Sunday, April 17, 2011

Danau Toba Pt. 2: (H)ot(ELL)

So as I mentioned in the previous article, grubby would be a compliment when applied to the hotels/hostels in Medan.  I checked about 5 places in Medan.  The hostels were putrid, gray and brown splotched beds, bugs, and the bathrooms are squatters which don't flush.  For those of you who haven't had the joy of using a squatter, the real shock is how many scoops of water it takes to flush a number 2 away.  The hotel I finally settled on was in a nicer building but the room was bad.  The mattress was roughly a U shape due to what must have been the fattest person ever being the previous occupant.  The washroom didn't have a squatter, but had a western-style toilet with no seat and that wasn't flushable.  You had to scoop water from a big basin called a mandi, which you needed to fill on arrival, until the waste was gone.  The only amenity in the room was a desultory prayer mat in the cupboard.  I used my own pillow case.  The price was around $14, which sounds cheap, but by Indonesian standards should've got you a little more than that.  On my way back out of Medan, I stayed at a different hotel.  This one charged quite a lot more, so I thought I was safe.  NOPE!  The room looked decent at a glance, and the bed was ok, but the bathroom!  When I went in to wash my feet, the floor suddenly came to life!  I realized that the cracks between the off white floor tiles were crawling with tiny worms.  To top it off, the running water (not hot, as in water in your room period) was limited to certain hours of the day, a fact I discovered early the next morning when I wanted to shower before flying back to JKT.  Apologies to whoever was sitting next to me on that flight, blame the Ibunda Hotel!  Price, a substantial worm infested, dry $22.
On Samosir, the big island in the middle of Lake Toba, by contrast I had a large delightful room, spotlessly clean, with a double bed, a single bed and a huge bathroom with hot water located under a traditional Batak cottage.  That ran me a grand total of $7.50/night!  Swimming right on the lake just steps from my door, too.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yes, I remember those worms! I wonder what they are. Sometimes it's worth the extra $2 to stay at a pleasant place!