The Motorcycle Diaries 1: Exploring the matriachal homeland
Bukittinggi Travel Blog› entry 22 of 82 › view all entries
Highland on two wheels
I hired a motorcycle and driver for the day to take me around to various Minangkabau cultural sights. Travelling with me was a 21 year old English student Mike and his driver. Strangely he's studying English (Singlish?) literature in a Singapore university ... go figure!
We started off with a stop at one of many snack stores (called sanjaias) where all sorts of crunchy munchies were being sold and/or made ... ranging from buffalo-skin crackers to a multitude of flavoured tapioca chips.
We passed beautiful paid fields against a backdrop dominated by a volcano so big that you can hardly see it (it blends into the blue-grey sky and the top merges into the greyish clouds). That's Gunung Merapi, a rather active volcano.
That took us to Belimbing (starfruit) where we went through a traditional Minangkabau house and saw a few more from the outside.
The Minangkabau culture is matriarchal or matrilineal ... the woman is the head of the household and the most important man is the woman's oldest brother. Their heritage has a strong link to the shape of the buffalo's horns ... as seen in the upturned roofs on houses and on the traditional headgear of their women the horns of a buffalo.
We also visited interesting craft and cottage industries ... wood-carving, songket (silver/gold-threaded fabric) weaving, coffee grinding powered by a water-wheel.
Eating on the street
Tonight I tried sate (satay) padang ... it is normal sate (bbq meat on stick) served with a different sauce from the usual peanut one. Their yellow gooey sauce is made from rice-flour and turmeric which I thought it was quite delicious. Things are pretty traditional here and sate is served on the street on a plastic plate lined with banana leaves ... each customer gets the same plate but a fresh new lining of leaves.
Next I sampled the local peanut sauce sate and that really blew me away. The stallholder folded me a two-inch piece of banana leaf to use as a spoon so that the leftover peanut sauce wouldn't go to waste.