it is in my English vocabulary. She was also curious about the “letter” I was carrying, which was actually a map. I’m guessing she probably couldn’t read so it was all the same to her. We bid each other adieu and I continued on my way.
In addition to passing water buffalo pastures, I also passed several rice paddies. Is it possible to take too many photos of rice paddies? Probably. Will that stop me from photographing rice paddies? Probably not.
When I got to Tomok, I came upon this tomb. I have no idea about its significance but it illustrates traditional Batak (the local tribe) architecture and seemed photo-worthy.
These village girls asked me to take their photo. When I agreed, I unwittingly caused a moment of near-hysteria. They called for their little sister to run out to join, and seemed panicked that I might not wait for her to arrive for the photo. So silly.
Before returning to my lakeside cottage, I just had to take a few more rice paddy shots. As an added bonus, this one also includes beautiful Lake Toba and some surrounding mountains. So pretty!!