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    Tropical Storm Tour: Sumatra Part 4

    Friday, August 7, 2015
    Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia

    That's quite an attractive truck you have there in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    That’s quite an attractive truck you have there in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A machine shop and a bicycle in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A machine shop and a bicycle in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    I woke up a few minutes past 10:00 am this morning, just in time to miss the “free” breakfast buffet that came with the price of my room. But, I moseyed on down there anyway to see if I could grab a few morsels while the teenage staff were putting away everything. Luckily, they were nice and let me scrounge up a few items to cobble together a makeshift breakfast. Around 3:00 pm, I set out on a walk a mile or so over to Jalon Brigiend Katamso to look for a Lion Air office. Somehow, I actually found my way there with the map on my iPod touch. (On my first day in town, I couldn’t find my way around at all, because at the time I didn’t realize that the Gandhi Inn was actually a few blocks further east than I thought it was, so it really threw me off.)

    A weathered wall in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A weathered wall in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    An intersection along Jalon SM Raja in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    An intersection along Jalon SM Raja in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    When I saw a couple of huge Lion Air banners out on the median of Katamso, I looked around for their office, but soon realized that flights for that airline were actually booked inside Berjaya Tour and Travel agency. While I was in there, I saw a lady sitting next to me using a Blackberry straight out of 2005. I hadn’t seen one of those in a super long time. It’s funny how before the iPhone came out in 2007, the Blackberry used to be really popular, but now it looks so archaic.

    A color-splashed becak in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A color-splashed becak in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A distressed wall in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A distressed wall in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    After close to an hour of wheeling and dealing with a couple of Berjaya’s agents, I walked out of the office with a ticket from Medan to Padang, Sumatra on Sriwijaya Air on August 18, and it only cost 520,000 rupiah ($39.00)! Next, I took a walk southward on Jalon Katamso, then crossed over a block to Jalon SM Raja and kept heading south, because I wanted to see what that part of town looked like. I ended up back down by The Mesjid Raya Al Mashun mosque, where I noticed a sign for the Residence Inn, a super low budget backpacker hotel that got some really bad reviews on Trip Advisor.

    Torn flyers on a pole in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Torn flyers on a pole in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    The two young men who interviewed me in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The two young men who interviewed me in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Since I was right there, I decided to go take a look at a couple of rooms to see for myself. Although it did look like the staff put in some effort to sweep, mop and change bedsheets, the puke green prison / mental hospital walls were all tarnished and scuffed up, and the room smelled like a combination of cockroaches and bug spray, just like the reviews described. I asked the guy who showed me the room if they had bed bugs, and he said no. To their credit, the staff were super nice.

    The front gate of the Mesjid Raya in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The front gate of the Mesjid Raya in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Some bright buildings along Jalon SM Raja in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Some bright buildings along Jalon SM Raja in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Next, I stopped by the Corner Cafe Raya just a few doors down. Festooned with photos of–and quotes from–various classic rock icons, it’s safe to say the place definitely caters to foreigners. Perusing the menu, I ordered a bowl of vegetable noodle soup and French fries. Although it took a while for my food to arrive, it was quite yummy. A couple of young school boys randomly sat down at my table and briefly interviewed me for a school project about why I was visiting Indonesia. They were super friendly and enthused. The whole situation was funny. Returning north back up Jalon SM Raja, I snapped a few shots of all the huge, crazy weird-looking buildings and a few distressed street objects. I was pretty stoked that I found my way back through the maze of Medan to the Gandhi Inn super easily by re-tracing my steps.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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