We decided to stay on Samosir island for one more day. I like it here, especially how quiet it is. We didn't go far either. Over the road for some food and generally just hung around our digs at Bagus Bay. Having a smoke witth the local lad who works here, sorting photos and videos, updating the blog, that kind of thing.
As night came an English bloke I had spoke with briefly a couple of times over the past few days called Simon appeared at our guesthouse, and he was certainy worse for wear
He bought us a couple of beers and after sharing another smoke we sat around chatting until the early hours and I'm not quite sure what to make of the guy, what's true, what's not, it really is hard to tell. As I said, when you first meet him he comes across as very well educated, intelligent and very articulate in how he talks. He is from somewhere down south in England and still has a very strong English accent. He is traveling for around 6 months and had told me how he has done a lot of traveling all over the world in the past 30 years.
I asked what he did back home a few days ago and he gave a fairly muted reply about not doing too much. Some bar/nightclub he had bought in Mallorca then renovated and sold but nothing too specific
From there he went on to talk about how when he was was 16 he followed his brother down to London and got involved with dealing Marijuana as his brother was already established there. He also spoke of his travels after that and how he ended up in the hills of Morocco involved in Hashish production! At this point I was a bit skeptical as you would be thinking that it is just some crazy older drunk guys daft Walter Mitty stories but when he mentioned Morocco and he told me the year I instantly thought of Howard Marks
He went on to talk a lot about his brother and how he was Howard's second in command. How his brother was detained and questioned in India, didn't tell them anything and was then later picked up and arrested in Germany as part of a worldwide operation involving authorities from 8 countries. He spoke with such detail, and you could see him pausing and checking through his memory to make sure he was right on his details. Sometimes correcting himself on dates etc. He spoke a lot about how many people went down that were connected to Howard and that only a few managed to squeeze through the net and were never caught or conviicted. I wasn't really sure what to make of him to be honest, but at times when he spoke to me and looked me in the eye I could easily imagine he was involved in such a lifestyle and such events
So maybe out here in the middle of Sumatra on a small island there is a 57 year old English guy who from what I have seen has no financial worries at all and is living a quiet life and still to this day keeping a low profile. Maybe true maybe not but certainly an interesting conversation and tale non the less.
After the stories were over and another smoke was had we turned in for the night with the intention of catching an early ferry over to Parapat then transport on to Berastagi to check out the volcanos there
The followinng morning we were up fairly early, on our ferry and 20 minutes later were back on the mainland at Parapat. This is the point when the true idiot abroad mantle kicks in. Once on land we checked with a few places how much it would cost to get from Parapat to Berastagi. They were quoting us crazy prices to leave there and then but half the price to go the following morning so we declined and checked out the public bus option. The publlic bus would be a combination of a taxi followed by 3 different buses, then a mini van then eventually one last taxi to get us into town and would work out around the same price as getting the shared taxi the following morning that would only take around 3 hours compared to the 9 hours on the public bus. So we decided we would grab somewhere to stay in Parapat and booked our place in the shared taxi for the next day. As we wandered around Parapat checking places to stay they were also asking for crazy amounts as well, more than we had been paying on the island which just didn't make sense to me
3 Litres of palm wine and a few smokes later and I was crashed out by 10pm. The next day was an early start so maybe not a bad thing I guess. We were up, packed, fed and watered and on the 8:30am ferry with our transport leaving at 10am. We left Parapat heading north of the lake towards the active volcano of Gunung Sinabung which was spewing out ash as recently as a week ago
Failed escape attempt and the Howard Marks story
Friday, November 11, 2016
Tuktuk Sonak, North Sumatra, Indonesia