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Published: August 10th 2009
as another week bites the dust it is time for another installment from the past week and its adventures.
We decided we'd have a lie in for once, unfortunately we were woken once again at 4.30 for another prayer session so that was that out the window. We headed to the local markets for a couple of hours to see if we could see anything worth purchasing, there wasn't - unless we wanted a giant bag of dried fish with eyes. Later on we headed to a local park called Panorama Park, so called because of it's view over a huge canyon and the surrounding volcanoes to watch the sun set and see the aerial show put on by the bats. Here we bumped into lots of monkeys which was fairly unexpected and a little scary but the little macaques were harmless enough so we took the opportunity to snap a few, it was pretty overcast so we decided not to wait until sunset after all. We spoke to a local guide here who told us how since the tsunami and then the earthquake which hit here a few years after (richter 6.7) not many tourists visit anymore and they have suffered as a result of this. It's pretty sad really as it's a beautiful place but hopefully it'll pick up. After not having access to any of our money for the 1st week we finally found somewhere to change travelers cheques - woo.
Today we went to see the 'Fort De Kock', an old dutch look out tower which to be honest was pretty darn poor so we didn't hang around but the footbridge leading away from this was pretty nice and as we crossed this we were stopped several times to have our pictures taken with locals, naturally we took this in out stride as our new status as local celebs! Much to our horror there was a hideous zoo at the other side of the bridge with elephants chained up so that they can move about 6 feet, a tiger with a very small patch of grass and a bear in a pathetic little cave who seemed too sad to even bother to come out. Very upsetting indeed. Then we went into the museum which other than lots of very poor exhibits housed a selection of dead inbred animals with many limbs and eyes each, quite horrifying. The guys on the front desk were so inundated with tourists they were heavily into a game of chess. It rained a lot after this so we headed back for a chilled out evening.
Today we went to find another attraction - the clock tower, which was much like your average clock tower but we found a post office here where i sent my non internet connected bro a post card. We headed back to the park tonight and ended up snapping away at the monkeys again and buying up some local souvenirs. Home again for another early night as we were up early the next day for a new place.
Up early for a jeep ride to Danau (Lake) Maninjau. The journey took us through rice paddies and little villages - very picturesque and ended with 44 hairpin turns leading down to the lake where we found ourselves at Maurao Beach Bungalows. It seemed pleasant enough so we booked ourselves in and propped ourselves on our balcony overlooking the lake with another Bintang. At this point we thought it was a little slice of paradise with it's own beach and stunning views of the surrounding volcanoes. It turned out the log cabins were a little too rustic with an almost non existent bathroom and wild dogs and cockerels running riot everywhere we turned! It was also similar to a sauna inside so not the best for a good nights sleep. The sounds of the lake lapping at the beach were drowned out during the night with another massive downpour.
So far I have 20 mosquito bites and it feels something like having chicken pocks again. Andy seems to be getting away without any, seems i'm the tastier treat! We got up and moved hostels to a much nicer, more luxurious Tan Dhiri down the road. Here we had a nice western toilet and tiled bathroom with a fan in our room - much more like it! Tan Dhiri was on the lake so the views from the balcony were superb again. We ventured to a local place for lunch today, it was someones kitchen/living room turned cafe so while the owners kids lay on the floor watching Indonesian kids TV we ate the Sate (Satay) they cooked up for us - delicious and extremely cheap! We both agreed this was the best thing we'd had from Indonesia so far. Later this evening we headed into the 'town' to a bar called Bagoes where the english speaking owner is something like del boy with his fingers in all pies. We bought a couple of Batiqs from him painted by the locals and then headed home.
Breakfast in the hotel overlooking the lake which provided us with perfect opportunity to snap the local fishermen at work. We revisited the Sate place (yum) and took lots of pictures of local scenery. Lots of chilling was done today - kicking back by the lake with an early night to finish.
This morning we got up early to head back to Bukittinggi as we have to get the next bus from here. We were told we'd booked a mini bus with a couple of others which turned out to be an 8 seater which when it arrived already had 9 people in! They squashed our packs in the almost non-existent boot and in we squeezed. Back up the hairpins at 80mph taking in great mouthfuls of 2nd hand cigarette smoke as the passenger up front chained smoked his way through the journey. We were also treated to the kids in the van throwing up next to us into black bin liners before tossing them out of the window. Luckily the journey was a quick one and only took an hour instead of the scheduled hour and a half - think they call this slumming it! And so here we are again, back in Bukittinggi and heading to another lake - Toba tomorrow.
We hope we haven't got you into trouble at work reading this essay!
Lots of love
E & A xxxx
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