Indonesia Travel

That’s a photo of Pulau Samosir from 2012.

Curious about what your experience was like in Danau Toba back in those Soeharto days.

(On a lighter note, here’s a link to a video I made of Batak food in Jakarta; that might be the spiciest regional Indonesian food I tried. I’ve become a big fan of andaliman.)


Indonesia in 1998 was a defiant but frightened place. When one of the guests at Samosir Cottages brought out their travelers radio to the dining verandah on Day 5 or so, all the hotel staff disappeared. They did not want to be seen listening to a BBC broadcast when Suharto had shut down the satellite feeds for TV.
A week later we saw the nose of a waiter poked around the corner of the kitchen. The next day the staff listened to the BBC with us and we “knew” Suharto would fall soon.
It was a sad time for most of us. When we were on our way to Samosir most of us saw the rioting and businesses burning as we went. We had fun but there was a sense “But for the grace of God, there go I.” The locals on Samosir took good care of us but there were ugly things going down in that part of Indonesia.
Samosir Cottages is the first photo, it is where i stayed and watched the bat feed every night. No TV so we got our entertainment wherever we could.

I am not sure but i think this is Carolina before the renovation.

This was the Batak village we visited. They let us go up in the home but all the women left the main area where they had been working and happily talking when we did so, so we did not stay long.

Indonesia was a strange place to be a traveler in 1998 and also when i returned in 2002. It constantly irritated us but we all seemed to keep going back. I spent 4 months there in 1998, traveling from Medan to Flores, one island at a time mostly ysing Pelni ships. I returned for 2 months in 2002 then again a few months ago for a couple weeks.
I left Indo and Bali in 2002 a couple months before the Bali bombing. I did not think i would ever go back but did so a few months ago. Covid crippled the tourism economy of Bali and the Gili’s. So again, my third trip to Indo was a sad one in ways, but i am glad that i went.
This photo is of the 2 young ladies that worked at a Kodak store in Kuta and developed my film and made 5x7 enlargements that i sent to friends. Their glass front store was diagonally across the street and down 20 or 30 yards from the epicenter of the blast. The site of their store has still not been rebuilt.


Wow love this. Thanks for sharing.

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