Friday, March 27, 2009

Padang to Bukit Tinggi (West Sumatra, Indonesia)

At Minang Plaza in Padang, I crossed the congested road packed with bikes and anglots (mini-vans), impatient to catch some form of transport to Lake Maninjau.

MPVs lined the roadside waiting for passengers. A guy grabbed my arm and said, “Come, we're almost full.”

When I realised he wanted to squash me between three passengers in one row of seat, I protested, “Hey, too people. There's no space for me” , and walked away.

The MPV behind looked more promising, almost full. An old man said, “Put your bag here.” I sat with him in the last row, glad I'd be having an amiable character as a fellow passenger.I chatted with him while waiting for the MPV to fill up.

I asked him, “What do you do?

I'm the driver.” The coin dropped.

Some 'passengers' left. Then it dawned on me that these people were the driver's clique, sitting in the MPV to give the erroneous impression that the vehicle was full and thus poised to leave. A scam.

A local man, short with curly hair and moustache, carrying a brief case made a timely appearance as the day was heating up.

The MPV finally left for Bukit Tinggi. Another hour wasted.

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