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 …
This is a centre training young girls in the fine art of embroidery.
Nothing fancy or hi-tech, just a manual sewing machine …
… and lot of dexterity, and talent.
Mom, herself once an embroiderer, is impressed.
Threads of all colours and hues to create the exquisite artwork.
While outside, on the verandah, Dad takes a breather.
As always, I wander around, and find this fine abandoned traditional house sandwiched between modern brick houses.
Underneath the house, original stilts and pillars, tilting or otherwise, and bamboo floor, all rotting away.
And nearby, in a shaded nook, a family graveyard.
It’s an old practice to bury loved ones in the house compound.
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.
Back on the main road to Batusangkar, and Mt Merapi stands watch, as always.
A while later we go off-roading again, somewhere in the Tabekpatah area.
A cooperative makes fine coffee here, the robusta type, not the arabica one.
House rules. No. 4 says fingernails must not be long.
Fresh ground coffee being packed by hand.
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.
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.
So we set serving ourselves fresh coffee and tasty smoked bananas, as Anas looks on.
Path leading to the garden, accompanied by words of wisdom.
We spot a coffee plant, and this is Aina’s first encounter.
Beautiful beans, of the potent robusta type, which contains 2-3 times more caffeine by weight compared to arabica. More caffeine is better, right?
An arabica plant.
And of course, robusta. Can read about robusta vs. arabica HERE.
We find something interesting – tea made of coffee leaves. We just call it coffee tea!
Coffee tea tastes like one of those Chinese teas, and quite pleasant too. Seems to be pretty medicinal too.
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.
Description of mulberry tea.
Business cards of visitors from around the world are proudly displayed.
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.
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!
We resume our journey to Batusangkar.
And spot the occasional Dutch-era mosque. In order to win the locals over, the Dutch actually built mosques.
A family on the move.
As we enter the Batusangkar area …
… we stop for lunch at a popular eatery …
… where a trap is strategically laid.
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.
There is already a bus-load of noisy people (fellow Malaysians, incidentally) tucking in.
We find our table and enjoy more nasi padang.
The view across the rice-fields towards Batusangkar.
Just below us, the pond is full of well-fed fish, which eat leftovers chucked from the restaurant. How lucky can you get, …
… such as these blokes.
After the meal, I cross the highway …
… to admire the vibrant green of the paddies …
… to be joined by a young couple.
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.
We continue with our journey and we know we are in the heartland of Minangkabau culture when we see traditional houses still being used.
Close-up of the complex design of the wall. I wonder how they maintain this.
> TO BE CONTINUED …