Saturday, September 12, 2009

CYCLE MINANGKABAU : DAY 4 (R&R DAY)

27th JULY 2009

Bukit Tinggi sits at 900m above sea level. It is a retreat for the Padang folks. It is usually on the visit list of Malaysian tourists. It is cool, cool as in temperature not cool as understood by the youngs of today. There are no air-conditioners in the hotels. By my own conclusion, the ozone level in Bukit Tinggi is therefore thicker.

It rained the night before, reducing the temperature a few notches lower. Splendid day for rest & recreation. Today we walk. Today we gave our bicycles a rest. Not that the bikes required the rest. Actually the owners did not require the rest either. We rested well on the bus ride from Batu Sangkar to Bukit Tinggi yesterday. The bikes too rested well on the roof of the bus.

Who cares! We were on a cycling holiday, not a cycling marathon. So we took our time to get off the bed. After all, we paid a quarter million (Rupiah) for a VIP suite. We should maximise our stay.

For a quarter million, breakfast was included, with choices too. Nasi goreng or toast. A tough choice between western or local delicacy. Wow.

There was a bicycle race end of April. On this trip, we also covered a major part of the route of Tour de Singkarak 2009. However, our own "Tour de Singkarak" saw a race of two brothers attempting to over-eat each other.


We would do some exploring today. I felt like half local, wearing the seluar panjang Jawa bought yesterday for RM10. The road was still wet from the rain the night before and a very light drizzle greeted us. We headed out towards the centre of the town.We would explore Bukit Tinggi on foot.

Bukit Tinggi is the twin town of Seremban. Naturally so as Negri Sembilan's roots and lineage originated from Minangkabau. The Negri dialect too takes after the Minangkabau slang.

The Minang feature of the buffalo horn could be seen at several places. Even the Fire Station building had this feature.
First on our program was to the Lubang Jepang site. We seeked direction from a young lady. She not only pointed the direction but also walked us to the site which was about 15mins walk away. We were impressed with such hospitality.

Lubang Jepang as the name implies is actually an underground bunker built by the Japanese during its occupation of Indonesia in World War II. Bukit Tinggi was the HQ of the Japanese Army. In the heat of war, The Japs knew where to go to cool off.

As it is now a tourist site, we paid several thousand Rupiahs for the visit. On hand to welcome us was this "Japanese" soldier instructing us where to go. I don't think we dared detour elsewhere!

My late mother used to tell us fear stories of the Japanese invasion when we were kids. History will tell us that the Japanese invasion of Malaya started on the beaches of Kelantan. The Kelantanese felt the first brunt of the onsalught. I was however, nowhere in my mother's womb yet. By the way, the Japanese army made their progressive invasion of the rest of Malaya on....what else...bicycles!
So it was with the faint stories of the Japanese invasion that we made our way to the entrance of the hideout. We chose not to go down the 152-steps into the hole though there was an eager freelance tour guide urging us down. We were told there are chambers (rooms) down there for various purposes, including for torture of prisoners. We came in peace and have no intention of being reminded of the atrocities of war.

After some pictures, we moved away from the Lubang Jepang and had a quick look at the valley of Ngiarah Sianok. Sianok means Canyon. It is a very small canyon and tomorrow we would be descending down on the winding road of this canyon on our way to Danau Maninjau.
Across the road from Lubang Jepang is a war museum. Unfortunately it was "tidak terbuka untuk umum" though the signboard indicated otherwise. There was no caretaker for us to ask when it will be "terbuka".

We walked back to the town centre. The smell of Ikan Bakar was in the air and our nostrils quickly directed us to where it was happening. I guessed there was an instant connection from the nostrils to the brain. The brain quickly sent hunger signals to the stomach of the two brothers. Pondok Ikan Bakar Suri served lunch to a full crowd. 4 branches in Bukit Tinggi alone and 3 others outside Bkt Tinggi told us we were at the right place.

So in ala Nasi Padang style, the arrays of dishes were laid for us to savor. So, Mdm Dancing Chicken, I am fulfilling your request in your previous comment on my blog to show you what you have missed! I know la you tengah mengidam!

Fully satiated for a small damage of Rupiah 36,000 (RM10), we continued to do some window shopping. Men being men, we really could not put too many hours doing what women would find lack of time to do.

In no time, we were back to our VIP suite to laze around and await tomorrow's ride to Danau Maninjau to drop in to Bapak Hamka's residence.

6 comments:

Al-Manar said...

ARZ
I am truly lost for words, feeling the atmosphere of the place and realising the historical value of those specific spots you mentioned.C'Highlands has nothing to offer by comparison.
Pakcik

oops did I just say that? said...

u never bring us for historical tours wan...

ARZ said...

Pak Chik,
Cameron Highlands has a different attraction. I suppose CH can boast of the history of tea plantations and the disapperance of the Silk King which till today remained a history.
Beyond Bkt Tinggi, there are others areas I have not explored. Insyallah, reserved for future trips

ARZ said...

Mimi,

Perhaps so. Admittedly, I wasn't very much into history in my younger days. Neither did any of you showed any inclinations towards that.
But we were all into active sports. So, you kids got to go skiing and golfing and trekking into the Endau Rompin and visited islands off Johor.

Of course you all got to enjoy mowing our lawns too. Oh, how I enjoyed watching you all enjoy the mowing!!!

Ardy said...

at Pasar Atas did you try "dadieh" its a kind of yogurt, made in bambu, delicious, try it next time.

ARZ said...

Ardy,
I wanted to try Nasi Kapau but forgot about it. Didnt know about their Dadieh, but I'm not a big fan of yogurt. Anyway if it's special there I may try