Sunday, January 08, 2012

Indonesia -- Day 6 I got engaged today but don't tell my husband ! (the road continues to Berastagi)

After catching the wonderful views of the Sipiso Piso Waterfall we continued on until we reached a village named Doka.  We stopped here and I got engaged.  I know it's unusual for a married women to get engaged to a different man, probably even illegal somewhere.

The Village Leader's House, Doka, Sumatra, Indonesia

The Village Leader's House, Doka,, Sumatra, Indonesia

We took a walk through the village, with it's mix of traditional and modern housing. We were invited to enter a traditional house. It was amazing!!! 8 families sharing one floor with separate bedrooms.  Four bedrooms on each side of the house with a window each. Before entering Morris described the outside of the house and all the traditional features.  There is no electricity here -- so no TV, lights. 

Morris explaining how women give birth on the stoop of their houses.

The houses don't have insulation and drywall etc.  The bedroom I saw had a wall covered in newspaper instead.

The inside of the traditional Batak  house -- a bedroom.  Sumatra, Indonesia

We were invited to sit down while Morris described the living and cooking process. Then we were invited to try some of the tangerines that the woman grew in her field. It was fantastic ! Very fragrant and super juicy. Really one of the best citrus' I've ever had.

The family Elder and his grandson. Doka,, Sumatra, Indonesia

1 of the 2 "kitchens" in a traditional batak house, Doka,, Sumatra, Indonesia
The woman that had offered us a tangerine also had "lipstick" on her lips. It turns out this is the sign of a married woman.  The red staining of the lip is from the juices of chewing Betel Nut.  Only engaged or married women can chew Betel Nut. The Betel nut has a natural red dye that stains the lips.

The woman of the house on the right and her 18 yr old daughter centre.
Doka,, Sumatra, Indonesia
The woman takes a betel nut leave and sprinkles in some sugar and broken betel nut pieces. Then she  folds it up into a square. She then chews on this "package" with the dye staining her lips. She can choose to swallow the juice or spit it out. She disposes of the "package" when done and starts again.

The woman of the house making a "betel nut package".  Doka,, Sumatra, Indonesia

Betel nut is also used by the Batak boys to ask a girl to marry you.  If a boy likes a girl then he gives her betel nut. If she accepts the nut and starts chewing it on a regular basis, then her parents will notice and ask where she got the betel nut from. She will tell them and then the two families will arrange the wedding. If the girl does not want to get married or accept the proposal betel nut then she must kindly decline and give it back.

One of the bedrooms in the traditional batak house.

Me and the daughter of the house.

While we were in the traditional house The woman of the house also showed us how to wrap and chew the betel nut. Morris then offered the betel nut package to me, and I accepted. So I guess if we follow tradition, we are engaged.

After marriage of course, the next step is children.  For the Batak people to make babies, they go out into the rice field and use the "honeymoon suite". Since sex is considered taboo, they go out into the field. People do not copulate I'm the house.  The honeymoon suite is a shed like structure in the rice field.

The General store in the Doka, Village, Sumatra, Indonesia

The local children taking care of their younger siblings
Doka Village, Sumatra, Indonesia .

Doka Village, Sumatra, Indonesia

Some of the new houses in the village
Doka Village, Sumatra, Indonesia

The men weaving baskets

The view of Doka Village as we were leaving ...

Upon leaving the village and continuing our journey to Berastagi, we stopped at a cinnamon tree. Morris showed us how they take a piece of the bark and dry it in the sun. As it dries it naturally curls into what we know as cinnamon stick.

Morris cutting a strip from the cinnamon tree. Sumatra, Indonesia

The cut in the cinnamon tree.  SO Fragrant !! Sumatra, Indonesia

The cinnamon tree, Sumatra, Indonesia
It started to rain again and continued to rain heavy  the rest of the way into Berastagi. By the time we arrived the rains had caused all the gutters/ sewers to overflow and water to gush down the curbs and sidewalks.  It was 530pm by the time we got to the Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi.

a closeup of the cinnamon tree.  Sumatra, Indonesia

Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

If you would like to get engaged Betel Nut style, visit Dako Village
or stay in the Grand Mutiara Hotel, Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia
then contact Adventures Abroad at 1 800 665 3998
Quote code AANK for a special discount.

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