Friday, March 27, 2009

Padang to Lake Maninjau

Man in blue shirt on right hustling for passengers for airport bus

Wanderings in West Sumatra, Indonesia
(Singapore to Padang, Bukit Tinggi and Lake Maninjau)

After immigration clearance at Padang airport in West Sumatra, which was hassle-free and fast, I poppped into a toilet to do my usual "Superman" act -changing out of my formal long-sleeved shirt and long pants into my casual cargo shorts and sleeveless T-shirt. The toilet attendant stared at me, perhaps wondering what this lunatic was up to.

Afraid I might miss the airport bus, I hurried out. Taxi touts shouted "taxi?" but I ignored them and acted as though I've lived in Padang for 20 years. Fortunately, the Damri bus was parked next to the airport.

"Minang Plaza?" I asked a uniformed guy leaning against the bus. He nodded.

"Ongkos-nya berapa?"(How much is the fare?).

"Tiga belas ribu," the guy said. (13,000 Rp)

I hopped energetically on board, relieved that I'd made it on time.

Glancing at my cheap Casio watch (bought specifically for the trip), I noticed it was still very early. Hmm...good, still 9.30AM. I like to arrive in a foreign land early.

After 30 minutes, we were still going no where. All that haste wasted. I could have had my breakfast or explored the airport or something.

Only when the bus was full after about an hour did the driver materialise, and drive away.

This perfectly gives meaning to the Indonesian culture of "rubber time".


  1. Patience is a virtue. Can't travel the way you do. Too slow. But then, that's the way to spend a holiday. Reeeelax.

  2. I mean for people who are YAH YAH ! Hehe. Yes, backpacking is not for everyone. Not only does it require time and patience as you mentioned but confidence and courage as well.

  3. There is also the health issue. I am in my seventies and will find it difficult to backpack. It will be wonderful if the Indonesian authorities organise travel packages from Djakarta and other major towns in the territory to accommodate people like me and my wife.
    Anthony Knight.