Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Long Road to Takengon

Hi everyone! I must have lots of that jet-lag stuff, because I have been too tired to finish my last post from the Aceh trip until tonight. Here it is!

Right after Kristin, Jocelyn, and Ahmady got back from their trip to see the road, Kristin told me to be ready for a LONG drive the next day. Boy, she wasn't kidding! Ahmady drove for more than eight hours to take us to a place called Ronga Ronga.

It was REALLY HOT outside and Kristin told me I needed to drink lots of water to stay cool. I didn't have any toys to play with in the van, so I spent most of the trip looking out the window to see what animals might be along the road. I wasn't disappointed. The day before we had to stop for monkeys in the road. On this trip, Ahmady had to stop several times for cows in the road!

After three LONG hours in the van, Ahmady stopped at a Mosque to pray. I thought this was very strange. Kristin told me not to worry. She says that many Muslims pray up to 5 times a day. I had no idea!

Ahmady parked the van under a tree just inside the gates of the Mosque. When I looked out the window, there were three cows right next to the car! I asked Kristin if I could take a closer look at the cows. I thought they would run away when Kristin got out of the car, but they didn't move. Can you believe it?

After our short break at the Mosque, Ahmady drove for a few more hours before stopping for lunch in a place called Bireuen. We didn't stay long. That's because Ahmady said it would take at least another hour to "climb the mountain." I didn't pack shoes to climb a mountain! Kristin must have seen the look on my face because she told me that we were taking the van on a road that would take us to the towards the top of a tall mountain. Whew! I thought I was going to have to climb a mountain on my own for a second!

The drive up the mountain was really neat. The road was very narrow and it had lots of twists and turns. It was almost like a roller coaster ride, except Ahmady had to drive very slow to make sure he didn't hit anything on the curves in the road (like a cow or a big truck).

FINALLY, we got to a small village called Ronga Ronga. Kristin and Jocelyn were there to meet a man named Joni. He was helping to build a new outdoor market for the town. Kristin says the United States is helping to pay for the new market.

I didn't think the market was all that special. It sure doesn't look like a place I would want to shop. But Kristin says the market will be much better than the small wooden stands people in Ronga Ronga use to sell fish and other food.

Kristin and Jocelyn found Joni near the market and decided to follow him to his house. Kristin told me that Joni wanted to show her his chili farm. Well I wanted to see the chili farm. I like to eat chili when it is cold outside.

It turns out that Joni isn't growing bowls of chili. He's growing chili peppers. Kristin says they are HOT peppers. I didn't want to try the peppers, so I am going to have to trust her on that.

I still wasn't exactly sure why Kristin wanted to see the chili farm. Kristin told me the farm was really important. That's because there was a war in Aceh when the tsunami happened. Joni used to fight in the war. Kristin says Joni doesn't want to fight anymore. He wants to be a farmer. I think this is a good thing! Here's Joni at his farm.

It was really dark outside when we left Ronga Ronga. It took us another hour to get to a place called Takengon. It is a good thing Ahmady is a good driver. It was dark and foggy outside and I couldn't see the road very well. And, the road was really narrow. More than once I thought a car or truck was going to hit Ahmady's van. I told Kristin that I was worried she was going to end up flat like me! Kristin told me not to worry. She also told me to close my eyes if I got scared. Shhh..don't tell Kristin, but I kept my eyes closed most of the way to Takengon.

I was very tired when we got to Takengon, so I didn't pay close attention to the hotel that Kristin, Jocelyn and Ahmady stayed at. Kristin told me the next morning that she was glad I slept most of the time we were at the hotel. She says the hotel was not very nice. There were lots of roaches and little lizards running around. I'm not afraid of roaches and lizards, but I don't think Kristin likes them.

There is a big lake in Takengon. It is called Laut Tawar. It is very big. I wanted to go swimming, but Kristin said we didn't have time. :(

Kristin told me we didn't have time because we were going back to Banda Aceh. Yuck! That meant I was going to have to sit in the van for the ENTIRE day! Kristin told me she also wasn't all that excited about being in the van all day long. But she said if we were really lucky, we would get to see monkeys along the road.

Kristin was right! We did see lots of monkeys on the road. I even got to see baby monkeys!
Kristin took lots of cool pictures of the monkeys we saw along the road. Here are my favorite ones.

I'm sure glad we saw lots of monkeys on the trip back to Banda Aceh! I love monkeys!

Well that's the last post from Aceh. I am still very tired from the trip. Kristin says it might take me an entire week to get over that jet-lag stuff. Man! I can't wait until the jet-lag is gone. It sure makes me sleepy all of the time!

Until my next adventure....bye!