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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Padang - Bukit Tinggi Babymoon : Grand Zuri Hotel, Pantai Air Manis, Kelok 44, Danau Maninjau

We checked out from the hotel and started the journey back to Padang. I have briefed the main “supir” that we wanted to use the route called Kelok 44, heading down to Lake Maninjau a.k.a. Danau Maninjau, for some popular local consumption as well as outside market. There are called “pensi” (small mussel) and “palai rinuak” (small fish). 

Down the road, we saw familiar view, like what we used to see back in our country. Borderless paddy fields and hills. The weather was quite breezy when we approached the hill top of famous Kelok 44 (44 corners). The corners were pretty sharp and the winding road made all of us felt like in a rollercoaster. Even with an unborn baby in my belly, I still had fun. In fact, hubby and I both backed-up each other (we were sitting both left and right side of the car) in capturing all 44 corners. (Well, we missed one corner…dang!)
TIPS: If you want to capture all 44 signboards, please do not sleep. The numbers are descending. The challenges will be trees and lamp posts that cover the boards, and the boards are located either left or right side of the road. So it is recommended to have two cameras with auto mode on, or else, quickly slide to left and right at every corners. Haha!

When we were just about to reach the Lake Maninjau, I noticed one familiar house which exactly the same like the house that I found on Google during info gathering for my Trip Cookbook. That green Minangkabau rooftop was the most captured house at Lake Maninjau due to its location by the lake side.
We then stopped at one of the corners for quick “business”. To my surprise, they did have toilets or WC along the roadside and the water came directly from the hill. And the water was super cold! Don’t ask me where does it go but the toilet is build right on the drain. Oh and no charges to do your “business” ok! 
The two “supir” then parked the cars next to the green mosque where we had a very interesting experience. There were lots of local mini resto along the small road. These locals are ethnically Minangkabau who are mainly doing aquaculture using karamba floating net cages. These cages are used to harvest that notable small fish and mussel, which I mentioned earlier.
We went to one of the mini resto across the road and spent some time with two of the cooks and watch them cleaning the fish and fried them in different shapes with different ingredients. It was fun to watch but the kitchen area? Scary to those who are super hygienic. I mean, not that filthy, like “kampong” style la, but still…haha! Well, I had no issue with it.
So these fish crackers were sold in packets and they were really cheap (approximately RM3-RM5 each) and tasty! We almost cleared all on the shelves as the cook fried them right there and then.
TIPS : If you are really into local food, try these fish crackers. We ate and we survive, so don’t worry. Hehe!

We then walked towards the lake side and enjoyed the scenic view of Lake Maninjau (Maninjau means overlook or observation). This caldera lake located just 36km from Bukittingi and was formed by none other than volcanic eruption around 52,000 years ago. It is being approximately 16km long, 7km wide, and 105m depth (max depth is 165m), and being used to generate hydroelectric power for West Sumatera.
The lake looked so calm and serene. Saw few locals doing their daily routine, fishing, washing clothes, and such. We didn’t spend much time on this as we need to rush back to Padang, to visit another tourist spot that is Malin Kundang at Pantai Air Manis.
It was a long journey back to Padang via Pariaman but having a quite informative “supir” was kind of helpful. Like what we always did during travel, we exchanged info and talked about culture, politic, and what not. 
The beach was quite near and we didn’t take long time to reach it. But came to our surprise, we had to pay to enter the beach area! Like…it was an open beach, come onnnn… Well, when there’s a place to see, there’s a price to pay…only in Indonesia. Hehe! Well, that’s what locals are forced to do…to survive.
The beach was quite long so the two “supir” just drove our car on the beach sand towards where Malin Kundang is situated. We found it safe as other locals were doing the same with their vehicles. The shoreline was obviously vacant as the sea water was somehow, distance.
Ok, back to Malin Kundang. This legendary site is located almost at the end of the shore, right in front of few local “warung” and kiosks selling handicrafts made from coral. Malin Kundang was pretty much similar to our legend, Si Tanggang, who was cursed to stone by his mother, for his refusal to acknowledging her as his mother, after traveling to another region and becoming rich. See, never, ever, disobey your mom, or you’ll end up being like these two legends, ok! (I will definitely scare Ixora with this legend!)
So at this site, there were Malin Kundang in capsized position and several pieces of his equipment from his wrecked ship, which everything were also becoming stones. While screening all these stones, I strongly agree that these stones are untrue but only untrue. Haha! (Feel free to throw your view.)
Anyway, we did enjoy the visit and had fun photo-snapping with “him” before we proceed to walk around the beach, overlooking the big island called Pisang Besar Island and small island called Pisang Kecil Island.
TIPS : If you have much time to explore this island, you can rent a motor boat and visit Sikuai Island. Not sure whether you can walk there during low tide.
Later that evening, we checked in at Grand Zuri Hotel, sorted out our souvenirs, and had a night stay, where we flew back to Malaysia the next day. At Padang Airport, we were surprised with the locals who waited to wave their friends and family from outside the airport fence. 
Thank God, with Allah’s will, I had a very smooth and easy journey despite of heavily pregnant to my (NOW) almost 2 year’s baby girl, Ixora (not in the picture).


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