Having spent the night dressed in every item of clothing I had on my person (woolly hat included) near the summit of an active volcano, being buffeted by gale force winds, today promised to be odd.
As feared, the remaining hike took a lot longer than the fifteen minutes we were led to believe and it was physically and mentally painful. Due to the extra time taken (admittedly some of it down to our own wheeziness and unwilling thighs) we missed the moment the sun actually rose. What we did see however was like nothing else I ever have. Fumeroles exuded sulphuric gas (particularly eggy) from bright yellow spots in the futuristic rock. Below us was jungle and despite struggling to stay upright because of the wind, all I could think of was that this would be the closest I would ever be to setting foot on the moon or Mars.
Not wanting to stop and give tiredness a window of opportunity to set in, almost immediately after returning to Berastagi we sought out a local bus to take us to Danau Toba (the largest crater lake in the world). The local buses are much like the tourist ones except cheaper and they manage to cram far more people in. What on a tourist bus would have housed just Kirsty and I contained both of us and three others. To add insult to injury, in addition to spending five hours hunched over my welded together knees, we were subjected to unrelenting passive smoking of clove cigarettes - a variety seemingly favoured by most Malays and Indonesians. While I'm a smoker myself, the whiff of these hideous creations often leaves me wretching.
Our bus didn't make it all the way to our destination either and we were deposited in a random cafe somewhere to catch another local bus to Tuk Tuk, a small place on the island of Samosir, in the middle of Danau Toba. By the time we found a hotel I'd been in the same clothes for pver 24 consecutive hours with only four broken hours sleep on a concrete base on a volcano. After last night being the first time on the trip I've been properly cold, today was the closest I've come to dying on my feet, unable to string together a coherent sentence.
Horas Salam Budaya.....!!!
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