Day 6, 7 & 8: Bukittinggi & The last morning in Sumatra


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July 23rd 2015
Published: March 13th 2016
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When we arrived, we felt ourselves welcomed by the nice flag they hanged up for us here.
In the late afternoon, after two days of travelling (please check my previous blogpost, if interested), we arrived in Bukittinggi. Bukittinggi means in Indonesian “High Hill”, and it does lay almost 1000 meter above sea level. Having a human population of almost 120.000 people, Bukittinggi is the second biggest city of Western Sumatra. Padang, is the capital of West Sumatra and the biggest city of this area. During the Dutch establishment, the Dutch East Indian Company, Bukittinggi was known as the “Paris of Sumatra”, and currently in the Netherlands, Bukittinggi is still know for. The Dutch also had an impact on the city, by building a fort called “Fort de Kock”, which I will further discuss down below. The City has some great sightseeing’s you can do, but the nature around the city is also great to discover. A great hiking tour you can do of several hours (a morning tour) is the Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon). Close to the city’s, you are able to visit two volcano’s where the Mount Marapi is still active, and the other is inactive (Mount Singgalang).



Until the arrival in Bukitinggi, everything was fine, and also in the evening, it was fine.
Turret Restaurant: Beef Steak 100g PepersauceTurret Restaurant: Beef Steak 100g PepersauceTurret Restaurant: Beef Steak 100g Pepersauce

Due this meal, I ended up sick. Sadly
However, that did not take long. Bob, our travel leader knew a good restaurant, and here the problem started. I do not like that I have to write negative review about a restaurant. Neither, because the service was very good, and the taste of the food itself was absolute great. But when more than 12 out of 19 people becoming (quite) sick the day after, is something that I cannot denial. We went to the Turret Restaurant, and this restaurant is has very good reviews on internet, as well in the travel guides. The food they produce, is really delicious. Therefore, I would like to give a complement. I ordered beef steak with French fries, with a sauce of black pepper. The steak was very delicious, they bake it perfectly. The flesh was with great structure, and the sauce was great. It did contain black pepper pearls, but the sauce was freshly prepared on a sauce of tomato. The sauce was sweetened, and the hint of black pepper into it, was just perfect. Combine this with the flesh and the combination was very good. Also the French fries were baked perfectly. The waiters and the people working there was very
Fort de KockFort de KockFort de Kock

At Fort de Kock, a new sightseehing post was made to watch over the area. However, this outpost is not the Outpost which was created by the Dutch East Indian Company at 1825, which was called Fort de Kock.
good, and friendly. Here it took again quite long before the meals were served, but with a big group we were used on this already. This is a major issue in Sumatra, due the small kitchens they have. Which means ,the kitchen cannot prepare all food for the complete group together, but they have to do it separate. To give out the food warm, means in many cases that the first people is finished a half hour before the last person get his food. And this is common in Sumatra. After the restaurant, we went to a pub to drink some beer. But, I do not want to make it late. Because, the next morning, a great trekking was on the program, which would start quite early. It was a trekking of around 3-5 hours which will bring us into the Taman Panorama park, together with a guide. The Guide will also lead us to the Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon).



But, the next morning, 12 out of 19 people, including our Travel Leader, became sick. Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever where the most heard issues. And, I was, sadly one of them. And, during the whole holiday,
Animation Team at Fort de CockAnimation Team at Fort de CockAnimation Team at Fort de Cock

I just had to take a picture with them... I guess I never grow up.
I was sick. Which means, I could not do the complete program and I needed to relax quite often. I do not like to lay down at the pool or at bed, but sometimes it is the best thing to do when you are not 100% fit enough. So, I had to stay at home for the trail. Sadly, but I needed rest, my intestines also needed rest. I was quite sick. The strange thing was, in one moment I felt myself very sick, I needed some rest, and then after some hours I felt myself better, so I can do things. This time takes around some days, and then I had a fall-back and I felt myself quite sick. Mostly because I had much Diarrhoea, nausea and fever, and sometimes involved vomiting. It was a circle, which finished when I was some days back in the Netherlands and Germany.



During the trail, some people also had to return because they ended up sick. But, the trail to the Ngarai Sianok should be very beautiful, with a very good guide. In the evening, there was also a possibility to eat by the Guide and his wife at
Bukittinggi ZooBukittinggi ZooBukittinggi Zoo

At least, I have a selfie with an Orang-utan in Sumatra.
home, which will be in the evening. Luckily I could attend this and this you will read later on in this blogpost. The Ngarai Sianok (Canyon Sianok) is part of the Taman Panorama National Park, but the Ngarai Sianok is the most famous of the park. And it is known for its great views. The Canyon has a wide of circa 200 meters, a height with not less than 100 meters and contains a length of 15 km. The canyon is created, due the fact that the earth crust is not moving that fast as the other parts, which is creating the straight walls of the canon. In fact, it is a small separation of the land, which is currently separating from Sumatra. The Canyon contains a river, still containing clear water. Due the water, the canyon and especially her walls are fed, which means the canyon is green and contain much vegetation. The official name of the River is “Staaf Sianok”, which means “River” in the local language Minangkabaus, spoken by the Mingangkabaus Tribe. Due the good water quality, a lot of water buffalo’s were living in the time of the Dutch East Indian Company, so the River was
Bukittinggi ZooBukittinggi ZooBukittinggi Zoo

The area/cage of the Elephants was open, which means you actually could walk into the Elephant's stay. Wim is standing here at the entrance of the open gate.
called by the Dutch as the “Karbouwengat”. This name is easy to explain, because it means “a buffalo’s opening”, where the “Karbouw” is an old Dutch word for the Water buffalo and “gat” means an opening, because standing on top you look indeed into a huge opening. The Indonesian local people also translated the “Karbouwengat” into Indonesian, leading that the river is in Indonesia also known as the “Buffel Sanget”.



I had to stay our hotel “Royal Denai View Hotel”, and in our room. The hotel had wifi, so I could write e-mails to home and find something to do in town, when I should feel a little better. When “it was out”, it was out and I felt myself a little better ,even when catching a lot of sleep. I drank a lot of cola, because it seems like that it can stable the intestines. Also, fresh fruit juice is also a good way to get something in your stomach. In the afternoon, I felt myself a little bit better. Close to our hotel we had the old Dutch fort “Fort de Kock”. There is not much left of the old Fort, but at least one
RijsstafelRijsstafelRijsstafel

Diner by the Guide and his wife
original canon is still standing. During the time of the Dutch East Indian Company (In Dutch: Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie. I.e. VOC), Bukittinggi was known as Fort de Kock, referencing to the Dutch outpost. The Padri War was a war of almost 35 years, from 1803 until 1837 in West-Sumatra. The war consist between the “Padris”, the Muslims clerics which wanted to impose the Sharia in the Minangkabau area”. They fought against the “Adats”, contains mostly out of the Minangkabau noble and traditional chiefs. The “Adats” or the Minangkabau Nobles asked the Dutch to help out in the war in 1821. Therefore, the Dutch troops needed an outpost. Captain Bauer, of the VOC found a good place for this outpost on the Jirek Hill, where the Outpost was established in 1825. With the help of the Dutch, and also the outpost, the “Adats” or the Minangkabau nobles could defeat the “Padri”. The Name of the Fort was not given to the Captain Bauer who found this hill, but it was named to the VOC Lieutenant Governor-General Hendrik Merkus de Kock (1779 –1845). De Kock arrived 1 Mai 1817 in Java, and became the governor of the Moluccas after a small revolution,
RijssttafelRijssttafelRijssttafel

Diner by the Guide and his wife
and the Dutch wanted to create a heavy commission. At 5 Mai 1819, he was named as commandant in the Troops of East Indies. He led in 1821 the expedition to Palembang, and was rewarded. Soon after, he became the Lieutenant Governor-General position. Currently, the fort itself is not standing anymore. But there is one canon left, remembering on these times. However, they did build some watch point, which you can climb and see the yourself.



However, at already the entrance of the Fort, we saw some birds in cages. Beautiful birds, small to big ones, but what they were doing there? We found out when we walked over the bridge. When you enter the Fort de Kock, you can cross the bridge, only to excess when you pay to enter the Fort. Underneath the bridge, a busy road with a lot of traffic was driving. The bridge is save to walk over and you can enjoy the great view over Bukittinggi. But, on the other side of the bridge, we still saw the birds in the cages. But then , suddenly, we saw elephants? Elephants? And we found out we arrived in the Bukittinggi Zoo. Which
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau

Indonesian Local people are sitting by the Throne Room.
means, the remants (canon) of Fort de Kock, is included in the ticket price for the Bukittingi Zoo. Where the Dutch tourist probably have main interest to see the Dutch Fort, other Indonesian people are coming here for the Zoo. That is why so many Indonesian people all want to have a picture with us. Animation people, dressed up as Micky Mouse were walking around at the Fort. The Zoo was not big, but they had much animals. Too bad to see was the conditions where the animals have to live. In comparison, when you visit a Zoo in the Netherlands, the Animals have lots of space and they are taken well care, because the area’s they live in are clean. In this zoo, the area’s (cages) were small and the children are throwing stuff to them. For example, by the crocodiles. The children were complaining the crocodiles are not swimming around. Laying in the sun and in the water is a typical behaviour of a crocodile instead of continue swimming around. But, the children did not accept this, so they started to throw plastic (bottles), or even some stones to the crocodile, especially to hit them on their heads.
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau

The Throne Room is heavy decorated with different Art, mostly in the warm colors and contains a lot of Gold. Here, you see some details of this Art.
And, the crocodile moves a little bit, because it might hurt, but are still not swimming. The water of the crocodiles was horrible. There was a lot of plastic and other garbage, and the water was dirty. Poor animals. Not only the people (especially kids) where throwing stuff to the crocodiles, but also to the Orang-utans and other animals. The area of the Elephants was broken, which means the elephants could walk out. But, therefore they were chained at their paws. The animals lived in a horrible situation and it was heartbreaking to see this.



Before the evening, I took more rest. In the Evening, it was planned to have Dinner at the house of the guide which did the morning tour to the Sianok (Sianok Canyon). The Guide’s wife, made a delicious dinner. It was a home stay dinner. If you have the opportunity to do something like this, you should do it. First, we took the entrance in the house. In many house, as we saw also at the Batak, it is not allowed to enter with your shoes. You can enter with your socks, but not with your shoes. Also, this was the case.
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau

A doll is wearing one of the Old Dresses of the Queen, and is standing besides a picture of the last Queen and King, both clothed in traditional clothing.
The Guide showed us his house. He and his wife, have a beautiful house, and on the backside of the house, he had a small veranda, where they had a great sight of the nature and a small river which was floating close by their house. Soon, the food arrived. His wife did a great job by serving very delicious food. It was a traditional Rijsttafel. A Rijsttafel is, when you translate it from Dutch known as “Table of Race”, and mostly served in area’s in Sumatra or Indonesia where the Dutch had a huge influence on the way of living and even cooking. However, all meals known as (local) Indonesian dishes, the Dutch people had influence on the Rijsttafel. During the Dutch East Indian Company these Rijsttafels were most served. The Rijsttafels were mostly popular by the Nobles and the people with high positions at the Dutch East Indian Company, they could enjoy a wide range of different (new) dishes during one meal. But, it mostly was served when (important) guest came, mostly because the impress the guest to show that the Dutch East Indian Company had a good wealth and control over their colony. The Rijsttafel contains out
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau

Me "as Queen" and Travelleader Bob "As King". on the Throne
of many meals, mostly containing Nasi Padang, or Nasi Goreng and served by a lot of side dished in small portions. Some of these side dishes contains several different rice, which is prepared in several different ways. Other small side dices, with small portions are egg rolls, sambals, saté, meat (mostly containing out of chicken, beef and lamb), fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, and salads. Our Rijsttafel did contain: Steamed rice, chicken, Redang and beef which was all spiced differently, a vegetable mix containing atjar, green beans and jackfruit, a fruitmix containing banana and melon and self-made Krupuk. All dishes where spiced very good and it tasted so delicious. My very high compliments to the guide’s wife for preparing so great dish and a traditional Rijsttafel! As standard by a Rijsttafel, you have to eat on the ground, as you might see at the pictures. After the delicious meal, I went back to the hotel room to get some sleep. The next day, we will get our flight to Java.



Our last breakfast in Sumatra was served at 8, and at 9 we were in the bus. It was quite busy on the road and we
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan MinangkabauPusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau

Do you see the Sharp roofs? This is to symbol the Karbouw (Water Buffalo). The name of the Minangkabau tribe is coming from "Karbouw", and symbolised the same Water Buffalo which was responsible for winning the war against the Javanese Kingdom.
did not have much time for a coffee stop, but we had limited time in Padang Pajang. There we visited the Rumah Gadang, which is translated as “Big House” out of Indonesia. In Fact, “Rumah Gadang” is a name which is common in Indonesia to describe a “Big House”, and every city at least has one or multiple. And the name keep his word, we visited indeed a very big house. However, most of these Rumah Gadang, or Big houses, still have their own name. We visited a museum which was inside of these Rumah Gadang, and this museum has a very big name: “Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau” (PDIKM). As you might Recognise at the name, it is a museum about the Minangkabau tribe. First you walk through a beautiful garden before entering at the big house of the PDIKM. It was time for a toilet stop. However, as in many temples, and in this case museums, it is not allowed to enter with your shoes. But, at the toilets, it was wet and not very hygienic and clean. Normally it is not a problem, because you have your shoes, but they were standing inside. They offered some
Roadtrip to PadangRoadtrip to PadangRoadtrip to Padang

We did not have much time to stop, but in the bus I could make some pictures of the last landscapes of Sumatra.
wooden sandals, but I was more finding my balance with them and afraid I would fall. But luckily I did not. At the upper side of the museum, they mostly had books and attributes of the living stile of the Minangkabau. This tribe, is living in West-Sumatra, but almost everywhere in Indonesia and some places in Malesia (mostly the area/state of Negeri Sembilan) you can find people belonging to the Minangkabau. The name of the Minangkabau is special, because it is coming from the “Winning Karbouw”, (the water buffalo). Especially the people of the Minangkabau have their story how they came on this name. The story is like this: The West-Sumatran people (currently known as the Minangkabau) were in war with the Javanese kingdom. The Javanese had a better and bigger army, but the West Sumatran people had an idea how they could defeat them. They suggest that they should offer to keep a game. The West-Sumatran as the Javanese Kingdom should deliver one Water Buffalo (Karbouw), which should be fight to the death. When the Water Buffalo from one team kills the other water Buffalo the winning Buffalo and the team would win the war. The Javanese kingdom accepted
Roadtrip to PadangRoadtrip to PadangRoadtrip to Padang

Also, in the buss we drove next to some great rice fields and jungle.
and both teams delivered a Buffalo. However, the West Sumatran Buffalo was a non-fed calf, where the horns were cut very sharply (in some versions you might hear that they did contain small knifes on the horns). The Javanese kingdom had an adult Buffalo. When the game began, the non-fed calf ran to the Adult Buffalo to feed himself and when attempting, his horns (with the knifes?) went in to the belly of the Adult Buffalo, and the Adult Buffalo died. The West-Sumatran people had won the war. The Minangkabau shapedsharp roofs of the traditional house are to symbolise the horns of the Water Buffalo. Also, the PDIKM contains a large throne room, where it was possible to seat down in the throne and to see the official clothing of the old King. Sadly, we did not have much time and have to leave very early.





It was busy on the road, but I was able to make some last pictures of the landscape of Sumatra. When we arrived at the airport of Padang, we all knew that we should leave Sumatra. Everything from our flight will be discussed in the next blogpost. I would like to end this blogpost to thank the hospitality of the many people in Sumatra. I would like to thank our bus driver Boy and Andu the busboy for driving safely in Sumatra, they kept driving very safe through the many hair pins and the roads in between the jungle where scooters where crossing in complete madness. We encountered great guides like Hasan and the Guide from the Ngarai Sianok trail, which gave is a great insight of the local people living in the beautiful Sumatra. The first part of our tour through 3 Islands with all containing Jungle, Volcano’s and Temple story is closed. Two more Islands to explore, but the wildest we will left behind.

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