It was such a surprise announcement when I’ve got a call from Telkomsel and they told me that I am one of the winner of Get Stranded writing competition! Whoooo!! I never won in my whole life so this is the first time that I really win something! Such a recordable moment!
The challenge was to make my own itinerary then bring a friend to go to Bukittinggi, West Sumatera, while the other winners (3 person) bring their own partner to go to the places as required by Telkomsel and Trinity. They should go to Ora Beach – Maluku, Rammang-Rammang – South Sulawesi and Bukit Bangkirai – Kalimantan. What a perfect reward!
I loveeee this competition so much because the judgement purely by our writing quality. It’s not about likes on Facebook, likes on Twitter, likes etc etc. Purely because Trinity as the judge, reading one by one articles (as I remember, it was around 504 articles) and choose only 4 as the winners. That was such an incredible honor for all of us. Fair play. Too many writing or photo competition based on likes which make people who really good at it can not get the chance because don’t have such a fame to get thousand likes from their followers. It is very rare now to really look at someone’s art and value it as how the way they make it, not because how famous he/she is as a social media junkie.
Challenge accepted. Me and my best friend, Ika, packed our stuff and fly to Padang, West Sumatera. We already be friend since 9 years ago but this is the first time we really do travel only the two of us. It’s gonna be amazing! And thanks for Telkomselflash and Trinity who gave us that opportunity. Get stranded in our own country sounds so interesting for me. I can’t sleep a day before because I was too excited.
In the morning, we already there on the airport. We quite lucky since the flight (which is so famous by being delayed for long hours) not delayed too much that time, only few minutes. The flying was ok. There is always a two side of coins about flying. First, I love the fact that we will arrive in new place by the flight, but also sitting in the plane was not so comfortable for me. There are only few things I can do while flying. First, sleep with the sore neck or body. Second is to read a book or the travel magazine from the airplane. Or daydreaming while take a look of the clouds – that’s if I lucky enough to get the window seat.
Lembah Anai Waterfalls
Once we arrived in Minangkabau International Airport, we need to take an ojek (a motorbike ride in Indonesia) and go to a place where we can stop a travel car to go to Lembah Anai. Lembah Anai is a waterfall near the street. Everyone can pass the waterfall. Yes, really. That’s kind of weird for me, because usually I only see waterfalls after few hours trekking, or in secluded area.
We paid 15k rupiah for the Ojek and 25k rupiah each person for the travel car. It was a private car which they function as public car. So it was a bit difficult to us with our big bag with such a tiny spot. There are many places to visit in Padang actually, but our destination is Bukittinggi.
After finished seeing Lembah Anai – we don’t pay the ticket to enter the site, since it’s many family swimming in the waterfalls and there is not much to see there, we eat our first real Padang cuisine in Padang town! Cool, huh! So delicious and cheap as well! Yayyy.
We continued the journey by taking another travel car to Bukittinggi. This time we paid 20k rupiah per each person and take another public car (we called it angkot) and pay 3k rupiah/person. We set an eyes for finding the hostel, since I haven’t booked anything. This trip can be so adventurous for both of us. We only googled few places and let the trip choose the rest. We have a plenty of time – a week, to be really get stranded in West Sumatera and decide where to go. Great that we didn’t miss the hostel! I can see their small plang from the car’s window. It called Hello Budget Hotel. I never regret that we choose it! The room is so clean. Cheap! Only 175k rupiah/night/2 person with wifi and hot water. The lady who is greeted us was also so friendly.
Her name is Ling, she is the one who handled the business. She runs the family business. For an Indonesian hostel, I can say this is good one. Usually, cheap hotel in Indonesia also cheap in quality. Bad smell of bedsheet, dirty and some suspicious stuff inside of the room. But this can follow the international standard of hostel. That’s why it’s listed in Trip Advisors as well. Good job Ling! She’s not only friendly, she is also put some information where to go and some tips about Bukittinggi and willing to explain you the way.
Once we finished relaxing, we go straightly to explore the city. The city is chilly since it is located on the hills. Bukittinggi means the high hills. There are some Gonjong houses, the traditional houses of Minang people. Minang is a called for local people who live in West Sumatera.
Our first target is to find Jam Gadang (Giant Clock in Minang language). This clock is not ordinary clock. The history behind quite interesting. This clock finished in 1926 and built with chalks, white egg and white sands only and a place of the zero point of Bukittinggi. The cost to build this giant clock is 3000 gulden or 90 millions rupiah at that time. The machine used for the clock is the same as the machine used in Big Ben, London. There is a saying that the machine only 2 in the world. Made specially by Benhard Vortmann in Recklinghausen, Germany. This clock is a gift from the Netherlands Queend to Rook Maker, Controlleur (Secretary of Fort de Kock – the formerly name of Bukittinggi). If you take attention of the number 4 on the clock, you will see it is written IIII not IV as usual Romans Number.
We tried a local snack around Jam Gadang. A large cassava chip with yellow noodle and the chilly sauce authentic from Minang. Yummy! Jam Gadang area itself was full with people. Either those who try to sell something or the local and tourist that walking around Jam Gadang and take pictures with it. Then we went back to the hostel by horse carriage. It was fun!
Me with Ika, my best friend. Finally we are traveling together!
Tari Piring (Plates Dancing)
In the evening, Ling told us there is a plates dancing performance in Sakato Group. The place located to Jam Gadang and you can ask people around where is the place of Plates Dancing. You won’t get lost. Only they want to perform if the guest minimum 10 person. It is quite sad how attractive dancing like this avoid by tourist, especially domestic tourist. For mostly Indonesians, a performance like this can be so bored and they don’t want to pay for the ticket (price is 70k rupiah) because.. it is too common, traditional, not so cool to see. For me, it is really cool and I eager to see it. Lucky us that there was 11 person in the place, so the dancers get ready immediately. Because of this kind of waiting for numbers, you have to prepared for a late performance. But it is worth it, trust me.
The dancing only showed on Monday and Wednesday every week. It supposed to be at 8.30 pm but because the guest waiting, it was starting at 9 pm. The dancing will be shown for 100 minutes. Starting by the Minang’s songs then come one by another of the dancing part. Until the final one is the plates dancing, where in the end of the dancing, all the dancers throw the plates and step on the breaking glasses. It was really shock me, but no blood at all. Ehmm, I think, they do some of magic – white magic maybe, because before the dancing started, there was someone comes to the stage and pray for all the plates they will use. I took one piece of the plates, and yes, it was really sharp one! Unbelievable.
Time to go back to our hostel. First day in Bukittinggi was so good and fun. I can’t wait to explore the city tomorrow morning!