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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Human is Fragile and So is Life...

A couple of days ago, I witnessed a minor accident on the road. That incident just reminded me again of one thing that I haven't talked in my postings - human is a fragile creature.

Slip two steps of the stairs and we could break our ankles. Have someone around us who by mistake swings his/her arm around our faces and we might break our noses or injure our teeth. We could by mistake fall down on the street and have a truck pass over us. The point is that in a split second, collateral damage could happen to us.

Of course, with minor injuries, you could simply go to doctor and have it fixed, but how about the people who are financially weak. Could they spend USD 5000 for a broken hand easily?

Life is Fragile, folks. There is nothing you could do to avoid what is bound to happen to us physically. If it is meant to happen, then it will happen, no matter how hard you try to avoid. A person sitting inside a coffee shop at the corner of the street could be smashed to death by a driver who in a split second mis-steer the car into the shop shattering half the building. Can you keep avoiding such things and actually live a life? No.

I am not going to talk on "how you could avoid such damage in life" today, because no one can. Not even me. I have faced my own unexpected damages, but the questions are...
DO WE STOP LIVING BECAUSE OF THAT?
DO WE BECOME SO RECKLESS THAT WE ARE NOT GRATEFUL ON WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE?
ARE WE SO BLIND THAT WE DON'T SEE AROUND US?

Let's Be Grateful.

If you have a perfectly formed healthy body, be grateful for it, take care of it. Let's not complain about small things in life which may not matter in a few years. Life is too precious, your body is too precious. Take care of it.

I have read a saying somewhere: Life is fragile and no matter how much we fight to control its outcome, all we can do is live in the moment.

How could we live in the moment? Love what you do, be grateful for what you have, share what you could, be kind to others, focus on the best in life, try to reduce negativity towards others in your life, and the most important thing is to understand that no matter how bad things happen in life, it is actually to teach us to bring out the best in us. Keep the best inside you, so that when life squeezes you hard, the best is bound to come out still :)

Be grateful, folks...and take care of yourselves because you are special!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Danau Linting & Air Terjun Pelangi, North Sumatera - Indonesian Travel Destination

For May Day, we decided to head for places that none of our group has even gone. We saw on the net about Danau Linting (Linting Lake) and Air Terjun Pelangi (Pelangi Waterfall) in Deli Tua area and thought that "Hey, that's near to Medan. Let's give a try for a short road-trip"... and here is my journal :)

Route
Danau Linting is located in Kabupaten (Regency) Deli Serdang and Kecamatan (Sub-District) Sinembah Tanjung Muda (STM) Hulu. In order to get here by public transport, you would need to inquire the bus driver at Amplas Bus Station, Medan. I am not sure, which number heads that way, but we saw a bus number P24 (yellow minivan) that heads all the way to Danau Linting.

The distance from Medan to Danau Linting would be around 70km and it takes around 2 hours to reach there. Most of the road would be winding road and some parts would be a bumpy one. You would need to take the route from Medan to Deli Tua, Patumbak, Talun Kenas, and all the way to Tiga Juhar - Deli Serdang. From Patumbak, you would meet a forked road and make sure you make the right turn to Talun Kenas (from Medan, it would be the right fork turn). From Talun Kenas, you would need to follow along the road until you meet Tiga Juhar. From Tiga Juhar, it would take around 1 hour to finally reach Danau Linting which would be on the left side of the road. You won't be able to see the lake from the outside of the road as it's a small lake hidden inside. Make sure you don't miss this board.

The Danau Linting (Linting Lake)
In order to enter the Lake area, you would need to pay IDR 5000 per person. You could park the car inside and chill out at the brim of the lake. It is not a big lake and since many people have come around, the surrounding area has been changed to canteens and tents. It is no longer look natural as the photos we saw a couple of years ago.

The color of the lake is magnificent, though - tosca green. The temperature of the water is 30 degree Celcius and it contains sulfur. We tried to have a dip and it's pretty hot in this hot weather. Perhaps at early dawn or during rainy season, it would be more comfortable to have a dip here.
Right off the car :)
However, it's not advisable to swim to the center of the lake. It is known so far that the lake is actually shaped like a well and in the center it could go up to 100 metres deep or even more. Some people have lost their lives drowning here, so be careful. Just stick to the brim where you could stand and submerged yourselves in the water.
It's hot and it's steep deep - 50cm forward and God knows how deep it is.
Simply LOVE the color :)
There is also a cave inside this complex that you could explore if you wish. We didn't explore that section as it was pretty crowded here during the holiday. After some photo session, we left this place and headed to Air Terjun Pelangi, which is approximately 30 minutes car-ride from Danau Linting.

The Air Terjun Pelangi (Pelangi Waterfall)
You would need to follow the main road out of Danau Linting until you find a junction where there is a house and muddy road. I'm sure you won't miss this, but there is no harm in asking the people around. The people are friendly and ready to assist.

However, you need to enter around 1km inside to get to the waterfall. This road definitely does not exist for the sake of Sedan car or any car in this matter with low chassis. The stones are pretty big and many clay mounds along the road which could make your tires could go round round in place like crazy spinning wheel. I suggest you bring a 4WD car (off-road car) here, or else a motorbike. BUT, I have a lot lot better suggestion. Bring a sexy sedan if you want to, park it outside the junction (you could rely on the local to take care of the car. They are friendly and the car would be safe. Just make sure you tip them when you return), and WALK inside. It's a fun, muddy walk with all the cicada and cricket sound, surrounded by woods. No tension of falling down from the bike or get your car stuck in the middle.


The more you go, the crazier it becomes - stones, mounds, and muddy clay soil - pray that your car doesn't stuck

So, we eventually decided to rely our feet for this one :)
There is a very short bridge you need to cross to enter the waterfall area. This bridge is DEADLY. There is no railing at all and if you fall, it's a perfect 100-150-metre vertical ride to death. So, if you walk, make sure do not peep if you have a light head and if you drive/ride, give your 100% concentration. Leave this place when there is still light.

Once you cross this dangerous bridge, you would enter a parking area near the waterfall. If you take your vehicle inside for the parking, you would need to pay IDR 5000 for motorbike and IDR 20,000 for car.

This waterfall is called Pelangi, which means Rainbow, because it has 7 steps of fall from top to bottom. The falls are not extreme and you could roam around safely once you reach down. The stream is not very hard as well. You could refresh yourselves here pretty safely.

The starting point of the stairs heading towards the waterfall
This waterfall is located approximately 100-150 metres below the ground level (it's a kind of abyss) so you would need to descent through the stairs that have been built along the way to the waterfall. You need to be very careful here because the stairs are not even in height and most of them do not have railings. If you slip and fall side-ways, you would fall to the abyss. We do not want that, so please be careful.
This shot was taken while I was standing on the stairs - no railing at all, just approximately 1 metre wide steps
We went off-track from the stairs to the muddy jungle and this is the view we ended up with :)
 The Drawbacks of the Waterfall:
  • Road is not conducive
  • Stairs are not very safe
  • The bridge is super-dangerous
  • Some people are not aware of cleanliness that you could spot many snack wrappers, soda cans, and water bottles along the jungle
  • No room to change after you are full wet. You need to change in the car, or try other way to change your clothing.
Surrounding Sites
There are many other places surround this area, like: Air Terjun Tanjung Raja (Tanjung Raja Waterfall), Goa Emas (Gold Cave), Air Terjun Tarunggang (Tarunggang Waterfall), Kolam Delapan Putri (Eight Princess Pool/Delapan Putri Pool), Rumah Liang (Liang House), and Jembatan Gantung (Hanging Bridge/Gantung Bridge).

Those areas are not visited by many people due to the lack of maintenance by the local Tourism Board of the government. However, if you have a supporting vehicle (as I said, 4WD vehicle is very much recommended), you might have an over-the-edge off-road-trip adventure. Just make sure you bring enough food and water provision for the day.

Food
Unfortunately, they don't have very many food alternatives here. Mostly are the Karonese Roast Pork (Babi Panggang Karo/BPK) and Padangnese Food (rice with chicken or fish with vegetables, etc). So it is recommended to pack your own lunch from home if you don't want these.

By the way, we didn't know this, so we survived with Tango Wafers, Cassava Chips, Water, and God knows how many lollipops Kiminiko had finished during the ride. We finally had lunch at 5pm after we returned to Medan. We stopped at Mbah Bolek Restaurant at Brigjen Katamso.
Fried Chicken, Water Spinach stir fry, Beef soup, Fried Aubergine, Chili Soy Sauce, Belacan, Tamarillo juice, and Ice Tea - Now that's the menu after all day starving ;)
Overall Rating
However, from the 2 spots I visited (the lake and the waterfall), I should say that my overall rating for this place is not so high. Out of 1 to 10, I would give 4 considering the winding road, some bumpy parts, the not-so-far-reaching view of the Lake, and the food. The waterfall is not that bad, though - the access is not so good, but the view is pretty good.

If you are just curious and feel like giving a shot to these places with your friends, then it's fine, but if you really need to unwind and enjoy your day relaxing or bring your parents, I do not recommend these places.

Thank you for the very good companies and the wild imagination of conversation of Ensui, Kiminiko, and Ensui's girlfriend. We should do this again ;)