The Motorcycle Diaries 2: Forty-four hairpins up and down

Bukittinggi Travel Blog

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Scenery along the way.

44 Hairpins Down and 44 Hairpins Up

Today Mike and I with our drivers headed to Lake Maninjau. It is volcanic crater lake and from the top of the rim looking down, we had to wait for the clouds to clear before we could get a glimpse of the lake and the far side. The lake itself measures about 17km long and 8km wide.

The descent to the lake took us through 44 hairpin turns. Coming back was more of a struggle with the 125cc bikes.

My yarn with the hairdresser

In the afternoon I treated myself to a massage then had a somewhat needed haircut. I thought I'd better do it here in Indonesia rather than Hong Kong to avoid unintended results due to language difficulties.

My hairdresser was Chinese; one of very few in town that still speak any Chinese at all.

Old Minangkabau house.
We had a good yarn in Hokkien ... I asked about life in Bukittinggi and she raved about how good things are, how nice people are here and how life isn't a problem for the Chinese, eg:

  1. Safety on the street even at night isn't a concern.
  2. Her son got into a government university.
  3. They're now allowed to speak Chinese (if they know how, haha!) and even have lion-dance.
  4. The most funny one is perhaps ... "If I tried to pay someone to kill or maim, you won't find anyone in Bukittinggi who will do it ... they're really good people". I thought "So a good hitman is hard to find here huh? You typical Chinese mafia"!

That was so nice to hear as Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese often see Indonesian counterparts as being very hard done by.

Making sugar from sugar-cane the traditional way. A blindfolded buffalo pulls the press.

Then I moved on to my favourite subject ... food. I explained my apprehension with eating the local cuisine as it just sits in the window all day ... it could have been cooked in the morning and you could be eating it for dinner after having spent the whole day in the warmth.

She threw my caution to the wind ... rendang keeps for a week and gulai itiak (duck curried in green chilli) keeps for two days (without refrigeration)! That's supposed to make me feel better?

Showing off my MH

In the evening I showed Mike my MH (Malaysian Hospitality). It appears his hostel-mates in Singapore haven't been showing him the culinary delights there ... so introduced him to murtabak, avocado shake and soursop shake.

My MH seems to come from a bottomless heart. For dessert I bought myself (and guesthouse watchman) a banana, chocolate and cheese pancake .
Lake Maninjau with the other side of the crater rim barely visible.
.. this came highly recommended by my friend Natalia. This was a thick pancake topped with bananas, sugar, grated Kraft processed cheese and chocolate flakes. Then brushed with lashings of butter and margarine while it is hot. Deeeelicious ... you can't really taste the cheese. Many other options are available for you to mix-and-match, eg. cheese and nuts, chocolate and nuts, cheese and corn etc.

Old man on the corner

It seems I'm not the only one with hospitality to share. The locals here are friendly and hospitable too ... the stallholders where I buy my sate and pancake are extremely chatty. Along with this old man at the corner shop, they invite me to sit down for a pleasant natter whenever I walk past.

How often do Malaysians do this when Indonesians visit? Errrr ... maybe MH stands for Mythical Hospitality?

One thing led to another and I gave the old man a one ringgit note as a momento. I took the time to explain the features of the notes ... eg. picture of our first King and then the Jawi script (Malay written with modified Arabic script) which is a bit of a novelty here.

I think he was quite impressed that Cina (a Chinese) could read Arabic. So I showed off my reading skill further by reading the Arabic from the can of butter on the pancake cart. He said "Why don't you convert to Islam?" That is one question I'm used to answering so he smiled and lapped it up.

sylviandavid says:
A fun read....
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012
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Scenery along the way.
Scenery along the way.
Old Minangkabau house.
Old Minangkabau house.
Making sugar from sugar-cane the t…
Making sugar from sugar-cane the …
Lake Maninjau with the other side …
Lake Maninjau with the other side…
Lake Maninjau with the other side …
Lake Maninjau with the other side…
Me with my driver Din.
Me with my driver Din.
Our view while having lunch at Lak…
Our view while having lunch at La…
Banana chocolate and cheese pancak…
Banana chocolate and cheese panca…
Horse drawn carriages are still in…
Horse drawn carriages are still i…
photo by: travellover09