Farming, future and the road.

By | February 11, 2012

After Takengon I went to Blang Kejeren. I just spend the night there. The next day I went to Kutacane, where I met another couch surfer. She was a student and project planner for an agricultural project. There are a lot of poor farmers and families in the area, and they try to make them into better farmers. Basically they want to give farmers a better life. They took me to a meeting of one of their projects, and even though I didn’t understand much of what they were saying (I speak very little Bahasa Indonesia), I was honored just to be invited. After that she and her boss drove me around a bit, up a mountain so I could get a good look over the river and the valley. I also drank a new kind of juice. It was not like any other kind of juice you can get in most places. It was actually made not from a fruit, but from the palm itself, and it tasted quite good. Afterwards we talked about her town, her school, the culture, her hopes and dreams. Everyday life…
In the evening she brought me to the bus station where I would take a bus straight to Medan, and from Medan straight to Pematang Siantar.

River in Kutacane.

And another view.

The bus drove through the night, in the rain, and like maniacs that would put maniacs to shame. I’ve been on the roads in Sri Lanka, I’ve been on the roads in Indonesia, I’ve seen some mad driving in my time, I have done some “almost mad” driving in my time, but this ride beat any records on the scale of madness…
If it would have been dry, I would not have been worried, probably. It was obvious these guys know their game and their road. Every bump, every corner, every little peculiar thing a road can throw at you, they knew and handled it on the edge…. But it was also wet this time…
You could feel the bus often did not have the grip for a split second manouevre like they might need. The kind of speed that they used would have been perfectly manageable IF the wheels always held a grip on the road, but there was hardly any grip and the wheels were mostly half sliding on the road. If during the long (I forgot just how many hours…) ride something went wrong once, we would have had a serious accident… But nothing went wrong.
I was glad to arrive in Medan, were I took the “noob” bus. This was an easy ride where the roles are changed. The bus driver is so careful and doesn’t know his car well enough to pull any real stunts, to the point where you wished you were behind the wheel driving instead of him. Having just come straight from Kutacane though…. I didn’t mind…

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