|The view from the island right after the rain|
Samosir Island has got to be one of the most relaxing places on earth, other than being one filled with interesting ancient history.
We left the mainland, Parapat, via ferry the next morning, after a typical Indonesian breakfast, which could also be mistaken for a Malaysian breakfast due to our close proximity. As we had nothing better to do, we sat in the ferry and observed people. The locals (or so we presumed) packed their breakfast into tupperwares and bags and enjoyed it on the ferry trip, like a picnic, while the wind whipped their hair and jackets about (if they sat near the open windows that is.) Some of them puffed on their cigarettes mulling over life. People wore jackets, and some kids were dressed in such a way that made you think you were going to a really cold place. We also took some time to look out of the window, the cold wind blowing at our faces and the reluctant sun occasionally showing itself, shining on our faces and giving us the slight bit of warmth normally associated with Asian countries.
Without any incident, not much later we arrive on dry land, and head towards an area called Tomok, where King Sidabutar and his family were buried. An interesting thing we learned from the guide here is that during the older times when animism was still practiced, the kings were not buried underground as they believed that underground represented hell. Only after Christianity was embraced only did they get buried underground.
To enter the burial site, you are given a cloth known as the ulos, which you drape on your right shoulder as a sign of respect. I also found it interesting that there was no entrance fee to see the graves. You can just walk in and out, however, there is a little box in which you are encouraged to drop in some cash to help maintain the area. So unlike typical tourist sites which almost always require an entrance ticket. Just behind this area was a row of stalls selling trinkets from key-chains to t-shirts. We had some time to shop, which we did with some enthusiasm.
To be continued