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Published: June 17th 2013
Taman Panorama & Sianok Canyon
And you can see Jangjang Seribu, Bukittingi's miniaturised version of the Great Wall of China.
Just two nights at serene Maninjau, and it was time to move on again, I am on a schedule after all. You might ask, a schedule for what? Since I don't have any concrete, immediate life plans anyway. And that would be a good question, for another day, but I digress. In any case, I do have a visit to the much larger, and more famous Lake Toba penned in imminently, and so I took the 1.5h bus ride up the 44 hairpins again, and back to the highland city of Bukittingi from whence I came.
Lying some 900m in altitude, Bukittingi boasts of agreeable temperate weather all year round, and to some extent reminded my of another highland city Baguio in Luzon, North Philippines, where I was a couple of months ago. Except Bukittingi's quite a fair bit smaller, and (believe it or not) not quite as populated. But true to Wikitravel's warning, it rains in the city everyday, or at least it did all three days I was there - a persistent, cold, shallow drizzle that comes and goes presumably with the clouds. If Bogor is the Kota Hujan (Rain City) of Java, then Bukittingi must surely be
Aka Clock Tower.
its equivalent here in Sumatra. I even found out the kids here are just as good at Dance Dance Revolution!
Speaking of comparisons, one thing both islands do have in common is the five daily call-to-prayers from the mosques. The first few times you hear it, the minor-like key in which it's always chanted seem to evoke a profound and romantic spirituality. And then you realise it also comes every night, sometimes twice during your sleep, from which you never fail to be awakened. Then regrettably I, at least, can't help but re-evaluate some of my initial feelings about it (but that's just my direction-less atheist self speaking!)
Lest I end on a controversial religious note, I read in the news that currently, billowing smoke from Sumatran forest fires has blanketed my home country of Singapore with a thick haze. This is a periodic affair that occurs every couple of years, apparently when illegal slash-and-burners conduct their illicit activities (sometimes with the concurrence of complicit local governments). In any case, it's somewhat ironic that being in the heart of Sumatra right now, I've so far detected absolutely no sign of this haze, which seems to have made it
Fort de Kock
Built by the Dutch a long time ago. All that remains is this water reservoir.
way straight to other countries in the region instead.
Stayed at Hello Guesthouse.
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