Late afternoon, Friday 6th July 2007. After a short rest at the hotel, we explore downtown Bukittinggi, dominated by this clock tower in the town square.
A gift from the Dutch Queen in 1926, when the town was called Fort de Kock. Note the ‘IIII’ instead of ‘IV’. The setting sun gives a yellowish hue.
Aina surveys the square. The main shopping area is just to the right.
Nearby, horse-taxis are ready for hire - a common mode of local transport.
This travel agent serves virtually every major Indonesian airlines, but the nearest airport is in Padang, 2hrs away by road.
A view of the suburbs of Bukittinggi, at 3,000ft above sea level just south of the Equator, a cool pleasant home to more than 10,000 people, neighbour to volcanoes Mt Merapi (active, hidden in clouds below), Mt Singgalang (inactive) and Mt Sago (inactive).
Predominantly Muslim Minangkabau Malays, where pointed roofs mix with metallic mosque domes.
A major shopping street next to the market.
In the market (bazaar, more like it) haggling is in progress.
A heaven for shoppers, no doubt.
Sweet juicy salak fruits. Our favourite.
Popular local snacks called kripik, similar to chips. Made of stuff from rice, corn, wheat, yams, tapioca, even from fruits. Very munch-able.
Odd-looking ants’ nests for sale. Maybe as medicine?
Wherever we are, the town landmark is always with us. How comforting. We’ll never get lost.
I return to the clock tower as early evening visitors throng in. It’s the perfect place for people-watching, especially in the cool evening.
A couple of pretty girls doing a self-portrait. One thing I notice here, there are hardly anybody wearing glasses. Damn good eyesight they have, or as Anas quips, they have good eyes because they never read.
There, my models in action again, in front of Bung Hatta.
In failing light I look for the old Dutch church I saw earlier.
Then helpful Anas takes me to another. I have no clue when these churches were built, but considering there are very few Christians in the area, the churches are in very good shape.
The street is full of pointed roofs, and as dusk arrives, it is still full of activities. We have another nasi padang dinner, and retire to the hotel for a good rest, our first night in Sumatra. It has been a long day.
> TO BE CONTINUED …