Monday, October 27, 2014

Between Bukittinggi And Padang, Part 1

Hello lovelies, how are things? As promised, here is the travel note from my trip to Bukittinggi and Padang, West Sumatra.

West Sumatra applies matrilineal family system, in which the mother holds the lineage, the women are the family heads and take decisions. But for me it is very confusing because West Sumatra is also very Islamic (we passed many Islamic boarding schools along the way) and in Islam, it is the men who should be responsible in taking care of the family.

In Pariaman regency, for example, a bride must pay the groom's dowry. The higher the groom's position/education, the more expensive the dowry, but in Islam it is men who should pay the dowry. While in other parts of West Sumatra, the women usually receive higher amount of inheritance than the men. Again, this is contrary to the Islamic inheritance law, in which men should receive 2x inheritance than women. 

The West Sumatra tradition pretty much contradicts the Islamic principles, but hey who am I to judge? Let's just consider it as a part of Indonesia's rich culture.

Day 1

Upon our arrival in Minangkabau airport, we boarded a bus and headed to Bukittinggi, which is about 2-3 hours by bus from Padang. We passed the lush green Lembah Anai (Anai Valley) and Sungai Batang Anai (Batang Anai River). Everything was green and fresh, but I was sleepy for most of the ride because it was such an early flight (06:20), that I should left home by 03:00 a.m.  

I'm omitting the boring part of my office workshop as I know you only need information on what you can do and see in Bukittinggi and Padang :).


On our way to Bukittinggi, we stopped at a souvenir shop. My girl friends went shopping, but I was more interested to explore a water mill on the other side of the road.

Here's what we found inside. It's a rice flour mill.

A sign board on the road side

Another rice flour mill next door. The owner was a very shy woman, she did not want to be photographed.

We also stopped to buy Bika (a local snack made from rice flour, grated coconut), it was delicious.

This looks like Vulcan's workshop, but it's where the Bika was baked.

Gloomy skyscape

Day 2

We concluded the day's workshop before lunch and then took a quick walk to Fort de Kock. Built in 1825, it served as a Dutch fort to protect them during the Padri War (Remember Imam Bonjol?). In later years, the surrounding area of the fort grew into a city, now known as Bukittinggi (literally means 'high hills').

FYI, many places in West Sumatra are named in contrary to the area's situation. Bukittinggi is not located in the hills, but in the valley, Payakumbuh (literally means 'difficult to grow anything') is green and lush, Sulit Air (means 'difficult to obtain water') is actually very easy to get water. Any West Sumantran would like to explain why they name the area in contrary? Enlighten me, please.

  The gate of Fort de Kock

 We crossed Limpapeh bridge and explored the zoo in a flash. These gentle giants were chained to the column. Heartbroken :(

 At the steps of Minangkabau traditional house

Tangled roots

 Panorama of Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon)

A photo shot from inside the Japanese cave

A family of long-tailed macaques :)

Day 3

We had a Team Building session in Lembah Harau (Harau Valley) the whole morning, started with games that ended with me and two friends wearing Minangkabau traditional wedding garb as you can see in the previous post. Then we went to Serasah Boenta (Boenta waterfall).

  Harau Valley reminds of Rammang rammang in Maros, South Sulawesi

A sign near the waterfall, written in two languages: old spelling Indonesian and Dutch.

My colleague JHP provides a human scale to the waterfall

Chasing a waterfall :)

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