Island of Sumatra PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Monday, 20 April 2009 19:38
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Island of Sumatra
Bukkitingi - Yogyakarta
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Day 63: Friday 23rd November -  Pekanbaru to Bukkitingi


We were glad to get away from the dive and all the conversation on the bus was about it and the two back in London who'd booked it and none of it was complimentary.

The journey was through some beautiful scenery with hills, rivers and dense jungle everywhere. Interspersed between were traditional wooden houses with their upward curved corrugated roofs supposedly to stop devils from landing on them.

We stopped for lunch and our first taste of Indonesian food. It was ok. Once again dried up chicken and sludgy rice. There were some complaints but nothing to the ones coming. We were all aware that we were crossing the Equator today but when it was mentioned and the guide announced 'sorry we've passed it' people were not well pleased. So not only had Ozbus booked us into a terrible hotel but had also employed a guide who didn't see the point of standing on the Equator. If the hotel tonight is bad we could see fireworks.

The Hotel Mitre Arena Gemini was not a great deal better and Sue and Co upgraded to the recommended Novotel for 650,000 rm or £35 a room before we even came down from our room. Our room had a shower and mandi but no air con or fan. We agreed to stay because Bukkitingi at 900 metres above sea level should be reasonably cool at night.

After booking in we set off into town with John to find somewhere to eat. The very first place we came to on the main street was an internet café with little signs of food other than a menu. As we were reading the menu the owner came up to us introduced herself as Anita and very quickly sold the place to us. The Turret Café turned out to be a gem of a place, the food was excellent, the surroundings comfortable and calming, except for the odd noisy bike passing and the broadband link was ok.

After the Indonesian food, so far, I decided to go European and have stake and french fries. The stake was very good as was the fries and they came with an accompaniment of tomato etc salad which was the first since leaving
Europe. John's Nasi Gorem, a popular Javan dish of rice, chicken, prawns etc was excellent. A kind of dish of left overs but fresh and tasty. We also had sweets which was rare. I had a bowl of delicious rice pudding with lots of cinnamin and bananas. The beer was ice cold and only 1500 rm the cheapest so far. The local brew is called Bintang and is very good but like all bottle ales gassy.

As we sat waiting for the food we were approached by a local man purporting to be a guide. He quickly brought out two photo albums of groups living as indians on one of the islands of the west coast and said he could arrange it for us. The tour was a minimum of 4 days and so was out of the question. He then presented us with a leaflet of different day tours. Eventually we settled on a half day tour to see the world's largest flower, a canyon he called grand and
LakeManga ( I think). For this we had to pay 500,000rm for three of us and I, always trusting, left a 100.000rm deposit. We left the café content, tired and tipsey agreeing to see our new friend and guide Awanga at 11.00am in the morning.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2009 19:17