The directors of the Festival Danau Toba expected us, apparently. So one decision was made for me. Thankfully. From Tiga Ras, on that dark, dark first night, we crossed Lake Toba to Tuktuk. We sought the Festival Directors unsuccessfully (it turns out they are in the home that Bintang Sitompul had reserved for us, but had had to cancel because it had been ‘booked for the festival! Small world!) We ended up in Tabo Cottages for the night and it felt like a homecoming. We would be assured of a good time and a pleasant night! I enjoyed chatting with the owner, Annette Horschman, and getting the scoop about this, that and the other. I was thankful to sleep on a nice soft bed instead of the cold, hard floor of the Boat Budaya.
I heard the rain in the night and it was grey and bleak when I got up. “What is the weather like these days” I asked Annette. “Horrible since the beginning of the month,” was her immediate answer. The rainy, windy season has begun. I started to make calculations to postpone our journey until May. A two-week boat ride in the rain strikes me as not so very pleasant.
But then the magic started to happen. It was Nashir. “We have a big boat, why not take full advantage of it? Design the interior as a textile exhibition. Set it up so that we can show the film in the boat. Send the vehicle back home to reduce expenses. Buy a mattress, so Sandra doesn’t have to stay in hotels…”
I remembered Annette’s story about the huge group reservation that had half cancelled at the last minute while she had purchased many new mattresses. I asked her if we could borrow, rent or have her caste-offs and she was immediately willing. We are now travelling with two bed mattresses and 6 camping mattresses in addition to our mats. We have the beginnings of a cozy Boat Budaya.
Mas Nashir has just emerged from the bowels of the boat shrouded in a tattered old mat and wearing a mask. Suddenly the boat is a stage! We are all excited and snapping pictures. We are on our way to Pusuk Buhit, the mountain that represents the origins of Batak culture. We will meet the vehicle there and do our first Pulang Kampung thing in the village where Ompu Sabar and Ompu Erwin live. I can hardly wait to introduce Lasma and Febrina to these former weavers and have them see their reaction to our film.