In the past, Batak people were feared by travellers, missionaries, neighbouring populations, as they practised cannibalism, and apparently, not only for religious or ritual motives. . . . . prisoners of war, sinners (adultery), thieves, were eaten, sometimes raw (“alive” wrote some travellers), by the Batak men; women were not allowed to enjoy the feast.
Some courageous (?) missionaries managed to convert Batak to Christianity, with help, probably, of their good position (OK, easy joke!) and since the middle of the 19th century, the cannibalism has been abandoned.
This intro to tell you to look at dogs in Batak country and villages. . . . . You will see mainly female dogs, like in other countries you see mainly female cattle, ewes rather than rams, goats rather than billy goats, etc. . . Yes you get it, dogs are here bred like cattle. The first time I noticed the dogs barking in the village were females, I thought, it was coincidence, but when I observed the same in other places. . . well! Dogs, may be, replaced the prisoners of the past. . . . I heard horrible stories (the way the dogs are killed. . . . ) about that local custom since long, and here, if I did not see direct evidence, seeing almost only female dogs (there are a few (lucky?) males) is a sufficient proof that this custom is widely practised.
And, if you go in a restaurant with your preferred pet, take care, as the chef may come and ask you, looking at your dog: “how do you want it to be prepared?” This is a true (?) story, a colleague told me a few years ago.
Well, a tired lucky (?) male on the first picture. . . . and only female dogs, on the other pictures. . . . .
For exceptional occasions, people like to show themselves at their best, and the women display very elaborate hair dresses, and the groom looks a bit “poor” besides his bride (first picture). Most women attending the wedding have elaborate hair dresses and one is more complicated than the other; sometimes there are artificial chignons, easily identifiable on elder women. . . . The variety of styles is just amazing. . . . look at the other pictures.
Local custom? Weddings take place almost everywhere on the planet, but the way the wedding takes place is different from one place to another. I was on my way (and rented motorbike) to the hills above Parapat and I came across a very busy and noisy place ; I stopped, looked and noticed it was a wedding; I came closer and asked if I can have a look: great smiles responded me, so I stepped in.
The flower boards (picture 2) show that the bride and groom are respected and well known, and may be belong to “important” families; these boards are greetings and wishes from teachers, companies, administration. . . . so, happiness wishes (selamat bahagia) to Goklas and Helena!
Coming “impromptu” in those places is always a feast for my eyes and ears; traditional dresses (picture 3), speeches, dances (picture 4), music and songs; I had no guide and no explanations, but it was nice to listen and watch; people were kind with the stranger or did not show they noticed his presence; I had a good time in this festive atmosphere, and I liked to walk around also, in the “backyard”, where food and drinks are prepared (picture 5).
Is'n t it a moving family picture?
When you bike on the small track and roads of Samosir, you may have encounters with big black pigs which roam around, totally free ; they look a bit like boars, but are quite shy (with foreigners, like me, or did they detect in some way, I was thinking about sausage or ham when looking at them?), and give way when you arrive on a bike (picture 2). You can see them “grazing” on the roadside (picture 3) , and when you stop in a village, can watch them in the yards of some houses (picture 4); there are even big herds in the vicinity of villages (picture 5).
Another pretty strange situation I met myself in, was on my first money exchanging.
First of all, you gotta bargain on the rate exchange, which was already pretty crazy, but the super crazy thing was that when I did beg him to change some dollars, the owner reply to me.... “ Well yes, no problem, take a sit”...Take a sit?? And what that hell does it mean? You should just change my dollars into Rupias, is not so complicated or long, I tought...but at that time I was not realizing what was waiting for me...
Well, the man came back to me with a Cola, asking again to take a sit, and I did...at the end he spent more then ONE HOUR to change 100box...
And this is not unusual..I fall in the same situation every single time I had to change my money...
So, my suggestion is...if you are in hurry, do not stop to change money...o ahead...
Indoensian are so great!
I have been in Sumatra during the monson season and it was raining definitely sooo much!
Once I was walking troguh Samosir streets, making some shopping on the streets shops then I decided to get back to the hotel.
At a certain point, in the middle of nothing, it starts to rain so hard (D’you know monson rain!!??) and i did not understand where to go, what to do, my hands where full of stuff...d’you know such situation?
Well, it cames a little boy telling me somethign in indonesian and I understood to follow him...he brought me in a small street where his family has a shop where I could chill for a while waiting that the rain stops....and when i was checking the stuff out to buy something, you know something like to say thak you, they watch me and say me that I had not to buy...becasue i was not there for shopping, i was there because it was raining...then we drunk a tea and I left for my own way....
Thnaks young boy!!!
I am italian, and a red fish for me means the small fish that we keep in a small “aquarium” for our kids...when I got to Indonesia and moreover to Lake Toba, I have been visiting the open food market in parapat and there I saw a huge Red Fish (something like 40/50 cm!!!!) on sale!
I couldn’t understand it as I never saw such a big red fish, but then a freind from Samosir told me that is a common thing for them eat a piece of it during the celebration of the marriage....cool common situation!