Jan 22, 2010
We flew from Singapore to Padang, on the western coast of Sumatra, with the intention of going to the Mentawai islands. With good surf, beautiful beaches, and primitive tribes still living in the jungle interior, Mentawai sounded like a fantastic place to visit. Unfortunately, we got to Padang 2 hours after the ferry left for the islands, and the next one to the island we wanted to visit wasn't for another 4 days. The fact that we didn’t have time to wait notwithstanding, Padang is a dirty city, with trash littering the sidewalks and not much to do, so we booked a bus to Bukhitinggi, in the interior of Sumatra, instead. We had about 4 hours to kill until our bus left so we wandered to the bustling market, where we received a lot of attention for being the only boulay (foreigners) there. We ate a delicious padang (see pic) meal (because you have to in Padang!), and then grabbed a beer and sat outside our hotel to drink it and wait for our bus to pick us up. After a few minutes, a group of about 10 surfers from Peru showed up and struck up a conversation with us. It turned out, being from Peru, they had a bottle of Pisco, a Peruvian liquor. Before long, the bottle of Pisco was empty and we all headed next door to the bar, where we commenced a random dance party in the middle of the day. It was a blast! They were leaving that evening for a 10 day surfing trip to the Mentawai islands, where they would stay on the boat the whole time. They invited us to join them. Tempted, we considered canceling our bus to Bukhitinggi, but realizing that 10 days would cut short our time in the rest of Sumatra, we reluctantly decided to go with our original plan and hopped on a bus in the pouring rain for a windy, miserable 5 hour bus ride. This is the kind of randomness that defines travelling and I love it!