Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Padang, Indonesia

Adam and I split ways a few days ago in Bukittinggi. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be leaving him. After all, we did spend almost 6 weeks together 24/7. I hear when two people travel together they are bound to fight and eventually hate each other, but we didn’t get into any big fights and really enjoyed each others company. I am thankful for those six weeks with him because we definitely became closer than we ever were. That being said, I think it was time that I get out and see/navigate the world on my own. My first stop would be Padang, Indonesia. I was going to Padang because that is where my flight leaves from, as I will be heading to KL for two days and then off to Australia on the 16th of this month. Padang was supposed to just be a stop where I didn’t do anything but sit in my hotel room for a few days and relax. Little did I know I would end up seeing the city in a way only the locals do.

My first night I would meet up with a friend, Gioele, I met while volunteering with the HODR project that Adam has recently written about. Gioele was leaving from Padang to go home to Canada and he let me stay in his room for his last night there. Thank you Gioele for the accommodations! That night we went walking around the town and were watching locals play football (not American), when a girl approached us. She told us she was studying to be an English teacher and invited us to sit with her and friends so they could practice their English. Now a lot of people have come up to us on this trip and some on kind of shady so we told her we could sit and talk for only five minutes. We ended up going to dinner with them and ended the night with ice cream. Since Gioele was leaving the next day they asked me if I had any plans for my time in Padang. I told them I had nothing planned and they invited me to hang out with them for the weekend.

The next morning they picked me up from Gioele’s hotel and helped me find a hotel of my own. I then hopped on one of their motorbikes to have lunch at one of their houses. They cooked me authentic Indonesian food and we ate sitting Indian style with our hands. You wouldn’t think it, but there really is an art to eating with your hands. Lets just say I wasn’t the best at it. After lunch it was off to a scenic river where the water was rushing passed us. There was also a waterfall and a cliff where a bunch of locals were jumping off. I of course couldn’t pass the chance to jump off something high into water. I was the only westerner there so I was getting a lot of attention. People would look at me with such curiosity. Especially since I had my shirt off and if you don’t know, I’m definitely not the darkest person in the world. Sometimes people would get too close for comfort but my new crew was very protective of me.

The next morning I was picked up again and we headed to a really nice beach. There was an island within sight and we were able to walked through the water to it. It was a very relaxing part of the day. We then hopped back on those motorbikes and headed for a secluded waterfall. It was quite the journey to get there but definitely well worth the trek. I met lots of locals along the way and was glad to have an interpreter, my new friends. We ended the day with coffee from a local woman’s home. My last morning I was picked up by Sabtu and he took me to the airport. After these couple of days here in Padang I know what it feels like to be a celebrity with all the staring and attention. I am extremely fortunate to have met my new Indonesian friends and learned so much from them. My last two and half days in Indonesia were the most unique and educational since being here. Thanks to Facebook I will be able to keep in touch if none of us can make it to each other’s home countries in the future. Thank you Novie, Nadia, Asang, Sabtu, and Aroon for such a wonderful weekend.

Next Stop: Malaysia → Australia!


-Marc

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