Monday, January 02, 2012

Indonesia -- Day 4 Travel from Medan to Lake Toba and Samosir Island.

After doing our city tour of Medan and the Maimoon Palace and the Grand Mosque, we were off to Lake Toba and Samosir Island.  Located in northern Sumatra, Lake Toba is both a lake and a supervolcano.
Technically it isn't even a lake as it hand a little land bridge at one end.  Lake Toba is 100 km long and 30 km wide, and at its deepest depth is 1666 ft long.  It is a special lake in many ways with many titles, including: largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world.

Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

This area of Indonesia is also very active in natural disasters.  The earthquake that resulted in the 24DEC 2006 Tsunami was located off northern Sumatra.  Lake Toba was also the site of a supervolcanic eruption approx 75 000 years ago that was and still is the largest known explosion on earth and resulted in a volcanic winter and some say a genetic bottleneck.  More can be read about the Toba Catastrophe Theory by clicking here.


Our Adventures Abroad itinerary (ID6) stated this about the day:

After breakfast we depart for a brief city tour of Medan. We stop to see the Maimoon Palace, recently renovated from its original founding in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli. We will also stop to visit the Grand Mosque, built in the Moroccan style.

Afterwards we travel southwards by road from Medan to Lake Toba, where we take a ferry across the lake to Samosir Island. At 630 sq km, Samosir is notable as being the largest island within an island, and the fifth largest lake island in the world.

Overnight on Samosir Island. Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.


On the way to Lake Toba and Samosir Island we made several stops, including a palm nut grove, a latex/ rubber tree grove and collection demonstration, as well as trying some exotic fruit.

Traditional Malay colors used on a wall.

a village Mosque being built.

A typical house and its surroundings that we passed along the way

Local transportation that we followed.

A typical market

a fruit stand
After the rubber grove we continued on our way.  We stopped for lunch at Pematang Siantar. 

locals on the street in Pematang Siantar.
A local "bus"

Local food carts

Guinness is LOVED in Indonesia.  So many advertisements all over the place.

The best "LUNCH" in Indonesia .. BINTANG !!!!

The rest of our trip to Lake Toba ... continued.....

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We stopped to try a local fruit Rambutan.  This is an indonesion type version of lychee but it looks like a chestnut. It is sold as a bunch of spikey/hairy/fluffy balls. The main ball is dragon fruit pink and the spikey parts are bright green. You break the "skin" and then there is a white skinless looking grape inside. You eat the flesh but not the large pip/seed. DELICIOUS !!!


Rambutan close up

Rambutan -- so yummy !!

The name rambutan is derived from the Malay word rambutan which means "hairy".  According to Wikipedia -- Our next stop was to see another popular Indonesian industry, a palm nut grove.  Palm Groves are a huge industry for Indonesia.  Since 2009 Indonesia has been the worlds largest producer of palm oil, surpassing Malaysia and Africa.  Palm Oil has long been a very sought after product, used by the British to lubricate their machinary during the Industiral Revolution, used by Palmolive for their soap, used by Unilever in their "Sunlight" soap and an ingredient in bio-diesel fuels.
Rambutan  is a popular garden fruit tree and propagated commercially in small orchards. It is one of the best known fruits of Southeast Asia and is also widely cultivated elsewhere in the tropics including Africa, the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica, Panama, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Thailand is the largest producer from Surat Thani Province Thailand. Rambutan production is increasing in Australia and, in 1997, was one of the top three tropical fruits produced in Hawaii. It is also produced in Ecuador where it is known as "achotillo" and on the island of Puerto Rico. The fruit are usually sold fresh, used in making jams and jellies, or canned. Evergreen rambutan trees with their abundant coloured fruit make beautiful landscape specimens.

Local transportation -- This load on a bicycle.
Railway tracks

A Palm Grove

Palm Nut bunches

The Palm with bunches of "nuts"

The palm nut itself.  Notice it has three layers.

Bunches of nuts on the side of the road waiting for collection.

After the palm grove we hit the road again.  The next stop was a rubber/latex grove.

a rubber grove

The workers at a rubber grove.  You can see the rubber flowing down the gulley.
On the tree you can see the "catch cup"

Per wikipedia:
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer (an elastic hydrocarbon polymer) that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined into a usable rubber. The purified form of natural rubber is the chemical polyisoprene, which can also be produced synthetically. Natural rubber is used extensively in many applications and products, as is synthetic rubber. It is normally very stretchy and flexible and extremely waterproof

A worker demonstrating the technique of how they collect the rubber

The catch cup collecting the rubber

A closeup of the scarring of the rubber tree.

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