Day 10: Tuesday April 21st, 2015
Through couchsurfing we had gotten in touch with Linlin. She was born in Java but is currently working in Medan at an outdoor education centre. She kindly requested to meet us and offered us lunch. So after a pleasant breakfast with our host Adin we set out to find her. Yet, another friend that we hadn’t met yet. Little did we know what a magical day lay ahead…
Firstly we walked through the small back lanes, these are such a contrast to the main streets. Women hanging out washing, children playing, the aroma of home cooking. After asking for directions we caught a local bus to the general area. We happily chatted to a few characters on the bus that kindly offered advise as to how we should get there. Soon we were waved off by the bus driver, at a lonely intersection – this was as far as the bus goes – and pointed in the right direction. We didn’t really have any firm idea how far we would have to walk. Hopefully not far?
After we had walked almost two kilometres, we stopped at a tiny stall for refreshments. Fresh coconut and fruit juice does wonders in this heat. After a rest, we were relieved to find a signboard indicating the outdoor centre ahead.
We entered it’s huge gates, the place seemed quiet and empty. Suddenly Linlin appeared and welcomed us with her beaming smile. She directed us to a thatch covered assembly area to rest, a welcome relief from the heat. We removed our shoes and sat listening to the river below. The local cats and birds stopped to say hello. Linlin soon reappeared with a large plate of sliced watermelon and drinks. The boys were delighted. With belly’s full we proceeded to play some games together. We taught Linlin this new one, which we had in turn learnt from Sam, an American couchsurfer we had hosted in Perth.
Now rested Linlin preposed we go fishing. Why not?
In a few minutes, she had found a friend, her brother and a few rods. We crossed the bridge over the river. In the wet earth beneath the palm trees we dug for worms. Felix was proud to show us one minute specimen. Soon worms were on hooks and adults helped excited children cast into the man-made lakes. In the distance we could see the wriggling fish but frustratingly we couldn’t manage to catch any. Still our boys enjoyed trying…
On returning empty handed we were delightfully greeted by the sight of Linlin’s friends father and their family cooking up a huge lunch. Rice, vegetables, fried chicken and the famous Ikan fish for lunch. The heady aroma alone was intoxicating.
Where at first there had been only us, now more and more people and relatives appeared. It wasn’t long before we were all making friends and having a fabulous feast!
Some people had a go on the high ropes but we were invited to try the flying fox. It was such a thrill to be harnessed and then whizzing the kilometre or so over the trees and lakes to a distant platform. Reuben and Felix bravely went together, Graham went with Lucas and Prunella went solo. Wheeee! Epic fun!
Sadly it was time to leave. I would have been happy to call a taxi to the nearby main road but our friends insisted they would take us on their motorbikes. Normally, I would be sternly against such a multi-passenger ride for safety reasons but as it was such a short distance, on quiet suburban lanes and the boys were excited to give it a try, we threw caution to the wind.
How wonderful to have met Linlin only a few hours ago and now to be genuinely farewelled by our generous friends and family, who would remain warmly in our memories. I am sure our paths will cross again…
Adin had recommended a upmarket Medan mall to visit, so we caught a cab there. A wander of the shops, a long play with Lego, some indulgent Pizza Hut for dinner and a taxi home.