This picture of a Toyota Kijang turned a street stall at the side of Toba Lake in Parapat, north Sumatra, may well depict the condition of this town: old, rusty, and battered. With hotels encircling the Toba Lake, Parapat has practically created a concrete interface wall between the land and the water, separating the two ecosystem, and probably cutting off the exchange of micro-nutrients between the two.
Once full of tourists who enjoyed Toba Lake, this Town is now empty: empty hotels, empty streets, and empty excursion boats. The only place that show activity is the port of Tigaraja, serving ferries to Tomok and Tuktuk, the latter is now the base for most, if not all tourists who want to explore Toba Lake and Samosir island.
Parapat is a good example of a mismanaged tourist area. I blame improper city planning, and lack of law enforcement as the culprit: the uncontrolled boom of hotels are destroying what was once loved by the tourist industry. While the government is also to blame, I would like to think that the locals also took credit for the current situation. These, and the fact that local wisdom and knowledge of environmental issues are not used (or even understood).
The latest move by the government to change the center of activities for the Toba Lake Festival (used to be called Pesta Danau Toba) last September from Parapat to Samosir, instead of cleaning up the sickness of Parapat, made the whole situation more complex, and has provoked a particular sentiment of part of the community towards the government. The remedy? Local government and the community need to sit down together. Central government may need to jump in. Get an action plan. It’s in bold, meaning a real action plan, not just a piece of paper signed by too many parties inacted in a sort of decree that will only deplete budget without any realisation.
Here’s what happened when two young emotional birds got married: A simple Chinese tradition where the groom needed to knock the door to his bride’s house, and rejected more than 10 times by his parents in law (to be precise, his mother in law), and to be let in only after a long poetic password has been spelled out correctly. A BIG smile from the groom when he finally got to see his bride. Then a simple church ceremony with tears in between… by the groom (and later by his parents in law). A few comforting words between the groom and the bride, also in between the tears. And finally, a smile from each of their family members.
That was part one. Add to that a torrential downpour that destroyed almost all the cute non-waterproof decorations, but failed to ruin their happiness, in the first ever Bintan Resorts Reservoir Park open-air wedding reception. A quick and fun tea-ceremony. Cakes and all. First dance! A kiss that was almost french (nope, I’m not showing it here). And yet another tears from the bride when the groom sang a song that apparently has a very deep meaning to both of them.
Phew! I’m lucky I was not the official photographer, or else I would have broken down in tears as well! Have a happy life with hopefully less tears, Dennis and Verlina!
I was actually not aiming for this, and instead was focusing for the plants. Out of nowhere it came on one of the mangrove leaves. I refocus, and there it was, a katydid, staring at me as if it wanted to eat me alive! I changed to spot metering and took a few frames.
People often confuse katydids with grasshoppers, although they are more related to crickets. Katydid will have a much longer antennas compared to grasshoppers. They are mostly nocturnal. The sound that they produce comes not from their mouths, but from the rubbing of their wings together. And here’s the oddest of all: their hearing organs are located on their front legs! but then again, insects are known to have ears all over their part of the body: grasshoppers on their abdomens while lacewings have ears on their wings.
Thank you for stopping by and have a great week ahead!
I have almost completed editing Dennis and Verlina’s wedding and couldn’t wait to share them with your all, but for now this one will have to do. While they’re looking into their bright future, allow me to share one line from Saint Patrick, as Dennis is a strong believer in God:
Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.
Here’s another favourite nature objects of the Sebung River mangrove, Bintan, after the numerous snakes from mangrove snakes to phyton and viper and the cute silvered leaf monkey. Pandanus has bright coloured fruits. This particular Pandanus affinis, however, has its fruits deep red with yellow lining between the spikes. The colour combination makes it distinct in the dominant green of the mangrove. This species lives in the damp area on the banks of Sebung River in the freshwater part. Many of the 600 pandan species fruits are edible, but I’m not sure about this one. Anybody want to try?
This is an HDR of three frames with 2 stops interval, with shutter speed from 1/160s to 1/10s, handheld.
I am fascinated by the modesty of these Samosir houses, just a few hundred meters from the Catholic Church of Maria Claret in Sangkal, Simanindo (on the background). These are traditional wooden houses on elevated ground with typical North Sumatra roof made of corrugated zinc sheets, and ficus trees nearby. The trees’ aerial roots and the stone structure in the foreground created what my daughter sees as medieval look.
As a matter of fact, quite a number of places of the Northern Samosir that we passed by looks medieval… or perhaps even older than that!
The picture is an HDR of three frames with 2 stops interval.
Wow, WordPress reminded me that three years ago I started this blog. So here we are today, with 199 posts and hopefully counting, and a great community to share with (yes, you!).
This quick snap was taken inside one of the many antiquated motorised rickshaws in Jakarta, with drivers as old as or even older than the vehicles.
Thank you for following my blog and have a great weekend!