Bukittinggi – Kersik Tuo

Friday morning two weeks ago Ferdi drove me to the central bus which is situated in the town, which is unusual for Indonesia. Typically they’re situated inconveniently a few kilometres outside the town. I bought a ticket for a shared minivan and luckily got the seat infront. But I’m not sure if by accident, or if they charged me just more because I’m a foreigner. The advantage of this seat is also that you can “enjoy” the full power of the sound system, as the driver turned on directly the EDM music. But this time I was prepared, just used my earplugs and was listening to my own music. The car left even 15 minutes earlier that expected in order to pick up another guy, so it was a good decision to be 30 minutes before departure at the bus station. After that he was speeding as always, but also didn’t stopped at all in order to pick up or look for other passengers. Also there was no stop during lunch time, as it would be a bit useless for them during Ramadan. But also for this I was for prepared with snacks and drinks, because as Christian the 40 days fasting time is before Easter. Hence I’m for sure not fasting now. After squeezing between Marapi mountain we descended to lake Singkarak, where the remains of the old railway track from Padang to Muaro are still visible, but in a bad shape. Due to a landslide in the Anai Canyon before Padang Panjang the direct connection to Padang is already interrupted since the 1980’s. Until a few years ago there was still an operation from Padang Panjang to the railway museum of Sawahlunto, but probably due to only a few people this was not really economic successful. The railway section Padang Panjang – Bukittinggi – Payakumbuh disappeared completely and is nowadays build over. During the Japanese occupation in WWII a railway between Muaro and Pekanbaru was built mainly by forced labourer from Java and some POW’s. It had similar death counts than the railway between Thailand and Myanmar, but as it was just finished at the date of the Japanese surrender, it was never in operation and decayed soon after it’s completion. In essence there is no functional railway at the moment in this area and I needed to take a bus again. Shortly behind Solok we left the main highway and the road deteriorated to a track across the fields. Now this small lane winded up the mountains step by step until we reached the highlands of Kerinci with the largest tea plantation of the world. I ask the driver for a specific home stay but eventually was just kicked off, at another one directly at the main street in Kersik Tuo. As my remaining quota of my SIM card is still only valid for Batam (no I’m for sure not going back to Batam just to use my data), that’s by the way definitely a scam of telkomsel, I was looking for some WiFi in the village. But even there were a lot of cafés, non of them had WiFi, and I asked at several ones. The people in the village were very friendly and also called a “hello mister” once they saw me.

Squeezing between two volcanoes
Descending to lake Singkarak
The remainings of the old railway track are still evident
Lake Singkarak is embedded between several mountains
Burning the straw directly on the rice paddies is the default technology to get rid of it…it’s like a no-brainer, but in essence very easy
For sure it’s an official road, and not just a track across the fields
The children in the tea plantation no longer cared about their kites after they saw me
My bus ticket

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