Me, Sinabung, and A German Guy



September 29th 2017

So today i'm going with Jonas to north Sumatera, Berastagi to be more specific . He is a guy from Karlsruhe, Deutschland. We are going by airplane ( and fortunately i got funded by my supervisor ) to Kualanamu airport. And now i'm writing this text while im flying. We shared so many things about our country, college, experiences, etc.

flying above sumatera

The most memorable things are about fashion here and there, temperature, and his job there. Fun fact that he arrived at Bandung still wearing shorts and he went directly to the dean office. Later that he figured it out that it is not okay to wear shorts in campus. He told me that in Germany ( i prefer to call it Deutschland ), people are allowed to wear shorts and even sandals, i should go there because i don't like wearing shoes. Then he said the women here and there are so different, here, we find the women are well wrapped fashion, there, you can guess. And the temperature, i said that Bandung is cold, then he laughed so hard. He said "if i can wear shorts here, i would do it everytime". because Bandung is the highest city in Indonesia, then it must be cold, but not enough for him. And about his job, he surveyed with many methods before, i.e geoelectric for mapping ground water and karst, radar, EM,and magnetic for detection waste and contaminated water. It was a well paid job, therefore he could travel along the several countries of Europe. I'm really jealous of him, i wish there will be many surveying jobs here.

medan's bad weather

So we arrived at kualanamu airport,and then there was a guy from PVMBG ( volcano survey institute) who picked us up. He is a nice guy, we have a nice chit chat, till we got bored and i fell asleep. We traveled trough medan, deli serdang, pancur batu, sibolangit, then berastagi, actually the VSI post is not at berastagi, it is at kabanjahe. Well then he dropped us at the post and then we met mas Deri and two other senior observers. We introduced ourselves, they expected us to come here. Because mr. Hendra told them before, but they didn’t have any clue what is our purpose here. So we explain that we need to collect fresh ash samples from sinabung eruption. But then he explained that it is almost impossible because it is raining season so the ash is contaminated with meteoric water. But he would give us fresh sample from 2016, and then the seniors explained that we could tackle the problem by heating up the ash to banish the water content.

The next problem is “ could we do it tomorrow?”.

The answer is yes because they want to measure the deformation of lava dome using EDM, so they can accompany us to fulfill our goal.

The next thing is “can we measure the grain size here?” because that was our main goal. The answer is no because the post is just for observing. We have to do it in Bandung they said.

The next problem is we already rent a room, they have a free room actually. What a waste of 400k. so we choose staying at hotel, the next thing is how do we go to the post. It is simply by walking about 500 m from the hotel and then take an angkot and take a stop at simpang empat and walk again.

So all the problems were cleared, then the guy who picked us up from the airport took us to the hotel, and then he charged us 500k! for both of us in 100 km, 500k is a very expensive price. We paid him 450k. then i called mr.Hendra and asked “ is it normal price” and he said yes. And i asked

hotel mexico and resto

“could we measure the grain size at bandung?” he said no, you should send it to jogja. But jonas said that mr Hendra said we could do it at bandung. What an inconsistent man.

By the night i searched every possibilities how to go from Berastagi to the airport. The best solution was to rent car+driver to take us, it was cheap 100k each. The second solution was not good enough, although it is cheap 40k each, the bus will always stop (ngetem ), you know why.

And then while i was eating sate padang he started to share something about indonesia. That the girls were attracted to ask a photo with him, that he saw a man using full jacket running at saraga which he think it is stupid, that German people usually drink more than 1 liter of beer and so many other things. Yeah it was a good sharing session

October 30th 2017

So my alarm startled Jonas, he woke up and get ready, meanwhile i was taking shower. Last night the receptionist told us there will be breakfast at 7. But Jonas was upset because we had to wait 15 minutes, he said everything in Germany is on time, but welcome to Indonesia.

We went to Sinabung post by walking about 500 m to “tugu kol” and then taking angkot to Kabanjahe, we had to pay 5k each and stop at “simpang empat”. Then we walked several hundred meters and that is it.

The bulding is a normal house with two floors and the first floor is full of posters about Sinabung. The stair wall is also filled with some pictures of it. And the second floor is the main room. It is filled with several computers, analog seismogram, super expensive camera (jonas said), and other packed instruments. The rooftop is filed with gps, telemetry stuff, very big radar, and stuff to collect ash, unfortunately it was filled by water

a. picture of sinabung b.analog seismogram c.seismogram d. place to collect ash e. jonas while shooting the mount

We went by car with Deri, Mita, Jonas, and i forget the name of the girl... we drove across Sukanalu and Sigarang-sigarang, these both villages are in the red zone. Unfortunately it is raining season, so we had to take the samples from abandoned school and graveyard ( even the graveyard has better appearance than my room.. ). The first location was the abandoned school. We took the samples inside a classroom because it was not wet, while the others is measuring the lava dome growth. We took the sample from the books and the bookshelf. The ash is light brown so i am not sure either it is volcanic ash or dust. the EDM measurement was not success because there were clouds that covered Sinabung, so they did not see the reflector. The second location is on someone’s graveyard. It was my first experience trespassing into a graveyard. But people here has so many graveyards, and they look nice, they have roof too. So we took the ash, but still we are not sure because the color is the same with the first.

a. the school b. the classroom c. me and jonas d. ash

So we went back, and we found and outcrop of Toba eruption, which erupted 70000 years ago, of course i took some of it for my friends.

a. toba's outcrop b. toba's tephra

Because we are not sure about the sample that we took, we asked Deri the sample that he has, it was taken on 2016, and the color is dark grey, it is more convincing. And then Jonas asked for few questions and requested data of sinabung. And then we enjoyed the last view of sinabung on the balcony.

“let’s go to the hotel” i said

“no need to hurry”


“because i do not know when will i come here again. It is easy for you to go here, maybe you only need 2 millions, but i need 20 millions to do the same thing” he said

welcome to the Karo highland, where the graveyard is better than my room...

So we went back and get some rest.

At 2.30 PM jonas woke because we wanted to go to hot spring. So the receptionist helped us finding the right angkot. She said it only took 15 minutes but it is wrong because the angkot’s route is unique.

We arrived at Karona hot spring, it is cheap, you only need to pay 8k each. The water is nice, i think it is not saturated with sulfur, not like that one in Ciater. And the view is great, we can see rainforest of berastagi is surrounding us, and there is PLTA too. Unfortunately, my phone was off, i can’t took the fascinating view.

We stayed there until 7 PM, there was a nice guy, he is a guide for tourists he shared many things especially to jonas, about his experiences, his ideas, his works, and his clients. He has very broken English but he tried and jonas understand that. It is better than people who mock broken English speaker.

Then we finished relaxing, we wait for angkot but there was only one, and it was full. Then 30 minutes later, an angkot had appeared, it can only took us to the main road, but the rest, we need to take minibus. The driver was nice that he helped us to stop a minibus. So we paid him 5k each. And then the super narrow minibus 5k each. And then here i am, writing this story.

october 1st 2017

I woke up earlier than jonas so i woke him up. Then i checked the watch. It qas already 6.30. we hurried up because the travel at 7. When i finished, i ordered the breakfast, i was shocked that the main door of the hotel was still closed. We ate our food around 6.50. the receptionist revealed that our time zone is slightly different between bandung and berastagi, it is 12 minutes. Then the driver came. I thought we were the only passengers, there were two other people, they are old couple. The lady seems like 60 but it is actually 73. She is very nice and good. We drove about 3 hours and arrived at kualanamu airport at 10.

mount sibayak