I have been informed that my posts are too long, so I'll try my hand at an abridged version of the events...
Lake Toba, well, it's a big lake. It's nice, the surroundings are similar Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with more jungle-like plants. The island in the middle was also cool but it seemed the locals were fond of the money that tourism brings, but not so fond of the tourists themselves. I felt like I was looked at as A) a walking bank, and B) possibly gay for not yet being married at 23!
I met a couple interesting people but the locals were pretty reserved and constantly searching for opportunities to line their pockets. Other than that it was pretty expensive, at least substantially more than staying at somebody's house for free and only paying for 2 meals a day at about $1 each. After 2 days and 3 nights I decided to bail and fly to Jakarta.
I showed up at the Medan airport at about noon, expecting to have no problem getting a cheap - less than $50 - flight to Jakarta sometime later in the day. When I found that the cheapest ones were more on the order of $150 for that day I decided to go back to my Couchsurfing host for a couple nights and fly to Jakarta today (Thursday, Thanksgiving for all of you at home) for a reasonable $52.
I made it to Java, met with my host, and have my own room and bed, crazy! I think this may yet be the best CS experience I've had, although Penang was pretty good and I think the upcoming time in Bali will be tough to top. Tomorrow I'm going to...a giant mosque? A second-hand market (whatever that means in a country where things are used until they are useless then tossed in the river to be disposed of, I'm not sure?) And maybe a museum or two, who knows?! So many things to do, so little time!
I'm also going to count how many times I hear "Hello, Mr!" as it seems to be about the only line that kids are taught in their English classes here. At first it was obnoxious, but now I just laugh and say hello back, then play a game where I engage them in conversations of absolute fiction on my part, to make it more interesting for all of us!
Pictures tomorrow? Perhaps yes! At least I hope so...I have so many to upload!