Saturday, 17 April 2010

A day out in Bukittinggi

I was originally off to climb the most active volcano in Sumatra today but due to the guide declaring it unsafe to do so I decided to wander round the nearby town of Bukittinggi instead. Apparently it's a tourist town but I've really not got much of a clue why that is nor did I see anyone who didn't look like a local. Regardless I went into a nearby hotel to see what was on offer and came away with two things. The first was the panorama, a cliff on one edge of town which overlooks a canyon and is inundated with monkeys. It was also home to an old Japanese tunnel system. The second was the zoo. Like I said there wasn't much on offer.

Note to self: Next time you go to an area with monkeys don't ring a can of fanta otherwise you end up with quite the fan group...

The canyon was quite pretty though. The cliff you can see in the background was probably all made by one eruption from the nearby volcano system. It's about 40m high.

This is Bukittinggi's emblem, in fact they're so proud of it that I sort of expected it to be, well more than just a clock tower that's about 20m high. Instead I was much more interested in the photo below it which seems to suggest that there's a strong Eric Morecambe fanbase in the area...

The mountain in the background here is the volcano I was going to climb. Didn't look to be having any current activity but I bowed to the guides greater knowledge. Apparently lava feels quite hot if you end up in it.

The next few shots are from two hills (one houses and old fort, the other a zoo with species as exotic as the pheasant and the pig...) which are linked by a bridge which spans the main way through town.
Mount Merapi overshadowing the town:

The bridge:

The building back and centre below is the local bhupati's house (sort of like a local MP or mayor). The roof is a distinctive feature of many west Sumatran houses.

A different building which gives a better idea of the roof design (how very exciting...)

As a treat here's a video for putting up with my inability to get a picture of a monkey earlier on in my trip. This is what happens when 1 monkey finds steals the can of fanta you put down while another tries to get at the kit kat in your backpack...

Some stats:

Number of unasked for photos taken with people - 6 hours...

Number of times I lied about knowing the story behind the Japanese tunnels because I didn't want a guide with me - 8

Number of times a monkey tried to steal my drink - 13

Number of times successful - 1

Number of times I was asked if I played basketball - 9

Amount of times most of the people in one area of town had seen a white man (judging by their quite amazing reactions including random hugs) - 0

Finally congratulations to Charlie and Lucy for yesterday.

Oh and Norwich of course.



  1. You'll have to edit that one. It's Charlie and Katie... (Unless there was a Lucy getting married that day of whom I am not aware.)

    What's funny about your video there is the way that when the Monkey climbs up behind you and looks at you, you proceed to laugh like homer simpson and form the beginning of the word 'monkey.' Like, "Ha ha ha - Donut."
    Say what you see.

    Norwich up. Thank pants for that. I couldn't endure watching Gary Doherty move to a "bigger Club" as Norwich slip further into obscurity.

    Next season I recon We'll do alright. Lambert is quite some manager.

    Right. Off for a day of teaching based fun. I am teaching two Nigerian kids this week who call me Mr. Jonathan, a name that I really like.

    See you soon.

    Mr. Jonathan

  2. Ah, I got a text reminding me that it was Charlie's wedding and assumed that they meant Savoury not Macnicol. Oops.

    Sod it I'll just copy and paste that line above into a post on the 8th of May when the wedding actually is...

    I'm actually laughing and then go on to say "oh no you don't" as the little bastard had been trying to creep up behind me for the previous half an hour.

    I'm getting called Pak Rob (basically Mr Rob) by almost everyone out here. Now obviously I'm no childish enough to constantly think of them doing almost racisms....

    Enjoy the game on saturday, very sad to be missing it.

    Keep tucking,