31: Indonesia > Sumatra Barat > On the Way to Batusangkar

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Late morning, Saturday 7th July 2007. We get off the main Bukittinggi-Batusangkar road and enter a village known for its embroideries. Along the narrow village road, we enter a path between a green house and a blue one. If only they bury all those ugly overhead cables …img_1597.JPG

This is a centre training young girls in the fine art of embroidery.
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Nothing fancy or hi-tech, just a manual sewing machineĀ  …img_1582.JPG

… and lot of dexterity, and talent.
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Mom, herself once an embroiderer, is impressed.img_1580.JPG

Threads of all colours and hues to create the exquisite artwork.img_1579.JPG

While outside, on the verandah, Dad takes a breather.img_1594.JPG

As always, I wander around, and find this fine abandoned traditional house sandwiched between modern brick houses.img_1587.JPG

Underneath the house, original stilts and pillars, tilting or otherwise, and bamboo floor, all rotting away.img_1590.JPG

And nearby, in a shaded nook, a family graveyard.img_1601.JPG

It’s an old practice to bury loved ones in the house compound. img_1602.JPG

Here’s another grave, a bit untended on a vacant lot. Maybe the family has moved away and the house demolished, leaving the poor thing behind. Some people take the bones along for reburial.img_1598.JPG

Back on the main road to Batusangkar, and Mt Merapi stands watch, as always.
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A while later we go off-roading again, somewhere in the Tabekpatah area. img_1661.JPG

A cooperative makes fine coffee here, the robusta type, not the arabica one.img_1622.JPG

House rules. No. 4 says fingernails must not be long.img_1619.JPG

Fresh ground coffee being packed by hand.img_1616.JPG

For a coffee fan like me, I love the intoxicatingly overpowering aroma. Thanks to the Dutch, this Kiniko coffee has been exported to Europe since 1881.img_1613.JPG

And this is the best part. At the back of the factory, they built a pleasant verandah for you to savour their produces, FOC. Great marketing.

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So we set serving ourselves fresh coffee and tasty smoked bananas, as Anas looks on.img_1626.JPG

Path leading to the garden, accompanied by words of wisdom.img_1628.JPG

We spot a coffee plant, and this is Aina’s first encounter.img_1639.JPG

Beautiful beans, of the potent robusta type, which contains 2-3 times more caffeine by weight compared to arabica. More caffeine is better, right?

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An arabica plant.
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And of course, robusta. Can read about robusta vs. arabica HERE.img_1645.JPG

We find something interesting – tea made of coffee leaves. We just call it coffee tea!
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Coffee tea tastes like one of those Chinese teas, and quite pleasant too. Seems to be pretty medicinal too.
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There is also tea made of mulberry leaves (silkworms feed on these, remember), and it tastes as good as any Chinese tea too. But it’s a bit turbid compared to coffee tea above.

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Description of mulberry tea.
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Business cards of visitors from around the world are proudly displayed.
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At one corner of the factory, a man painstakingly stirs hot, sticky, pure pineapple flesh. Eventually it turns into a type of sweet, just like toffee. Well, they call it pineapple toffee.img_1656.JPG

Before we leave I stop at the shop selling all their local produces (esp. the coffee) and I just could not resist this bundle of cinnamon sticks. They smell so sweet!img_1663.JPG

We resume our journey to Batusangkar.img_1666.JPG

And spot the occasional Dutch-era mosque. In order to win the locals over, the Dutch actually built mosques.
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A family on the move.

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As we enter the Batusangkar area …img_1667.JPG

… we stop for lunch at a popular eatery … img_1698.JPG

… where a trap is strategically laid.img_1670.JPG

But the restaurant is really cool, literally and figuratively. It’s like floating on a huge pond full of fish, in the middle of the ricefields.

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There is already a bus-load of noisy people (fellow Malaysians, incidentally) tucking in.
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We find our table and enjoy more nasi padang.img_1675.JPG

The view across the rice-fields towards Batusangkar. img_1677.JPG

Just below us, the pond is full of well-fed fish, which eat leftovers chucked from the restaurant. How lucky can you get, …

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… such as these blokes.

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After the meal, I cross the highway …img_1695.JPG

… to admire the vibrant green of the paddies …img_1700.JPG

… to be joined by a young couple.img_1705.JPG

Behind the restaurant, more terraces of ricefields. The paddies are in various stages: some just planted, some with green rice pods, some golden ready to be harvested. img_1703.JPG

We continue with our journey and we know we are in the heartland of Minangkabau culture when we see traditional houses still being used.

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Close-up of the complex design of the wall. I wonder how they maintain this.img_1717.JPG

> TO BE CONTINUED …

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