It’s a Big City
From South Africa we got to Medan, Sumatra (an island in Indonesia) by way of Bali for one night. I will include our night in Bali when in the Bali section of our trip. Since Medan is one of the largest cities in Indonesia I expected it to be built up slightly at least with easy access to locations, minimal to some public transportation, and you know, side walks.
We got off the plane and collected our luggage. We took the train from the airport to the center of town. This train was incredibly nice. It was clean, on time, and made me think I would really enjoy Medan for a few days before our jungle trek. However, the train was as nice as it got in Medan.
The night was rainy but warm. We arrived in the center of town to a few bright lights and traffic. Unfortunately, the station had at least two exits, and we went out the wrong way. We thought we knew where we were going. Our hotel was only supposed to be a ten minute walk down a city street. What I didn’t realize about Medan versus say, Cairo, was that there were little to no street signs, whole side walks had been ripped up or were missing. I’m talking you’re walking down the path, then suddenly no more path, there is just an empty hole three feet down with torrential rain pouring through it.
One of the holes during the day time. At night during the rain, with barely any street lights these were much harder to see.
Just Get Me to the Hotel!
I was already in a bad mood because of the rain. No one likes to walk in the rain and mud in a city with no side walks and no street signs. Then, we crossed the street under a boom gate. Andrew cleared it just fine. Me? It landed on my head and made me bite my tongue which later caused me a bit of a headache. I just wanted to find the damn hotel and get dry.
We continued walking in the wrong direction for a few more minutes dodging the holes in the side walks, the rivers of water, and the puddles of mud. Did I tell you I have a rolling suitcase and a backpack? It wasn’t easy. When we finally decided we had no idea where we were, or where we were going, we stopped at a nice looking hotel to ask for directions.
They showed us on a map where we had gone wrong, and suggested we take a tuk tuk. Because of how large Andrew and I both are, and how much luggage we have, and how small tuk tuks are, we had to take two. I was in no mood to continue walking. I didn’t care how much the tuk tuk cost. Andrew realized there was no arguing with me at that point, and we loaded on to the tuk tuks.
This kind of stuff was on every corner.
A few minutes later and we arrived at our hotel. I booked this hotel before I ever signed up for Couchsurfing. The tour in Sumatra was booked before I planned any other parts of our travels. I wish I would have known about Couchsurfing before I had booked the hotel. To be fair, it wasn’t horrible, but it was very basic, and just depressing. We checked in, found our room, and were sorely disappointed in everything. But it was for two nights and it was a bed, and there was air conditioning.
The next day we slept in and ventured out in to the city. Our hotel was in the center of town, but after an hour of walking around we realized we didn’t really have much we wanted to see or do there. We were tired from the flights to and from Bali so we went back to the hotel room and just relaxed. I spent some time washing my underwear in the tiny and slightly dirty sink. It was the first time I used my clothes line and soap nuts…and the last so far.
So the run down of Medan is that it is a dirty city. It was not tourist friendly. There was not much to do there. The food was decent. Our hotel was really crap; I should have taken a photo of the continental breakfast. However, it made me realize how grateful I am for my life. Where I grew up, how I grew up, and the life that I was born in to. Sometimes you have to visit those places like that in order to appreciate all you have in your life.