Medan

Thu, 2012-10-18 14:27
Sunday
14. October 2012
Indonesia’s third-largest city, Medan, is sprawling maze of tree-lined alleyways stuffed with herds of motorcycles and battered old yellow mini-buses. Fired by the world’s demand for natural resources which Indonesia has in abundance the city has grown fast like a colony of bacteria, with just a few old Dutch colonial houses and a small govenors palace constituting it’s centre.
Every man, woman and child seems to be in business, every house holds at least one shop in it’s basement, small dungeons stuffed with furniture, motor cycles, food, clothes. Every building is rusty, stained, cracked, damp, patched, probably as a result of the wetness of the rainy season that waters the land six months in a year, the many earthquakes of the outer Pacific rim or maybe a laissez-faire attitude alien to the German Ordnung. The only buildings in good repair are mosques, churches or Buddhist temples – the great world religions are in active and sometimes vicious competition for the souls of the 100 million souls of this land.
As the city is young, without much of a cultural heritage, our guided city tour covers a very strange mix of places. First a crocodile farm, where for the equivalent of five Euros you can buy a living duck to throw it into the crocodile pond (cultural differences...). Then, in the middle of some fields, a Christian church built in a colourful concrete Indian temple style. The battered old tiny sultans palace with it’s three state rooms, where young local girls are proud to be on a photo with an European stranger. The city mosque and a next new modern Buddhist center financed by Hong-Kong money - the battle for Sumatra's souls is in full swing...

Location

Medan
Indonesia
3° 35' 17.0736" N, 98° 40' 50.3904" E