Tuk Tuk – Pangururan: Halfway around the island

Posted: June 10, 2010 in Mountain bike touring North Sumatra 2008
Tags: , , , , , ,

Saturday April 19, 2008, 42 km (26 miles) – Total so far: 298 km (185 miles)

Can't get enough of this.....

Another great day on Samosir, due in part to our late check out at 12 to ride to Pangururan. A leisurely breakfast followed by really slow packing. With just 42 kms to ride today, and knowing that Pangururan, the island’s capital was just another one street town, there was no hurry to get there and experience in Alvin’s words, Nothingsville. It was hard to leave Tuk Tuk and restaurants with their western menus. The place deserved a whole week, but the 24 km hillclimb to Tele awaits early tomorrow morning.

Pangururan sucks, well slightly. It would suck big time if on a solo tour. By now we had gotten used to each other’s idiosyncrasies such that there would be no surprises when it came to food, rooms and cycling habits. Dreary rooms always looked better after a good bath/meal/massage and the knowledge that we would be gone in 12 hours or so. A cool evening breeze through the pink curtains made for a restful night’s sleep here.

The best hotel in town, ‘best’ being used quite liberally, had a bunch of policemen hogging the lobby lounge and grainy TV. Were they smoking,? Does Shimano make bicycle components? They looked quite surly too, unlike Al’s elegant set of wheels. I thought we were going to be interrogated for walking by their little ‘kingdom’ on our way to our rooms. Turns out that the poor fellows had to hole up in the economy rooms upstairs as their regular police quarters were full. To add insult to injury they even had to pay for their own hovels/hotel rooms.

Elaborate Batak family tombstones

We saw Haranggaol in the hazy distance from the northern part of Samosir and well as all the ridgelines we rode days ago, thankful that there we now on a much flatter road. After 20 plus kms we took a break at another megalithic stone age attraction. This village had a circle of ancient stone chairs in which ancient Batak kings would decide the fate of their captured enemies. In the middle of the circle was a stone chopping block, really handy for executions and lopping off heads. An open air kitchen and dining area where enemies are eaten.

This northern half of Samosir island also seemed to have more elaborate tombstones. It was almost like there was a competition between who could build the largest and most ornate. They were a stark contrast to some of the run down dwellings for the living, and if you’re not too picky, some make ideal campsites.

last remaining Batak houses on Samosir island with tatched roofs

The evening’s (mis)adventures came in the form of a well built and pretty macho Nicholas Cage lookalike that tried to chat us up, without much success. Said he was posted here for three months as a junior police officer. He had a hard time believing that we were on a cycling trip, so I had to out macho him by playing a few downhill cycling videos from my camera.

That’s what we get for killing time after dinner, getting a hair wash and scalp massage at Betty’s Salon!

Fertile Toba

  1. khloroos says:

    not really the last house… in my village only there are two from two, means every thing frome the houses, watchguard place, and the museum have tatched roofs, the other most likely to have one of many houses just like in the picture…


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