Friday, October 12, 2012

West Sumatra, Indonesia... at our Leisure

On Sept. 19 Alli and I took off for two weeks to West Sumatra, Indonesia. What I really enjoy about traveling with the Lady is that we both like taking it slow and not cramming too much mumbo jumbo into our itinerary. Sometimes we have tourists come by JTP here on Tioman and in a couple weeks they've gone to about 5 or 6 countries in SE Asia. They're pretty stoked, but to us it sounds exhausting. After a lot of non-stop work lately (turtles plus development, school kids, volunteers, overhauling our operating procedures, etc.) we were ready for a holiday. Side note: holiday over here is how they say vacation - British English rules in this part of the globe. And feel free at any time to skip over this here writing and just glance at the photos. Alli also published an album on Facebook, which you can view here. *** And remember: all photos on the blog can be enlarged by clicking on 'em.
One big ol' parasitic flower called Rafflesia outside Bukittinggi. The face scale says it all - their huge! And only "bloom" for 7-10 days before they die and end up smelling like putrid rotting flesh, or some other gross description. 
We flew from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Padang on the western coast of Sumatra. I got to peep the Indian Ocean for the first time from the plane's window. But this was no beach excursion (we didn't even want the option to look at no dang sea turtles!), we wanted jungle, volcanoes, and freshwater lakes. Plus some coffee luwak too, which is when wild civet cats poop out coffee beans and after awhile it becomes coffee sitting in a cup in front of you. Trust me, it's delectable. So we said adios to the coast and from there we journeyed up to Bukittinggi (BT) for 3 nights, Harau Valley (6N), Lake Maninjau (3N) and closed it out with one night in Padang the day we flew out. West Sumatra was glorious and all the Indonesians we met were super friendly, helpful and a blast to chat with; they also got quite the chuckle when we spoke Bahasa. Hopefully we can make it back there again. Instead of driveling on and on about the whole holiday, I'll let a few select photos tell the story. Enjoy everyone. I'll be kicking the blog into high gear again, starting now.

Alli enjoying Nasi Padang cuisine in BT! They bring you all these dishes and you just eat what you want.  Can't beat that.
Our bungalow in Harau Valley. This was by far the highlight of the trip. Notice the tall waterfall in the upper left. This valley was like Indonesia's version of Yosemite (alright the rocks weren't that big), with rice paddies, numerous waterfalls and scattered housing in the valley. Excellent trekking here too (another British term sneaking in).
We trekked up to the top of the rock on the right. The view from there is 3 photos away
Going up next to a steep drop off.
On top moving through jungle.

View from the top. One of the best lunch spots I've ever ate at. The river winds through the middle of the rocks.
Sweaty shining people smiling. 
Fern hats make everything better. Like bacon.
Open air bathroom in Harau. You could get your view and squat on, but not at the same time. 
Rhino beetles! Fitting name I think.
One day we did the jungle trek, the next a mosey around the countryside that ended up at a very far away waterfall.

Trekking power couple, I tell you what.

First frog seen in Harau!
An Indonesian staple and specialty - Gado-gado. Full of sticky rice, noodles, veggies and drowned in peanut sauce and spice.
My stomach couldn't handle the Gado-gado (or some other Indonesian spice) so the owner of the homestay  hooked me up with some black pills. He said the black pill is the way to go if your stomach is hurtin.' It worked great.
Sunset in Harau Valley.
View of Lake Maninjau. It's frickin' gorgeous (said in my best NY/NJ accent). This is one of my favorite photos from the trip.
Same scene as above but at sunset.
View from up top. Still gorgeous. Afterward we then walked back down to the lake.
Enthusiastically finding Alli some pink jungle flowers. She loved this trek until we entered leech city, then the race to get to the bottom started.
My (not so) gorgeous arm fungus/rash I picked up after trekking in Sumatra. I still got it, but the initial wave of rash is now receding and the tide has subsided.
Boiling part of our dinner (veggie skewers!) on a sidewalk in KL.
Deep fried skewers too! Bacon and pork are definitely represented. So is delicious grease.

The buffet of skewers available. Superb selection we thought.

A welcome home scorpion waiting for me at JTP! It had taken up residence on my hand towel.

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