Dear Padang. I think I kind of love you in a weird way.

IndonesiaJakarta escapesWest Sumatra

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Padang blue sky

Pantai Padang

People told me Padang isn’t amazing.  That it’s just a place to go to so you can get to Bukittinggi or the Mentawai islands.  Well, I’ve been in Padang for six or seven hours so far and I have to respectfully disagree.

The locals are so friendly, especially the kids.  When I was down at the rather pleasant but choppy-looking beach, and walking around, I had an obscene amount of “hello missus, hello mister” like everywhere else because there aren’t that many foreigners visiting here these days apparently. But here the kids were so curious and interested and made the time to have a bit of a conversation with me, either in Indonesian or English.  They all wanted their photos taken down the beach at sunset, and they were asking me questions about Australia that I really didn’t have the language ability to answer very well!

Kid: What things are in Australia?
Me: Umm.  Many beaches and many animals.  It is hot, like Indonesia.

What a compelling description by me!  The kids weren’t hitting me up for cash either, which is always refreshing.

The only unpleasant thing I had was a man scream out from the side of the road “berapa kilo missus?”, essentially asking my weight.  Nice.  I also got really hassled at the airport by taxi drivers when I was waiting for the public bus. Also, in just a few short hours, I have been repeatedly asked about why I am “sendiri” (on my own), whether I have a husband yet and why not.  But I’m used to that by now, so whatever.

I went for a big walk around the town, and while it’s nothing “amazing” when you have seen a lot of Indonesian towns, it’s so nice and laid back compared to Jakarta, and it’s not touristy, which is also refreshing.  I also had a nice local woman walk with me for a while… she was going to pick up her daughter from school.  She pointed out some of the Minangkabau (the local culture) buildings on the way, which I will probably write about later.  The architecture is very unique.

So Padang is home to the famous famous Padang-style restaurants that are everywhere in Indonesia, belting out rendang and other delights.  I loooooove Padang food, but everyone has told me that it’s not actually anything special in Padang (weird!), so I haven’t been to a Padang resto yet.  But I grabbed lunch and dinner at some seaside warungs and had some of the most amazing seafood I’ve had while in Indonesia.  Which is saying a lot, because seafood here is generally pretty damn amazing.  I will write more about the food in a separate post.

Day one in West Sumatra (well, a half day really by the time I flew here) was really nice.  And I have already taken 190 photos to sort through.  I think I’m going to do some more walking here in the morning and then catch the bus up to Bukittinggi in the mountains.

Yes, and obviously I ended up bringing my laptop.  I’m not a flashpacker, I swear! (she says while drinking Heineken in a wifi-enabled cafe)

Many more pics will come later.

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