So Andre, the exporter I mentioned from last post, took us up to Wahana. It was about a 5 hour drive and a complete joy the whole way. The city of Medan is about what I expected for a larger city in a third world country, it's crowded and busy with lots of motorcycles and trucks. There are smallish stands selling all sorts of food and colourful signs line the buildings. It's dirty and chaotic. But it's a city and that's not where you stay. You leave the big cities, drive long winding, terrifying dirt roads.
However, the road up here wasn't dirt and rarely terrifying. In fact it was almost entirely paved. So, we're in this appropriately large SUV (the only time these vehicles are practical.) and we're passing cars at a close clip. I should say we are passing motorcycles and trucks. Anyway, out of the city, up... up... and... up. Through smaller and smaller cities. *Fun fact: Door Smeer means car wash. I learned this after reading it nearly 200 times.* At one point as we were talking Al mentions that he'd love to get some mangosteen. I said I've never had it and next thing you know we are stopping at a market to get mangosteens.
This is that market.
They were kind enough to let me take photos. At least if I'm going to stick out, there isn't much more I can do to make it worse, right? So, we get mangosteens. And a few other fruits that were convincingly sold by smashing one open and thrusting it into our faces. How do you say no to that? (Snakeskin fruit is the most bizarre fruit I've eaten to date. However, Andre has graciously gotten some Durian for us. I can't tell if it's teasing or serious.)
Snakeskin Fruit. Peels just like striping a snake.
I've got more pictures, but I'll save those for a photo essay. Or something.
Later on the trip, we get the chance to stop again. This time to look out over Lake Toba. I can't describe to you how amazing it is. The view is immense. Tall rolling mountains with towering lush trees and a covering of green unlike anything in the US. And there and the end of it is a lake that gets lost in the heavy rain clouds. It looks like Avalon.
So as we roll in to the estate, Andre describes how in the past 5 years they have built this abandoned land up into an estate with 6 or 7 different varietals of coffee. (When I say abandoned, don't think Detroit. It's more like untended.) They have paved roads, electricity (see the wifi I'm using?), a processing station, a clinic, a guest house and more I'm guessing. Tonight we are going to the processing station. So, along with growing their own coffee, they also buy from the locals in the Wahana area and process it here. In the mornings, they buy, at nights they process. Later, we will also be drinking some Kopi Luwak. *Fun fact: Kopi means coffee in most languages down here. * Also, we get to meet the Civet cat, which apparently is a pet, not a caged animal. EEEEee!
Will update again soon. By soon I mean, as soon as I have some more pictures. As soon as I have some pictures of the civet cat. EEEEE!