Where are the tourists?
Banda Aceh Travel Blog› entry 358 of 366 › view all entries
I came here because I wanted to see what Aceh was like...particularly to see its progress since the 2004 tsunami. The tsunami is still a common topic for discussion here, but there is some general contentment with the slow progress made in development since then. There have been new developments, but Banda Aceh still looks like other Sumatran cities. As expected, the Baiturrahman Mosque is very central to life in the city center. The teachings are broadcast nightly on the loud speakers, which seem to be louder than the loud speakers used at mosques in Malaysia. Still, the night market that sets up for a kilometer stretch along the road the central mosque sits on was fairly busy, if not highly repetitive. The hawker food stalls interspersed in the market are busy and include favorites such as martabak, curried duck, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (not related to KFC...haha!). The commercial center of town is also fairly busy at night when people come out to eat and hang out, but there is not much great shopping to be had here. People are friendly, and the men in particular are quite touchy-feely. I lost count of the conversations I had just from walking around town (a few even in English). And the people are very proud of the Acehnese language. I was given impromptu Acehnese lessons by every becak driver I rode with. But between its unfamiliarity and my own admitted lack of interest, I have not retained much!