I was sick on Monday night and still can’t say exactly what was wrong. I put it down to that dodgy pork I ate for lunch that afternoon. It didn’t seem dodgy at the time, but in retrospect, I think that must have been it. All night, my body ached and I couldn’t get into a comfortable position. The bed and pillows that were like cloud 9 the night before were now like a torture chamber. I woke up on Tuesday feeling exhausted and sick-ish without being able to pinpoint exactly what I was feeling. Eventually I threw up a little (there was nothing in my stomach at that point except digestive acid) and felt a little better, so I went to breakfast and had some fruit, then Pak and I were off.
We were returning to mainland Sumatra so we got back on the car ferry. However, this time, since I was feeling poorly and dying to sleep, I dozed in the back seat of the car for the 1 hour trip. Pak was lovely and stayed with me the entire time. Once we got back to Parapet on the mainland, we headed the car in the direction of Berastagi. We would be driving for most of the day, stopping to see different sights along the way. At every stop, I felt well enough to get out of the car and snap some photos but I just wasn’t feeling the energy of the previous days.
As we drove, the gorgeous views that I had seen on Samosir island continued on Sumatra. We passed fields and beautiful lake views, and even in the late morning when we stopped at a restaurant for a cup of real ginger tea, the Lake was still with us. Even though Pak knew I wasn’t feeling so hot, he made sure I didn’t miss taking pictures of all the beautiful scenery.
While I sipped my really strong ginger tea in the restaurant, I unintentionally eavesdropped on a conversation at a nearby table. A man who seemed to be a tour guide was telling his clients that the evening before, he was washing his car and twice it got covered in volcanic ash from the continuously erupting Gunung Sinabung, 1 of the 2 volcanoes that looms over Berastagi. We were heading right towards that and even in my slightly out-of-it state, I was excited to get closer to the volcano.
But first, we made a quick stop at a king’s palace of some sort. It was really a small village and a king used to live there with his 12 wives and his security guards. Pak tried his best to explain it all but I didn’t really get it. Google Translate helped a little but not much. We spent about 20 minutes wandering around, including me going up into the wives’ house, which was a large, dark and creepy traditional Batak house. They all used to live there together and I couldn’t get from Pak if they managed to do it in peace. Maybe they did. Whatever, I didn’t really care enough at that point to pursue the line of questioning too much. Some local tourists were following me around and I wasn’t in the mood to take a bunch of pictures with strangers so I kept it moving. Also, I was a little creeped out by them walking around behind me everywhere I went. It was weird and I wasn’t in the mood for weird.
Our next stop was a waterfall. I had worn my bathing suit and Singapore shorts from Uniqlo (seriously, I LOVE these shorts! So comfy) because I planned to get a dip under the falls. But I was feeling kind of weak and not at all prepared to tackle the million steps going down to the waterfall. So instead I took a few pictures while Pak talked to 2 men changing a car tyre. Another local tourist asked me for a picture and again I said, “Sure, but why?” Again, he was quick with the comeback, “For Facebook!” He extended his selfie stick and snapped a couple of photos of us. Just as I was wandering off, he asked me for a few more photos because his mom wanted to get in on the act too. I said sure and before I knew it, I was surrounded by a family of 6 snapping selfies with me for their Facebook page.
We continued our drive and finally made it to Berastagi in the late afternoon. The entire town was grey and at first I thought how dirty it was but then Pak told me that it was layers of volcanic ash, and I remembered what the man in the restaurant had said about washing his car the night before.
Pak took me to my hotel after asking me if I needed a doctor; I said no, all I needed was sleep. In my room, I searched for a good 30 minutes for the air conditioner remote so I could turn it off because it was so cold. Eventually, I gave up and called the front desk to ask them how to turn it off and they informed me that there were no AC units in the hotel, it was all fresh mountain air. I laughed and said thanks, had a steaming hot shower, washed and twisted my hair since it was my last night in a proper shower, and snuggled under the covers. Once again, I knocked out early.
I hadn’t felt well all day but I had still had a pretty good day. They views had made it all worth getting out of bed that morning.