Star date: September 2003
Sumatra, Indonesia


Hello dear family and friends!





It does not mean to be in a place where there

Is no noise, trouble or hard work.

It means to be in the midst of those things

And to be calm in your heart."



We have found our peaceful place and calm heart in the midst of the confusion of Sumatra, Indonesia. What started out as one of the most tumultuous volcanic explosions on the planet, 100,000  years ago, has created a large “Crater Lake” in the east.  We enjoyed our stay here at The Romlan Inn or 'losman' so much 2 years ago, while on our honeymoon, that we flew to Osaka Japan, then Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and took a 4 hour bus up to Penang.  Going through Penang was partly for the best Indian food outside of India, (at Krishna's - 6 dishes served on banana leaves 60 cents) and in contrast, for some of the best computer and software technology in Asia.  A guesthouse in Chinatown for 2 nights, 18 ringets, $4.  We then took an “express ferry” for 5 hours across to Medan, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.  From there you can catch a small van/bus for 4 hours to Parapat; or the local bus for 6 hours for half the price.  A 10 minute, 50 cent, ferry ride takes you directly to the Romlan Inn, on Tuk Tuk peninsula, in Lake or Danau Toba.

When we stepped off the ferry we felt like we had come home.  Our
clean 2nd floor bungalow with hot showers looks out over beautiful, blue Lake Toba, which is 1700 square miles. The diving board is just waiting for the daily swim and the newborn puppies waiting for a good rub.  This 11 room losmen is run by a friendly German woman and her Indonesian family. The best room in the house and all the great food, carrot juice, and salads we want mounts up to a whopping $8-10 a day
for both of us!!  We are including these prices only so you can see that one’s ideas of expensive travels aren’t the case in Asia.  A cheap ticket (or free mileage plus visa ticket) to Bangkok, an overnight train to Penang ($20) and here you are.  And please do yourself a favor and turn off CNN.  Sumatra is safe and friendly, unlike the fear provoking propaganda circulating about.  I would be more scared for my life traveling through Los Angeles than here!!!  But just a minute…………. if too many people wake up and discover what’s really out in this big, beautiful world of ours, all these great little spots will get crowded.  On second thought just believe what you’re told!!!

The locals are Batak, cannibals only 100 years ago, now as friendly and mellow as possible.  A sale of a bottle of water or a roll of toilet paper at a little stand may be enough business to close shop for the rest of the day! No touts here!  The local fishermen are out in dugout canoes with throw nets hoping to catch small fish for dinner and for sale.  The bougainvillea, palm trees and mangoes are plentiful but the climate is more Mediterranean than the lower elevation Sumatran jungles.  Our friends, the orangutans, are about 8 hours away by van in the heart of the steamy jungle. What a nice place to have a rendezvous with my children Mariah or Kevin sometime.  Just walk outside into the “Discovery Channel”!

Come see the orangutans on Sumatra soon, as the government wants to log their habitat and write them a certain ticket to extinction.  Joseph has written letters to influential wildlife directors worldwide, in collaboration with local Muslim families, hoping for input and support, but it seems corruption may win once again.  Still we should never give up.

So dear ones, we are in a 'rush' to get out for our daily 3 mile hike, then back to our respective good books and computer programs.  We also have a couple of chapters read to us nightly by the computer (download ReadPlease free).  Joseph downloaded over 45,000 books and we figured that we will have to live to approximately 200 years old to learn a fraction of what his collection has to offer.


Keep Learning!!  Keep Smiling!!  Look for that place of peace in your heart!! 


Keep in Touch!!!   


Love, xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph




Travel notes

Take a plane over to Medan from Kuala Lumpur or Penang for almost the same price as the boat ride.  Check out .

$1 U.S. = 8000 rupiah Indonesian









View from the restaurant, Romlan Inn.


The boat circles the peninsula and one simply jumps on and off at will.


Anyone for a morning swim?  Joseph diving in the lake
50 feet in front of our balcony.


Batak villagers and houses of Lake Toba.


Traditional Batak dress.


Home Sweet Home,  Romlan Inn


Puppies galore.


Our friend's house by the lake



Back to Homepage