Sunday, July 31, 2016

Part Two - Chapter Five -

Place: Lake Maninjau (Sumatra)
Time: August 1994


Our tour continued, the days in Kersiktuo had been fantastic but it thrilled us to see more places. The following day after our tour to the volcano, we decided to leave the place and to go further North. Holger and Ruth wanted to stay some days in Padang to enjoy the luxury of civilization again. Something attracted me to Lake Maninjau that could not wait. I don't know what it was but I felt the urge to go there quickly. Maybe it was that I was keen for a swim. Maybe something else, I cannot clearly remember. However, I did not want to go to spend much time at a place with many people particularly tourists. 
 We had developed some immunity against the tortures of local bus rides. It was some kind of logical that the buses were overcrowded if there was only one bus into each direction a day. Nothing bothered us because we wanted to go back on the road again and if we had not found any fun in it why would we have come in the first instance? I had developed my own strategy for bus rides. I would close down my senses and be only in my mind. I would just neglect my physical presence. Then it even did not matter anymore how chaotic it was in such a bus. The most important thing was just to get sometime a place to sit to relax the legs. I could not see every single part of the country. It was just too large and the journeys too long. There is a lot of beauty on Sumatra. There are too many forests to appreciate every tree. There are too many mountains to watch every single peak passing by.  I usually fell into a status close to meditation. My brain had got used to filter all the overwhelming impressions and only pick the outstanding ones to remember. Perceptions of nature became normal, people became the sensations of change. The passengers in the bus representing the different tribes became for me the center of these tours. They made it interesting and no longer the sights outside of the window. They made me even forget that I had to travel sometimes for more than half the day.

Particularly, what started to disturb me increasingly was the sight of illegal deforestation when I looked out of the window. It was unbelievable that there was a national park and the people had nothing better to do trying to expand their farmland by igniting fires just close to its border. There was even an understandable part in it. Indonesians needed more space to expand their too large population. The loss of nature was not a primary danger for them. Their children needed to eat and they needed more money. Therefor, they could not be bothered by demands of indigenous animals or plants. It was a pity but yeah, thanks religion and modernization, that is what you have done to this beautiful planet all over again. I saw these fires on my journey nearly every day and it made me sad to see nature's suffering caused by us humans.
I expected the journey from Kersiktuo to Padang to be one of these ordinary tours. However, this trip was highlighted by two completely different events. The bus was traveling through the mountainous landscape and trying its best to maneuver the corners. It groaned over old moldy wooden bridges. Sometimes, we had the feeling they would not keep the weight. Sometimes, we edged on boulders or the bus went for seconds air-bound. The driver was clearly not able to get the ideal line for his driving. It was in the rainy season and the street was slippery. It was not of a surprise that the bus slid a couple of times through the bushes at the sides. Suddenly, the driver jumped into a full break. The standing passengers were thrown to the front. Somehow, it was nearly a wonder, nobody was ejected through the front window. The bus came to a full halt under squeaking breaks. I looked out of the window and suddenly saw the reason for this crazy move. One of the last Sumatran tigers made its way into the undergrowth.  I was very lucky that I saw this majestic animal. There were only recorded six of its kind in the entire Kerinci area. Already at this moment the tour had become something special.
The second event was even more dramatically and I am happy until today that there did not happen more. The bus had come finally out of the windy mountains. We had already sight of the next valley. This must have brought some kind of mutation upon the bus driver. He probably thought to be a formula one driver. Maybe, he wanted  to impress his foreign passengers, he did not have to. The attitude of Indonesian men is trying to impress. They always want to display in an exaggerated manner their masculinity. I swear that this driver smiled broadly towards us before he sped up his vehicle. He did not even waste time to make full usage of his clutch. The bus thundered down the hill with an enormously speed. Well, somehow one of his memories must have been blocked. Unanticipated he quickly jammed into his brakes as the bus slid dangerously close to the edge. He had overlooked a narrow hairpin corner. The bus just took it on two wheels. Nice stunt, mate! Was not necessary but you think you are, James Bond? Then the bus crashed down onto its four wheels again. A deafening sound came from the back. The bus did not shift back into balance. It hang clearly down at the back axis. The Indonesia passengers were screaming in fear. I looked at Holger who was grinning like he was just drifting away in evil thoughts. 
'He fucked up the bus.' was the only calm remark of the Belgian. It was the best and most suitable comment about this situation.
I looked out of the front window. Fortunately, we were now on a straight part of the street. Our vehicle was not able to use the brakes fully. The still sharp gradient of the street made it impossible to bring it to a full stop. It was lurching downhill. Only after a couple of hundred meters the bus was slowing down. But, what did the driver do now? Spotting that he was only a few hundred meters away from the next village, he did not stop. The bus had to be tortured until the first houses of the settlement. Well, fine with me. Now I had not only heard of many accidents on Sumatra, I had come close to the experience seeing them happen!


My journey was delayed by this event. The bus was beyond quick repair. We had to wait for a new bus for a few hours. I was not able to continue my journey further than Padang. I had to stay over night. Another city that I did not like. I wanted to go into nature. However, better beng delayed than being finished.

On the following day my journey could continue into the next adventure,at a spiritual place. I felt already strangely connected to Maninjau as I arrived. I felt like I had been at that place before. It was just like I didn't know that place but I felt familiar with the setting. The past had caught up with me again. This was part of the crazy semi-world. I had experienced it the previous year in Thailand, particularly in Chiang Mai and on Koh Phangan. It had not much in common with both places. Every other person would have not seen any connection. It was different for me. I felt instantly that this would become one of my most important stops in Asia. It was faith that I had always to travel to extraordinary mystical places to come closer with myself into a close connection.
I hope this place stays off the beaten path, it can drive people insane. A few components are playing their part to achieve this effect, the people, the nature and its heritage. It is a dangerous place, still a fascinating one.

The Minangkabau People are not very hospitable. Actually, they have a pretty bad reputation among other Indonesians. 
 'They are not honest people. They smile at you and you think that they are friendly. But they think only of making profit. Then they convince you to make business. As soon you have signed the contract comes a bad awakening. Unfortunately for you, a man signed the contract. They will tell you that in their culture the signature of a man does not count for anything. The woman has to sign. You have no female signature , you have no contract.'
This is how they were explained to me by the Karo Batak Camorra who I met there. I had learned on my journeys to respect the Batak most and should see that he was right. 

The Batak are straightforward people even if they can be dangerous, just don't fuck with them. If you have a Karo Batak as your friend, then he stays all your life your friend. He is very loyal to you and your family. If you have them as your enemy then you better run for your life. These people were for a long time the core of the Indonesian Black Ops. They are very strong people. In 1993, police officers offended some Batak people and were beaten up by them. The Indonesian government decided that the Batak needed to be punished. So, they sent a few police officers into that village to find the guilty people. The villagers kept together in strong loyalty. They did not hand over the guilty people and told the police to disappear again. The officers did not listen but tried to get with violence the desired results. After a few more warnings of the villagers, the only thing that arrived back in Jakarta were the heads of the police officers separated from their bodies. In the following years the Batak became increasingly victimised by the Indonesian government through the Transmigrasi policy. This meant, thousands of them had to leave their region to live in other parts of Indonesia. They had become too strong and too independently thinking for the Suharto government. The Batak lost their leading positions in the Indonesian army and some of them had since then been on the run.  

Camorra was one of the people that had left their village and lived in hiding, it was good to have him as a friend. However, I first thought that the Batak had prejudices against the local people with his assessment. Then, I met Nogat. He was a former tennis professional and I was surprised to meet such a public figure. He was from Croatia and had come to Indonesia because of the Civil War in his country. I knew him from some tournament reports and photographs and he showed me even pictures with him in a tank. His story seemed believable. He had witnessed many people in his family and from his friends die in the war. He had enough of all the violence and  taken his chances. He had come to Indonesia to find peace. His plan was to build a business and made a contract with a man about some property. The site had been nice, directly at the lake. The perfect location for a guesthouse. Then, he wanted to enlist the property under his name at the public magistrate. There, he was told that the signature of a Minangkabau man was not valid and the woman needed to sign. You can call him stupid, but he was far from that. He had paid for the property. Could he possibly expect, coming from a western country, that in an Islamic country existed such kind of rules? He had lost most of his savings. There were slim chances to fight the opposite party with his lawyer. Camorra was not only his friend but his body guard. The Karo Batak, told me that Nogat's life had been threatened a few times already. This, the Batak saw as a good sign. Otherwise the other party would have had no need to actually trying to scare the Croatian. Another option, Camorra told me, was to marry one of the daughters of the owner. But, as faith wanted, all three daughters were extremely ugly. Then again, in the case of marriage, he would loose everything of his possessions. Minangkabau law stated that women had the right to claim whatever they wanted from the man. Now, that looked really wicked. In such a situation Nogat relied a lot on Camorra and he was happy to have him on his side.
I was already interested how things would develop at this place, but it was actually the lake that kept me in his spell. The landscape around the lake was beautiful and the climate was pleasant. Directly on arrival I was fascinated by the body of water and felt it had its own life, like a great force of energy. It was most of the times covered with dense fog and then the other shore could hardly be spotted.This combination of strange people and mystical nature should keep me at this place more than two weeks.


It is impossible to understand the area and people around Lake Maninjau without knowing the cultural setting. The Minangkabau are nowadays declared as Muslims. Actually, they have one stronger cultural drive. This is the connection to animism. It includes the belief of a soul that is independent from the body. This soul can disappear or take another form. So, the setting for this place was rather animistic which is very much connected with black magic.

Some belief systems of indigenous people all over the world seem to share some similarities. There are parts in many cultures that have shockingly similar components distributed even throughout different continents. In Maninjau, there were some of these concepts still alive such as belief in the evil sight and voodoo.

We are in nowadays cultural world dominated by science, education and religion all in the best interest to make us function in the best interest of main society. We have distanced from original belief systems and declare unproven events as hocuspocus. Partly we have closed our eyes and minds to anything that is mystical and call them tricks. However, if we open up again we can discover that there is more than only the material world. We have just to keep our distance to Hollywood movies, even if entertaining, and keep a skeptism to mass media than there is much more to real life. One of these connections is our spirit. It has never really been discovered and so we could just sometimes listen to people who are still closer to nature. These are actually our roots as science only explains the truth of life but never creates an own. There is nothing wrong in listening to people that culturally are much closer to mystic such as the people in Maninjau. 

The people around Maninjau believe in semangat which concerns a restless soul. It is based on the idea that everybody has two souls. These are the real soul and the so called semangat. It exists without the presence of a real thinking, feeling and experiencing form. The semangat is particularly connected with some parts of the body that need special care such as hair and nails. If these were thrown carelessly away and an evil person got hold of them then this person could cause harm to the body of the previous owner of these hair or nails. The Minangkabau still have shaman to cure people who have infected this part of the self. Camorra warned us to take care that we did not cut our hair or nails without taking care of them. He was pretty shocked as he saw me one morning clipping my fingernails directly above the lake. 
'Don't do this. The lake is full of evil forces'
'Ah rubbish mate, it is a lake not a person.'
'Then, explain me why boats disappear in these fogs above the water and are never seen again.'
I did not know at this time, that Minangkabau as well as Batak see certain places as locations where spirits reside. Particularly, it was true, in my time that I stayed at the lake two boats really disappeared out of view and I could not spot them anymore even that I watched the waters for hours. There could have been something true about his ideas but as I was stoned most of the times, I just blamed it on the grass. While we we still talking about spirits, Nogat came towards us
'Scaring again Europeans with your folk tales, mate?' he directed towards his friend.
'Yes, the same as I told you before you went to the registration of you property not to get a haircut only to look more handsome.'
'Nonsense, that was me being stupid and has nothing to do with your restless soul theory.'
Despite Nogat's denial, could there be some connection with the semangat and his failure?

Indonesians are widely known as Muslims but I doubt that the main part of the archipelago is free from any animism. I have come to the conclusion that Indonesia is still very close connected with the world of spirits. Probably even in the capital city Jakarta. So, it should not be of any surprise if my further discoveries and conclusions were not only tainted and created by too high drug consume or alcohol abuse. But you never know, maybe I am writing only about some strange fantasies of my rotten mind. However, it showed me that animism was as strong around Maninjau than centuries ago.


The area around Lake Maninjau was not the same at day and night. During the day it was peaceful, calm and laid back. In the evening and night some strange magic was spreading out. I perceived it mainly coming from the lake. I saw many people wearing amulets to protect their soul against evil spirits. Others had Sanskrit signs placed at the entrances of their houses.  It was too eerie, too strange, writing now about it makes me wonder if it was only a trip or a dream.

The lake had a unworldly fascination. There was a mystic energy coming from it. You almost could hear it whispering 'Come closer, I am good for you, have a swim, dive into me.' There were rumours about fishermen gone missing and tourists disappearing without a trace. There were stories about a sea dragon in the lake capturing harmless swimmers. This was rather a folk tale, rather an amusing part of it. There is no Nessie and there was no sea dragon here, fact! However, the dense fog about it in the morning gave it a very mystical look. Sometimes, the lake was so densely covered by morning mist that it came fully only around lunchtime into sight. On my first day here, I had already experienced some strange feeling as if the lake was telling me 'Stay here, find your faith. I am the truth you have been looking for in your life.' I was definitely slowly going insane.  It was like that an invisible beam was sent from the lake into every cell of my body.  With progressing days I felt how I got closer connected and tighter tangled into its spiritual web. I seemed no longer being able to have clear thoughts. What do I say? Thinking did not even matter to me anymore. In these days there were a lot of thunderstorms. The body of water was enlightened by the flashes breaking into it. At every hit, I shivered and felt the entanglement of my soul. I started to question my own ideas. My beliefs did not count anymore. I became a part, like a pawn, of this spectacle of magic. The thunder in the mountains became music to my ears. The rhythm of an eerie music bummed into my membranes. It was beautiful but scary as well. It played the rhythm of destruction. The dissolution of the old social chains of social structure and prejudices. I felt becoming free from old norms. These rules that restricted us were thrown away, exchanged against the understanding being only a simple small part of matter in the gigantic universe. The regulations that kept us away from the mystic sides of our planet were broken down. Barriers that not protected us but restricted us from seeing the ancient truth. My entire life time, I had the desire to experience what was the real truth. This place drove me insanely close to it. In these days I developed an extremely close understanding about the core and basics of life. I became visionary. Through my deep questioning of all that we had been taught, I processed to another mental state. I suddenly understood that we would be only living in the NOW. The past did not count that much. The future was screwed anyhow, so why to worry about it. One of the parts drove a deep rift between me and my life back in Germany. I knew that Europe was doomed. People there would not change anything in the coming years. They were mindless slaves of the system. I understood that people had lost there the real track of life. Television and other media had poisoned the brains. If I had to go there again it would feel too much like mental prison. On the other side I was far from ready leaving all the structures. I was just used to the comfortable mind fogging structures too much.All this was caused by the lake, particularly sitting at its shore in the nighttime.

It fit into this setting that I started to perceive all kinds of animals more intense, some of them not directly normal tho. The depressive climate brought flies as well and they seemed to be the omen of disaster. These little annoying pests that could carry any sickness with them. Sitting down on the food, pestling us by swarming around our bodies. Even keeping extremely clean did not help. They seemed to have the mission to just being nuisances. Other animals started to behave strange. The cats got amazingly affectionate. A couple of days before they had tried not to get close to people. Now, these animals showed very much a surprising fondness of people. They tried to find the last piece of remaining love of this planet. They started now even to follow into the rooms so that Camorra remarked one time 'Every person only one cat. You can be happy tho. They would not come into the near of somebody who is doomed to die soon. So, we have to be still very alive, mate.' 
With progressing time even this became normal, only a part of the environment. Maybe it were not the animals behaving strangely but myself becoming a part of nature again.

Camorra seemed to be in the middle of all these strange circumstances the most bizarre person. I believed that he was the son of a shaman and that his path would lead one day deep into the occult. Every time that there was a thunderstorm, he stood at the wall to the lake. He spread his arms wide over it. Every thunderstroke he accompanied by dashing movements over the surface. He must have gotten somehow a beat out of it. Then again, he was playing jazz on his guitar which was just the opposite of this madness,even he needed balance. It was a lovely sound. He was composing out of the elements. Then he played me some of his self-composed songs and tried to explain.
'Music is life. It is the arrangement of all the forces around us. The elements give us balance. There is destruction but there is love. If we find the right balance in our life then it will be good. If we neglect one side it will be bad. We have to embrace everything. You know, I told you I am the son of a shaman. When I go back to my people I will take my father's position. I am trying to find balance with nature. This lake has a lot of power, we have to treat it with highest respect.'
European thinking should have told me that the good guy had gone nuts. On the other hand I had been too long in Indonesia. I started to question my own beliefs. A man connected with the forces of nature seemed to be much more real than anybody who had committed his heart to modern world and science.

We Europeans had developed us too far away from our roots. We should not criticize the indigenous people of this world. We had closed with the time more and more doors behind us which had connected us to nature. Our focus had become to explore more technologies and called it civilization. I was reminded of words of the Dalai Lama. He had spoken about the West. It was materialistically developed but had no heart anymore. The East, Asia, had the heart but would not look for materialistic wealth. He already indicated in 1991, that this would change with the years. So, how could we understand South East Asian people, their culture, heritage and beliefs? We, Westerners, would have always an arrogance to doubt unknown occurrences. We trusted only so called facts which were explained by science. Most people with an academic background however knew that science was only operating in the best interest of the less than 5% powerful people. Here I was now being confronted with the original thought. I looked the origins of mankind into the eyes. We had developed away from nature. How should we understand rites and rituals of the last few original people on this planet? Europe had lost its track away from nature and there did not seem to be a chance of a return.

The environment around the lake created a ideal setting to make me understand that there was really truth in a lot of the animistic rituals and beliefs. Strange stories, usually told by the great storyteller Camorra became plausible for me. I somehow had put the European skepticism away and listened open minded. In these surroundings I listened, wondered but believed some stories that I doubt now back at my desk. Additionally, some things happened so crazy that I ask myself under which drugs I was as I visited Indonesia. Most of it was connected with the belief system of the indigenous people, soe things related to black magic.

Through his stories, Camorra put even some light on events that I had witnessed but not had not known previously what they meant. Most of his tales were personal experiences, some were reported to him. He told us about his years as a  tour guide as he had lead tourists around his village for a few years. He explained that it was always good to be prepared for the journey into jungle. Well, not only with the equipment. He indicated that it was always necessary to bring sacrifices and presents for the nature spirits to certain sites. This should calm the unsteady ancestors and the spirits of the nature. It happened on a few times of his tours that the jungle went dark around lunch time. There were no signs for rain or anything else which would have been natural. He knew that there were spirits around. They should never be messed with. He knelt down and made a sacrifice. It was a pledge to the nature spirits that he would worship nature and appreciate it. The shades over the jungle lifted again. It reminded me of something that I had witnessed at the Mount Kerinci. There, the guide had placed some items such as flowers and sweets at some locations. I had not spent much thought on that. Now, it became somehow clear to me that the belief was not only common among the Batak. There was a deep connection between the spirits of nature and his people. I had on my trip to Mount Kerinci suspected something like a sacrifice to nature of the tour guide but the guide had avoided the answer. I wondered if the guide had been a Batak, unfortunately I had not asked him.

Most of Camorra's stories were about mountains and the connection to nature. Sometimes, he lightened up his tales with some humour. He told me that even if a Batak has a slash at a volcano, he will ask the mountain for permission. Otherwise, the person will become sick and has to consult the shaman. Often, such a person is sent back to the volcano to make a sacrifice of flowers, sweets and a black chicken. The imagination of that made me laugh, so not everything magical had to be too serious.

A more tragic case is it that some tourists walk up a volcano and see a procession passing by. They follow this group of people up the whole mountain. Then these companions just disappeared and the travelers are left alone in the wilderness. Such a case was reported from the previous year as an English guy followed a group. These ghosts or spirit led him up the highest mountain in Batak land, the Mount Sibayak. Suddenly, they got enclosed by dense fog. He could not see the figures anymore and was running without any plan for days in the forest. Short before dehydration and exhaustion, he was saved by a search troop. I believed the story as I had been in a similar situation in the Lebong Region once. I had seen people but fortunately enough I had not followed them. I understood now as well for the first time why a group of soldiers had told me it was too dangerous to be alone on the mountains. They had even been so kind to take me with them back into the closest village. Who knows, maybe I would not be writing this if I had done the same mistake as the English dude. It taught me one thing, we had to treat nature with full awareness and full respect.

This deep understanding made the Batak extraordinary conscious about the environment. They hated it when people dumped rubbish into the forest. I saw Camorra even telling tourists to pick up their chewing gum paper. Many Bataks would have never thought of polluting the nature. Every piece of waste and plastic meant an insult to their ancestors. They condemned industry as it changed the environment.

 The strangest thing that Camorra implicated was that he believed strongly that I should have been born in Asia. He was convinced that something had gone wrong with my rebirth. Batak follow some strange mixture of animism, Buddhism and Christianity. He explained to me that the Christian part was only there because the priests had impressed them with their presents. Everybody wanted something and so they had only been happily enough to declare that they converted to the belief in God. Actually, they believed most in their animism. The Buddhism had been a long part of their culture. Particularly as a Buddhist is not only restricted to one single believe. The Batak saw everything in balance and so they tried to walk the Middle Path. There was actually not a big difference to Buddhism. The belief in rebirth they had then taken from Buddhism as it seemed in their eyes to make sense as well. I laughed at his idea of me being the victim of a false rebirth. I had been fascinated by Asia since the first arrival.  That was still not good enough to think that I was Asian and not European. Nevertheless, I was too scared to know more about it. I did refused him over a long time to read my palms. What could he discover in them? Definitely not the marks of a rebirth that had gone wrong.

 As longer that I stayed at this place, as more I got into the status of a mental dullness. I lived into the day. I did nothing except chatting with my friends and swimming in the lake. One day, I saw a strange looking man. His face was signed by deep holes. These could have been the signs of previous smallpox. His eyes were deep, but missed the expression of life. I first thought that he was blind. After a few times I doubted that. Nothing seemed to restrict his vision. The other villagers did not get even close to him. Then, my thoughts changed as he seemed to be always close to us. Somehow, I got the feeling that he was watching us. I tried to come to reasonable thoughts. I got trapped by the conclusion that he was spying on us. Nogat saw that I investigated that guy. His only dry remark was 'Too much black magic, mate. The guy is fucked, he must have gotten too close to a shaman once.'
So, this happened if you made one of the wise man angry? Or if a person was not strong enough to withstand the spiritual dark side of this world? I did not dare to inquire more. He gave me the creeps. I saw it as a warning. I did not want to end up the same. Not only drugs seemed to be able to burn monster holes into human brains. The surroundings occupied me every day more and I had sometimes no longer the feeling to differentiate between reality and trance.

 I had been already a long time at the place and I felt I had to leave soon or I would stay too long. Something kept me back to move on, many morning I got up and told me that this was the last day. Camorra and Nogat were already laughing about me and suggested I should pack my things in the night and just disappear without telling them that I was leaving. One evening we went home from the pub. We went through an eerie scenery. The dogs were barking into the dark. They stood in the middle of the weak shining street lanterns. They were barking at sounds. At sounds because there was nothing in the meadows. The cows were brought home every evening. There were no wild animals around. So what did they bark at? The people avoided each other. They tried not to touch any other person. They did not even look at each other. The affectionate cats from the previous day were aggressive. Something was going on. We moved forward struggling against the wind. It hindered heavily our forthcoming. It blew strongly in our hair. I just could not figure why the plants did not move at all. They must have been bend in these massive gusts. The shutters of the houses at the street vibrated. The little flowers on the windowsills stood contrary firmly their ground. They did not bend, they did not move at all. They were not affected by the storm. It was a bewitched atmosphere. I felt cold sweat running down my neck. We came to a cigarette shop. It was the only place with light. All other houses in the surrounding neighbourhood were dark. In the shop, a little old man with withered skin sat on a squeaking chair. His long grey hair had grown until his waist. He did not make any sound as we passed by. The smoke of his cigarette blew up to the ceiling. I turned around but I must have been betrayed by my perception. There was no shadow of him, only of the chair. I exchanged looks with Nogat and he was only shaking his head. It did not help that suddenly Camorra started to lick his lips, pointing at his Croatian friend and remarked
'You just do not know how delicious you are.'
What did he mean? I was clearly confused. Did the Batak appraise Nogat now sexually in the middle of all this twisted environment?
His friend seemed to be used to this kind of remarks, he just replied
'I know you would like to eat me.'
Well this did not sound less gay and so I just hoped to get home.
'1975', murmured the Batak
'What was 1975?', first I walked a few more steps but then I was eager to know the answer.
'I ate such delicious meat the last time in 1975. You Europeans were a delicatessen. You have very tender meat. Then, the mean Indonesian government prohibited cannibalism. What a waste of such good meat.'
I did not know if that should raise my mood. If it was a joke it did not fit here. I got goosebumps.  I was already afraid of loosing it. We continued hastily our way. Camorra giggled to himself like a mad gone rabbit. We went down the little path to our guesthouse.  It was all dark around us. An unappreciated torch light was pointed into our faces. It was the scarface that had been around.  Camorra greeted him and exchanged shortly in Indonesian. He spoke so quietly that I could not understand the conversation. After we had passed him, I could not keep to myself
'Camorra, you are talking to him?' 
'Yeah, why not? Don't tell me you are scared of him!'
'I thought he was spying on us.'
'He might even do that.  This poor guy is under the spell of a shaman. Tomorrow, he probably will not even remember that he was on the street. He is not dangerous. There are other people around that you should be scared of.'
The Batak was pointing around him and suddenly I understood. The whole set-up had nothing to do with us. We had only been accidentally witness of this strange happening. Now, that we had met the guy all seemed to calm down. What was going on here? I was not keen on an answer. Of course, there was the thrill to dive deeper into the surroundings and explore the darkness. Then on the other side I did not want to become a helpless victim of black magic. Some things are better being left alone. I made the final decision of leaving soon.



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