Saturday, March 28, 2009

Padang to Lake Maninjau via Bukit Tinggi (West Sumatra)

At Minang Plaza, Padang, someone grabbed my bag and said, "Come, we're going to leave." He led me to his MPV but on realising that he wanted to squash me between three other passengers in a bench seat at the back, I beat a hasty retreat.

The MPV behind looked more promising, half full. Someone took my bag and placed in at the back of the MPV. I chatted with the friendly old man beside me.

I asked him, "What do you do?"

"Saya supir," he said offhandedly (I'm the driver).The coin dropped.

Someone outside kept shouting "Bukit Tinggi" at anything that moved. Gradually, the MPV filled up but to my surprise some passengers were vacating their seats!

Then it dawned on me that these "passengers" were part of the driver's clique to give the impression that their MPV was full, and therefore poised for departure.

A common practice in Indonesia.

After 45 minutes of waiting, we departed for Bukit Tinggi. About time. Aha, rubber time - part of Indonesian culture.

TIP: Padang to Bukit Tinggi costs 18,000 Rp by MPV (shared) SGD$1=7500Rp (apppro)

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