Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bukit Ingii Sumatra Indonesia

Greetings People of the planet earth, i am here among you in Indonesia. I am in a smallish city called Bukit(means hill or mountain) Ingii (means long or tall). I am here now for 2 days. tomorrow I will go 35 km to a little lake that has been described as an unspoiled paradise of clean water and rice paddies. Lake Manenjau. I arrived in Medan Indonesia from kuala Lumpur on 4/7/07. Medan is a dirty crowded ugly city. I suppose. I didnt stay long!I was only there for a couple of hours and then off I went to the north to a wonderful place called Bukit Lawang.
Bukit Lawang is famous for its wild life, particularly it is a great spot to see wild Orang(people) Utan(forest) In Bhasan, the native language of Indonesia and Malaysia orangutans are the forest people or the people of the forest. Orang utans are orange colored primates that are very human like. Among primates, only gorillas are bigger than Orang Utans. An adult male can get to be 60 kilos. Thats pretty heavy if you are swinging from branch to branch in the trees!! I saw five of these beautiful creatons of the all loving goddess while I was there. They are fabulous.Worth the trip to get there to see them. Bloody cool as all get out!!
Bukit lawang is dominated by the river that runs through it. In 2005 there was a devastating flood that wiped out most of tghe village and killed about 300 persons. Things are better now. I stayed in a place called the garden inn on the edge of the jungle. my view was of jungle and river. I had a nice room with a private bath and a little outdoor area with a picnic table and two benches. I hung around and smoked Bob Marley cigarettes (native grown brown weed) and went for walks in the jungle and swims in the river. Great time. Truly a great time. I saw many other animals there too. lots of long tail mackaws and other primates too. The monkees I dont recall their name, would come up to my room and they can be very aggressive. They will climb in your windows and steal your pineapples and bananas or other fruits if you arent careful.
From Bukit lawang I went to a n island in a lake. the island is called Palomir and the lake is called Toba. The water is clean and deep. the lake is in a volcano that is dead for 100,000years. This is the largest island in a volcanic lake in the world. I stayed in a little town called Tuk-Tuk. I had one of the most relaxing weeks of my travels there. Stayed in a nice place with a lake view called Tonys guest house. Cheap fun, nice local people and great swimming. I was sad to leave but Indoneseia only gave me 30 days and I waned to get to here where i am now.Getting here proved to be quite a hair raising experience.
I took a night bus that was scheduled to take 16 hours, leave lake toba at 5 pm and get to Bukit ingii at 9am. the bus showed up at 7:30 and off we went. it is a sleeper and I was sleeping peacefully when all of a sudden, i heard screaming and felt myself beign hurled to my right. The bus had lost control on a mountain road and went onto its side and into a ditch. Everyone was thrown on top of one another and it was pitch black outside and raining outside and the bus motor and lights were off. The driver got the lights on and we all crawled/climbed out. i was near the rear door so I was one of the first ones out and helped as people handed me out their little kids and stuff. The goddess intervened just in time and by some miracle no one was hurt. It was 1:30am and we were 15km from the nearest town, it was cloudy and rainy so it was very dark. We were hopelessly stuck!!
We walked 300 meters and found a little coffeee tea stall and built a fire and sstayed until morning and the woman who ran the place did a brisk business sellig us coffee and tea and cup-o-noodles with boiled eggs. That was the entire menu!! Eventually the bus was rescued by two old Kontasu Bull dozers with one inch cables and winches and we got back on board and arrived here in Bukit lawang 19 hours late, at 3 in the morning.
I went today walking for 4 hours with a guide and a cool Australian dude and we were in search of the Rafflesia flowers that bloom here in the jungle. they are the largest flowers the goddess has made and they can be 250cm across!! That is like 8 feet!!! They are more often about a meter across or 3.25 feet, but still.... Any way we found a few buds and spotted some Gibbons which are another type of primate and we were unfortunately it appears about 2 weeks early to see a flower!! bummer but I am alive and well and having fun in Indonesia. Tomorrow I go to lake manenjua and from there I will go back to malaysia as my visa will expire on 2/8/07 and there is a tough fine if i overstay.Here then is something to think about until you all hear from me again!
On the authority of Anas bin Malik, the servant of the messenger of Allah, that the prophet said :
"None of you [truely] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
"Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne,He travels the fastest who travels alone."
Rudyard Kipling
Peacwe and love to all who read these words

HK and Sing Sing

Sing Sing and HK...that is what back packers call Singapore and Hong Kong. I just today arrived in Malacca Malaysia after I had been in Hong Kong for 6 days and Singapore for 6 days. My last update was written after my first day in Sing Sing. I stayed there another 5 days and checked out some nice budhist temples including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. This is a new temple that is in a way beautiful building and there are like 4 floors of beautiful exhibits. JThe top loor has a walk around exhibit of the life of the buddha told in statues and art work with english and chinese explanations. it was lovely although I dont think it was all totally accurate.
Chinese Buddhism is a kind of combination of Taoism, Confucianism and the teachings of the buddha. Lots of the Chinese Buddhist art also incorporates traditional hindu themes like swastikas and they pose the buddha with one thousland arms holding weapons as if he were Siva. Also like christian art, they portray the "world honored one" as a wealthy man wearing fine robes and jewelry. Its just art but it is a little over the top, yeah?
Lots of emphasis on bhodisatvas, or other buddhas and they seem to think heaven is a place where there is some kind of hierarchy and a beaurocracy of saints. You pray to different saints or bhodisatvas to get results. Like the Catholics. Not very buddhist from my point of view. Temples are beautiful though...
Sing Sing has lots of nice green spots and a thriving "little India" I stayed in the little India section of the city on Dunlop street at the "Inn Crowd" Good hostel. The beds are all coverde in a very annoying plastic wrap that crinkle loudly when you move in the bed. I assume it is a protection against bed bugs, and bed wetters. All along there section of Dunlop street are lots of cheapo backpacker hotels and hostels. Lots of nice food stalls, veggie shops and it is a good location for getting around the city in a mass transit sort of way. right near bus stops and 10 minute walk tot he MRT where you can get to and from the airport. Oh yeah and also they sell cheap tiger beer pints in frozen mugs. That is a real treat as the weather is hot in the morning hot in the evening hot at night and sometimes even hotter in the mid day sun when only a mad dog or an englishman would go out.
There is also a beautiful botanical garden and good bird watching there. It is a good city for shopping but I dont really get into that. I deid get some socks...One US dollar for 2 pairs... The other thing you notice is how clean and orderly things are here. I mean CLEAN!! The goverment is serious about things being clean and there arae stiff penalties for littering and spitting and stuff like that. Avctually HK and Kuala Lumpur are also very clean, and all three have incredibly nice clean modern air conditioned fast efficient metro or tube or subways systems choose the term you prefer. They are a pleasure to use.
Hong Kong is a very impressive Modern city. Beautiful harbor with lots of small islands and some not so small. Lots of fast and faster(hydrofoil) ferries to get you from island to island cruising in style or you can take the metro, if you are in a hurry or on a tight budget. The food is fabulous! Chinese food like you wouldnt believe. Not chow-mein. Not egg rolls. Not pu pu platter. No shhaah really good creative food well presented and niced and flavorful. Great noodles. All shapes and sizes. Excellent mushrooms all shapes and sizes. I think it was one of the real gourmet holiday treats of my journey so far. I was very impressed.
I was there to meet my old cowboy friend Shannon from USA who was travelling for business on the old expense account. I got to stay in his hotel with him and we hit up some of the really high priced restaurants with great views and nice wine lists.Shannon would pass me the wine list with a grin on his face and say "hurt me chef but dont kill me..." Strangely enuf one of the best wines I chose in the week I was there was a beautiful Viognier from Eberle vineyards in Paso Robles Californian, made not 20 kilometers from where me and Shannon used to live.
HK is also a shoppers paradise and Shannon got him some custom tailored suits and we went shopping for chinese nick nacks like fans and jade stuff and wound up in a cool tea shop where we got to taste all these fabulous chinese teas. Selling for up to HK$950 for 250grams!(half a pound of tea for US$120). They had some even more dear but that was the most expensive one old Shannon took home with him. Me? I got 25 bags of chinese organic green for HK$9.00 or about a dollar 25 US money. Actually damn good tea for 5 cents a bag!! Enough. Enuf. My magic word. Good enuf for me!
Shannon might retire soon. Or he might open a restaurant in Oregon. I might just go to Oregon and work getting the place started if he opens a restaurant.Either way I will be seeing the old cowboy again sometime soon, I think.
I go to Sumatra in 2 days. I got my ticket to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Medan. I will be in Indonesia for a month this time. I plan to stay on Sumatra the whole time, then take a ferry across the Melaka straits back to Malaysia. Melaka straits were famous for Pirates in the ninetys. I hope they have cleared that up...
Now here are a couple of quotess to think about until you hear frm me again, next time from Indonesia.
"Let me give so much time to the improvement of myself that I shall have no time to criticize others."Dean Cresham
"A wise man may look ridiculous in the company of fools." Thomas Fuller
Peace and Love to all who read these words.