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    Tropical Storm Tour: Sumatra Part 11

    Friday, August 14, 2015
    Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia

    A picturesque wooden bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A picturesque wooden bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    My bungalow at the Lucky Bamboo Guesthouse in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    My bungalow at the Lucky Bamboo Guesthouse in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Gado gado and a taco at the Junia Guesthouse in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Gado gado and a taco at the Junia Guesthouse in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Around noon, I scraped my crap together into my backpack and moved it from the Lucky Bamboo Guesthouse statically right across the river to another place with the wacky name of Fido Dido Guesthouse. I was amped because my new room came complete with a fan, a sink, a western toilet and a big ol’ shower head. Much to my dismay, the water barely trickled out of the latter, but I had read that’s the way most of the showers around these parts operate. Everything else about the room was great, though–especially the view. Situated on the top floor, three stories directly over the water, my room had the pole position of nice views over the Bohorok river. Bathers, clothes washers, inner tube riders and more were all in full effect, using the river as a basic community service exactly the way folks have done down through the millenia.

    A myriad of textures in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A myriad of textures in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    The rough pathway up the side of the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The rough pathway up the side of the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Guesthouse innertube rafts in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Guesthouse innertube rafts in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Kicking back in my swanky yet cheesy room, I took off the fist, I mean the first of my two full days in Bukit Lawang for a little rest and relaxation. That usually means a photo mission is tossed into the mix at some point–disrupting the “rest” part of the equation. Today was no different as I scanned the whole area of the main village on both sides of the river for scenic views, interesting walls and various distressed surfaces to click away at. At some point in there, I walked into the office of a travel and trekking guide agent, where I asked to book a half day trek in the jungle. The guy behind the desk seemed mellow as he quoted me a price for a three-hour trek. Then he called up a guide to come fill me in on the details.

    The Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    The main bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The main bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A verdant green scene in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A verdant green scene in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A few minutes later, the guide showed up and told me there was no such thing as a half day trek, only full day or multi-day. The first red flag went up, as the Bukit Lawang web site that I read offers a half day trek that lasts four hours. Also, the guide did not seem very friendly at all. He had a really angry, tough guy vibe about him, which was red flag number two. After haggling with him for a bit, he offered to take me on a trek for three hours for 500,000 rupiah ($37.00), or have his brother do it. When I asked him if I could see his license, he seemed really annoyed, but showed it to me. Red flag number three.

    A double-decker shack in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A double-decker shack in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Planks and trees in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Planks and trees in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Another rickety wooden bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Another rickety wooden bridge crossing the Bohorok river in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Despite all of these red flags popping up, I went ahead and forked over the 500,000 rupiah because I didn’t feel like schlepping around to a bunch of different agencies. I just wanted to get it over with. At least I did make those guys write me a receipt. After they had me jot down my name and passport number for a card they were supposed to get me to enter Gunung Leuser National Park, I bailed out of there and continued my photo mission. Later that night, wi-fi in the village was finally restored, after having been knocked out 24 hours before during a little thunder and lightning storm. But, it was still ludicrously slow.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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