Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 4 & 5 : Medan

My final entry on Days 4 and 5 in Medan. Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya. After Brastagi, Pak Riyanto drove us to Medan. The journey took about three hours from Brastagi to Medan.

We went to Sultan Palace upon reaching the city. Although Indonesia does not practise "Kesultanan" anymore like in Malaysia, the Palace has become a tourist attraction. The descendants of the Sultans live in the houses or rooms adjacent to the palace. They are just like any ordinary person. Infact the caretaker of Sultan Palace requested that we donate some money for the well being of the "royalty".

The place which brought damage to our pockets big time was Pasar Ikan, a Tanah Abang equivalent. (Wonder why they call it Pasar Ikan, not Pasar Kain or Pasar Telekong!) The array of kain batik jawa, telekong and batik blouses failed to resist any temptation of buying. I particularly love the hand woven telekung that I just have to buy more than 5 pieces! Siapa nak pakai, tak tahulah. Satu kat office, satu kat dalam kereta, satu kat bilik bawah and etc etc....

The modern shopping in Medan is Sogo. Although this is quite similar to our Sogo, we still went to explore. The day when beloved hubby and moi went to massage, we "posted" 5 Aces at Sogo.

Food is another fare. Pak Riyanto introduced us to Lubuk Idai sea food and the food there was out of this world!!!! The Pariwisata busses were parked there as if it was their station. How they grilled the fish yang mahal tu.... Emak requested the owner to give her the recipe whilst I asked to tapau one dish to bring back to KL. Yum yum yummy!

Last but not least, before we said good bye we prayed at Masjid Raya. The mosque is just about 200 metres away from the Sultan Palace. In the old days, the mosque was situated in the palace ground. With the abolishment of Kesultanan in Indonesia and the development of the city, both buildings seem to be unrelated and far apart.

We left Medan with such sweet memories of it and the other places we visited. Mostly we enjoyed Lake Toba, tak tahu bila lagi nak sampai the beautiful lake. As for Medan, since AA flies there everyday and it only takes about an hour to reach there from LCCT, please don't be surprised if you find me blogging another entry on shop til you drop in Pasar Ikan in the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Destination Hong Kong

Have been working very hard for the past few days.

Taking a break from the blogosphere for a while.

Will continue when I return.

By this time tomorrow nite, I will be in Hong Kong for official duty.

Don't know much about Hong Kong except its Disneyland and its TVB. Soon will find out more...

Is this the start of a busy year? More travel? And more being away from family?

Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy birthday to the following celebrities : -

Dato' Siti Nurhaliza

Anne DJ Hot FM

and not forgetting this hot mama ......

Tak boleh close up shot sebab nanti nampak wrinkles daku yang makin bertambah.

Wow! I am 44 this year. Unbelievable!

To those who have sent me the wonderful birthday wishes and virtual kisses, hugs and gifts, baik thru fb, YM, blackberry messenger or sms, thank you loads for remembering my birthday. Muah, muah and (( hugs )) God bless.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 3 - Brastagi

The memories of enchanting Lake Toba will remain in our hearts. We left Parapat and Lake Toba that Monday morning heading for Brastagi and Medan. This time it will be a different route to Medan. If two days ago the journey from Medan to Parapat have passed towns like Tebing Tinggi and Permatang Siantar, the journey to Medan via Brastagi would pass town like Simarjarunjung and Sipiso Piso waterfall.

The journey to Brastagi took about 3 hours. Albeit shorter, the roads are narrower and even more winding. We passed by many carrot and tomato farms and the biggest ladang "khindzir" in South East Asia owned by a Singaporean.

5 Aces were most times sleeping on the way.

We stopped by at a cofee shop at Simarjarunjung for pisang goreng panas. Sejuk sejuk macam tu dapat goreng pisang panas memang besssstttt!!

Our journey continued to Sipiso Piso waterfall, another breathtaking creation in Sumatera. This waterfall which is about 360 feet in height is called Sipiso Piso because the water would fall into your body, as Pak Riyanto puts it.. "ditikam bagai pisau (knife)".

This point is also the last point of Lake Toba before we proceed south to Medan. It is still mesmerising no matter at which point it is being sighted. Toba was actually taken from the word tayyib, given by the Arabs when they came to this part of the world. It was later adjusted according to the Batak mother tongue and eventually Toba came into being.

I guess by that time we already had enough of Lake Toba.

We proceeded to Brastagi and amongst the first activity was horse riding. The ride was bersiar siar round Brastagi town, roughly about 10 minutes. Ayna wanted to go on the horse ride unfortunately she fell down before she could even climb onto the saddle. The saddle was not tightened properly. Safety hazard betul!

We shopped for crafts in Brastagi. Whatever crafts you find in Brastagi are rarely found in Medan, and even if there are, they are expensive, so this is the place to shop for souvenirs. Included the fruits haven and flowers.

By evening we ended going to the hot spring. The water is mixed with sulphur from the nearby volcano. Pertamina, the Indonesian oil company has a plant to extract gas from the hot lava. It is believed that if you have skin disease, it could be cured by bathing in this sulphuric hot spring. There are a couple of ponds with the sulphuric water in the area depending on the temperature that you wish to berendam.

We met one Bapak Ando who spent 2 years in Malaysia doing construction works and had successfully brought back 40 juta Rupiah. He owned a ranch in Brastagi and has 2 horses used for tourist horse riding. Rich dude and terima kasih kepada majikan di Malaysia nya ya Pak!

Next : Medan

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 2 - Lake Toba & Samosir Isle

We started off early on the second day at Parapat, and this time our immediate mission was to crossing Lake Toba to go to Pulau Samosir. Pulau Samosir with land area of 630 square km is the volcanic island and is the 5th largest lake island in the world. It is even bigger than Singapore.

The boat ride from the jetty in Parapat to the island took about 30 to 45 minutes. I didn't mind the length of the journey at all whilst I enjoyed the serene and spectacular Lake Toba.

There are a few places in Samosir which are notable for their tourist destination. First is Ambarita where one can see the traces of cannibalism i.e. the stone tables and chairs where the execution took place. The second one is the tomb of Raja Batak, Raja Sidabutur and finally the Tomok village.

There was insufficient time to visit Ambarita. According to Pak Riyanto, since Ambarita was on the other side of the island, we would not come back in time for lunch and if we wish to have lunch there, there was no halal food. Terkilan jugak tak dapat pergi. I gather that the Bataks' menu in most times are other than B1 and B2, would be parents who are very old and criminals. How gruesome and apalling!!

At King Sidabutur's tomb, I learnt some interesting facts.

The Bataks love fat women, or what the Bataks call "tomok". King Sidabutur's wife has about 30 children and only tomok women can bear that many children because they have big breasts to feed the offsprings. The King had always been proud of the tomok wife and it was a symbol of prosperity and happiness to the royal family. [This para is specially dedicated to Kak Ezza, sila ambil pot!]

In the 2nd picture below, you will notice that at the exit wall there appeared 4 "teteks" to symbolise the source of feeding of Raja Sidabutur's children.

After the demise of King Sidabutur, the Islam missionaries headed by one Sayyed Mahmod tried to spread the Islamic dakwah in Samosir/Parapat, sadly he failed and a German, if I am not mistaken, Normmanne his name, successfully penetrated the Bataks with Christianity.

These are the typical Batak villages. The ethnic group of Bataks include Toba, Karo, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing. Do you know that customarily, most Bataks men at Parapat do nothing? They only sit around at the coffee shops whilst the women do the farming or find other ways of cari makan.

After the jalan jalan in Samosir, prior to taking the return boat ride home, we indulged ourselves in the all time favourite activity, .... precisely shopping! Emak was using her negotiating/bargaining skills into good use. On hindsight I may have acquired my lawyering skills from her. We didn't shop much actually because it was pretty expensive. We took Pak Riyanto's advice to spend the Rupiahs in Medan on our last day.

Upon arrival at Parapat again, it was makan time! As we were walking towards the restaurant Istana Minang, guess what we passed by. ... I shall not say it, you figure it out yourselves. Kembang tekak! The amazing part was Istana Minang which is just opposite the mosque is just about 100 metres from this butcher.

There was a choice after that to bersantai di tepi tasik or to return to the hotel. All of us voted for the former but a little boy vetoed our decision. He wanted to go swimming at the hotel pool, despite the freezing water. We had to give in after all efforts to bribe and to blackmail him failed.

On the way back to Niagara, we dropped by at the villa where Sukarno remained in exile and later house arrested before he passed away.

That afternoon and evening were just spent leisurely at the hotel.

One amazing fact that I am still deciphering; how come 5 Aces enjoyed themselves to the bits in the swimming pool and I must say that the water was ... bbbrrrrr.... very very cold. They had a jacuzzi in the middle but less time was spent in the jacuzzi.

Other than watching the matchmaking Indonesian programme "Take Me Out" that night, we played snooker. Emak joined the fun and if I can convert Emak to listen to the live band which was mostly playing Ebiet G Ade's and Broery Marantika's numbers, I consider myself terrer!

The next entry would be our departure from Parapat and Lake Toba, how sad.....