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The Lake Toba rowing regatta
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DRIVE Marine Services
BEVERLY HILLS NSW
02 9533 5470
0412 366 998
with Captain Chaos
6 fish fillets
1 teaspoon each of chopped garlic, ginger
4 spring onions sliced
4 stalks of lemon grass finely sliced
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sweet soy
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan; add the onions,
garlic, chilli and lemon grass cook for 2
to 3 minutes; then add the fish cook for
6 minutes. Remove the fish and into the
pan add the rest of the ingredients cook
4 minutes. Pour over the fillets and serve
Iwas travelling up the
coast of Sumatra and had
stopped off to check out
the local cuisine and have a
few shots of homemade fire
water, as rum is impossible
to come by. I got talking to
some locals and before long
we were best friends. They
were heading out to Lake
Toba for a rowing regatta. I
wondered where the rowing
shells came from because I assumed it
would be like the GPS rowing regatta.
the town on the shore of Lake Toba? " I
inquired thinking I might catch a bus and
have a look.
"The bus takes all day to get there, if
it doesn't break down or run off the side
of the mountains."
I though a day being scared out of
my wits in an overcrowded bus with bad
brakes and terrible springs was more than
I reckoned a regatta was worth.
"Do you want to come with us? Tiki is
on her own so you can ride pillion. Her
bike's that big one she is leaning against."
I looked over at the small dark-haired,
slim, jean-clad girl and thought the idea
of being pillion behind her far outranked
the bus ride.
"Great! What time are you heading
Tiki came over. "Chaos, all you need
is an overnight pack and a warm jacket.
We'll be staying with friends and they
have blankets. I will pick you up here at
first light. OK!"
We took off in the morning and literally
flew up this narrow windy potholed terror
mountain. I thought Tiki would take it easy
but no, she only had one speed and that
wasflat out. We nearly had head-ons with
trucks and buses so many times that I lost
count. Anyway I couldn't see as I had my
eyes shut most of the trip.
The next morning, stiff and sore, I
joined the throng of spectators on the
shore of Lake Toba. The boats they were
going to race weren't rowing shells, they
were canoes ... and very large ones. I found
my friends and they got me on one of the
Like any event in Indonesia it took a
long while to load the four canoes with 20
or so paddlers and a drummer in the bow.
Before they could race, the paddlers had to
hold up their paddles to make sure all the
canoes had the same amount of people
on board. There was a lot of gambling in
the crowd and people were getting excited.
When the race was away they really took
off. There seemed to be a lot of arguing
about who came first.
I was worried that the overcrowded
ferry would capsize so I made sure I was on
the outside. Then it happened. Somebody
yelled out something and the next thing
people were jumping over the side.
but the water was over the heads of some
of the women. I helped the ones next to
me to get into shallower water. It seemed
the cause was a cigarette down in the bilge
that fell in some old rags. These produced
a huge cloud of black smoke, but by the
time we had waded ashore the fire had
been put out.
My friends had a BBQ or should I say a
fire with a sheet of tin lying over hot coals.
They had bought a lot of lake fish that
looked to me like goldfish. But the sauce
was great. I caught the night bus home; it
helped with the fear as it was pitch black
outside so I couldn't see anything.
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