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A Story by loom

An exploration of Indonesia


I'd like to say that for the past month or so i've been living rough in far flung jungles, or sailing the savage seas with strangers met on tropical beaches. Hell, even a broken finger would be a nearly viable, if slightly less heroic reason for my literary tardiness. But alas, no. None of these reasons explain the absence of movement on my blog. In actuality, i'm a lazy ape. Apparently literally.

You see, after George Town, which I believe is where I left you last, we made our choppy sea-faring way to the gritty stench of Medan. A smokey metropolis of Opelets and Mosques. Even the busses were smoke boxes, rammed to the (broken) doors with Indonesians clasping filterless raspberry cigarettes. This is not a city of hygiene - and nor is it a city of culture. It is very much a city of practicality - a conglomeration of Sumatran trade routes, all barging there way towards that murky hole (and in Medan it truely is) we call the sea.

And so, as i think you may be able to tell, this is not a place we wanted to spend any time. After a quick night in a distinctly drab looking hostel, we made our way towards the more central lands of Sumatra - Danau Toba, Berastagi, and Bukit Luwang - a beautific triplet on the usual traveller trail. Danau Toba provides you with a wonderful lake setting, replete with canabalistic history and Batak houses; Berastagi presents an abundance of the steamy behemoths we call volcanoes; and Bukit Luwang allows a visit to the least-bullied of all the gingers - the orangutans.

We may have only seen these three places in Sumatra, but without a doubt it has been one of my personal favourites throughout our journey - and yes, I can here you yelling; "but Chris, you numpty. You've only seen a small portion of it. It can't be one of your favourites". But let me explain a little.

You see, what i have come to view Sumatra as is Ribena. Without the water. And again, I can here you yelling (or whispering quizically to your friend like i'm insane), "what the hell is he banging on about?"

Well. Everybody knows Ribena is a smack-you-in-your-face taste sensation without water. It is pure, condensed, unadulterated flavour, without the dallying of H2O. If you ever had Ribena at a Sunday dinner table to emulate your parents wine consumption, then you already understand the rare joy of supping on that nectar. And no doubt, as a six year old, you also probably made the metaphorical link between your favourite soft drink and Sumatran Indonesia. (I did, but thats because I'm really clever)

But for those of you who didn't; Sumatra, like our vitamin laden friend, is intense. It's alive. It's the pure flavour of Indonesia and Borneo without the watering down. I would go so far as to say it's a microcosm of what my last two months travels have been about. It's been a relentless story of monkeys and apes, towering volcanoes and steamy jungles, Nasi Lemak and Mee Goreng, and tropical seas licking at undeveloped beaches.

Some were the essence of Borneo. Some Lombok and Bali. Some Java. But all of them were unadulteratedly present in Sumatra. Land of the Orangutan.

And this has finally brought me onto why i referred to myself as an ape at the beginning of this blog. Whilst travelling through these sublime vistas, the Indonesia population has referred to me several times as "man of the jungle". And I thought, "Hell, I must be ruggedly handsome, a jungle rogue, a hero of unchartered territories". What I recently discovered however, is that this is the direct Indonesian translation for Orangutan.

And so, here i am. Sitting, typing on a laptop. Proving them wrong. An ape couldn't make up a convaluted non-sensical metaphor about Ribena. And he certainly couldn't type on your average sized keyboard - (apes don't have the necessary articulation in their thumbs)

And so with that, I ask you to return to checking the blog regularly, because i'll be damned if i'm going to be beaten by a ginger ape.

© 2016 loom

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Added on December 1, 2016
Last Updated on December 1, 2016
Tags: travel, indonesia



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