Hanya ada Noah yang mendengkur tergelepar karena efek residual dari mabuk semalam di De Kock Cafe lantai 1. Aku berusaha tetap senyap untuk berguyur di shower ujung kamar. Bahkan hingga aku telah siap berkelana pun, dengkurnya tak berubah nada sama sekali.
Cafe bawah tetap terbuka lebar tanpa penjaga saat aku meninggalkan penginapan dengan kondisi setengah gelap, sepi dan dingin yang masih menusuk.
Menyusuri jalanan yang sama ketika petang kemarin berburu pesona Jam Gadang, hanya saja, kali ini hanya aku seorang diri yang terlihat sangat tergesa dalam sunyinya pagi.
Bank Nagari dan Novotel kembali kusalip begitu saja tanpa ekspresi, aku sudah melihatnya sore kemarin. Begitupun, kulewati Jam Gadang tanpa impresi. Sama, mungkin karena aku telah merenggut pesonanya sehari lalu. Aku hanya berfikir untuk segera mendaratkan langkah di sebuah taman kota.
Namun, sebelum memasuki taman, aku sedikit tertarik dengan pesona bangunan besar berwarna kuning emas. Adalah Balai Sidang Bung Hatta yang menjadi Convention Center andalan di Kota Bukittinggi.
Pukul 07:10, aku mulai memasuki taman itu, berada menjorok di bawah permukaan Jalan Istana yang ada di baratnya. Sedangkan gedung tinggi abu-abu milik Bank BNI Bukittinggi membatasi pandangan mata di timurnya.
Focal point dari taman terletak pada tugu hitam artistik di lingkaran tengahnya. Itulah Tugu Pahlawan Tak Dikenal yang didesain oleh seniman pahat asal Kota Padang Panjang, Hoerijah Adam. Nama Hoerijah Adam sendiri kemudian diabadikan menjadi nama Bengkel Bari di Taman Ismail Marzuki paska kecelakaan pesawat Merpati Nusantara jenis Vickers Viscount yang ditungganginya di Samudra Hindia.
Tugu ini dibangun untuk mengenang perlawanan para pahlawan yang tak bisa dikenali secara pasti dalam menentang Kolonialisme Belanda pada tanggal 5 Juni 1905. Perlawanan itu sendiri terjadi karena penolakan penerapan pajak pendapatan sebesar 2% untuk kaum pribumi atas segala bentuk usaha perdagangan yang dilakukan.
Peletakan batu pertama dilakukan oleh Jenderal Abdul Haris Nasution pada 15 Juni 1963 yang kala itu menjabat sebagai Kepala Staff ABRI. Dan dua tahun kemudian tugu ini diresmikan.
Pada satu sisi monumen, diletakkan kutipan lantang seorang sastrawan terkenal yang juga merupakan Pahlawan Nasional Indonesia, tak lain adalah Muhammad Yamin:
“Mati Luhur Tak Berkubur
Memutuskan Jiwa Meninggalkan Nama
Menjadi Awan Di Angkasa
Menjadi Buih Di Lautan
Semerbak Harumnya Di Udara”
Ternyata, Bukittinggi menyimpan banyak sejarah perjuangan bangsa yang baru kuketahui setelah mengunjunginya.
Asyik ya….Jalan-jalan sembari mengenal sejarah bangsa.
It’s so easy to order travel and bus services in Sumatra Island. Pick up the phone, mention the destination, convey the departure time then ask what time to get ready at travel or bus office!….No need to pay in advance….Then you will arrive at your destination if you aren’t late to come to their office.
INTRA Bus from Pematang Siantar to Pekanbaru….
Travel Annanta from Pekanbaru to Bukittinggi….
Now, an easy procedure was repeated for Maestro Travel from Bukittinggi to Padang….
The last day in Bukittinggi or if calculated from the beginning of my journey is my sixth day in Sumatra land, I recounted my journey with Maestro Travel when I began to phone call a woman front office staff at eight in the morning on departure day.
“You will sit in the back seat and please come half an hour before departure time, Uda (Uda is designation for brother in West Sumatra). Prepare a fare for about USD 3! “, She simply said.
I rushed to De Kock Hotel after my last visitation in Panorama Park. No time to took a shower again, I thought only one, tonight I would arrive in Jakarta and would soak with warm water in my bucket at home ….As long as I want….Hahaha.
Black Vixion (Vixion is brand name of Yamaha motorbike in Indonesia) picked me up on hotel terrace then drove fast through density of Sudirman Street to Maestro Travel office, three kilometers away. In fifteen minutes I arrived. Entering the office, I was greeted by a veiled young woman, I handed over the fare and held a ticket to Padang.
There were still twenty minutes left before travel car arrived. According to the front office staff, travel car were still driving around to picking up passengers at their respective homes. I just decided to go to a small restaurant around the office and order a serving of “Pecel Ayam” (Pecel Ayamisrice withfried chicken and chili sauce) and a glass of water. This time I ate it very quickly, like a snake swallowing a hedgehog….Uppsss.
I arrived back at travel office in situation that travel car was ready and all passengers seemed to be looking towards me. Apparently I was awaited by all the passengers, I hope they weren’t upset.
Middle seat and next to the driver were occupied by a small family package. Husband and wife, their little daughter and husband’s mother-in-law. While I sat in back seat with a Slovak named Boris. A young postman, bald-headed, thin-bodied and a hobby looking for silence.
In back seat we talked all the way. The story began with impression of his journey in Kazakhstan where no one bothered him when he went up the mountain alone. Then it continues on to his habit that he will feel dizzy when working in an office, therefore he chose to be a postman in Slovakia.
“Why is this car passing a small road like this? Can we arrive at the airport on time?”, he said to me.
“I think that driver is trying to get through the faster road, Boris …. Hahaha”, I answered.
“If he fails, It’s not funny….Not funny”, he was panicked. Indeed, his flight schedule was only one hour from estimated time of arrival which was said by Google Maps on my smartphone.
I tried to distract by continuing to talk. I didn’t know how the begining theme, so we could talk about Indonesian 0 km point in Sabang, Ijen Crater, Probolinggo, Lazada e-commerce, and secondhand iPhones which he thought it was cheap if purchased in Indonesia. One more thing, we discussed about direct flights from Manado to Manila. Until family head who sat next to the driver explained to Boris that that flight didn’t exist.
I passed a waterfall at the edge of road, I knew it was “Lembah Anai” Waterfall. That means I was forty kilometers from Padang City. Boris asked me to stopping the driver and allowed him to buy some mineral water, expensive if he had to buy it at airport. I thought it didn’t need to stop, I have some supply of bottled mineral water. It was result of collected it from Sri Indrayani Hotel in Pekanbaru, Annanta Travel and De Kock Hotel in Bukittinggi. I gave him two bottles. “I really appreciate you, Donny … very much appreciate,” he said while patting my arm.
That was my farewell to him, he must get off at Minangkabau International Airport and heading to Malang. That family package would go to Bandung. While I would head to Padang downtown to explore it for four hours, considering I would back to Jakarta at eight o’clock at night.
There was only Noah who snoring flounder due to residual effects of drunk last night at De Kock Cafe’s 1st floor. I tried to remain quiet to bath under shower at edge of room. Even until I was ready to wander, his snoring didn’t change at all.
Cafe’s 1st floor remained wide open without a guard when I left hotel in half-dark, quiet and still cold.
Down through same road when yesterday afternoon hunting for the charm of Gadang Clock Tower, only this time, I was alone who looked very rushed in the quiet of morning.
Nagari Bank and Novotel were once again overtaken without expression, I had seen them yesterday afternoon. Likewise, I passed Gadang Clock Tower without any impression. Same, maybe because I snatched its charm a day ago. I just thought to immediately landing my step in a city park.
However, before entering the park, I was a little interested in the charm of a golden yellow large building. It is Balai Sidang Bung Hatta as mainstay Convention Center in Bukittinggi city.
On 7:10 hours, I began to enter the park which is located under Istana Street surface in west. While a gray high building which is owned by Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) Bukittinggi limited my eyes to east.
Park focal point lies in an artistic black monument in its middle circle. That’s the Unknown Heroes Monument which was designed by sculpture artists from Padang Panjang City, i.e Hoerijah Adam. Hoerijah Adam name itself was later enshrined as a name of Dance Workshop in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta after Merpati Nusantara airplane accident of Vickers Viscount type which she rode in the Indian Ocean.
This monument was built to commemorate heroes resistance who couldn’t be identified with certainty in opposing Dutch Colonialism on June 5th, 1905. The resistance itself was due to application rejection of a 2% income tax for natives over all forms of trade which they undertaken.
Laying of the first stone was carried out by General Abdul Haris Nasution on June 15th, 1963 who was then serving as Chief of Armed Forces Staff. And two years later this monument was inaugurated.
On one side of monument, there is a loud quote from a famous writer who is also an Indonesia National Hero, none other than Muhammad Yamin:
“Noble Dead without Tomb
Deciding Soul and Leaving Name
Become Cloud in Space
Becoming Froth in Ocean
Spread Out Its Fragrant in Air“
As it turned out, Bukittinggi kept a lot of history of nation struggle which I had only just found out after visiting it.
It was fun….Backpacking while getting to know about nation history.
Walking through Veteran Street, I slowly approached De Kock Hotel to check-in. Cool and peaceful is an image in my head about Bukittinggi when I arrived.
1. Limpapeh Bridge
Halfway to hotel, I was fascinated by a suspension bridge. It is the Limpapeh Bridge which stretches over Ahmad Yani Street. It was built in 1992 and have function as a link between Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan and Fort De Kock Fortress area. Stretching along ninety meters with approximately three meters in width, making this bridge so dashing visible from Ahmad Yani Street.
2. GadangClock Tower
A bottle of coca cola closed my check-in session as well as a starting marker for my exploration around Pasar Atas that afternoon. Walking through Yos Sudarso Street with up-down contour, my steps arrived at a phenomenal landmark which is famous throughout Indonesia.
Gadang Clock Tower, a landmark which was given by Queen Wilhelmina, looked dashing. Needed long time in waiting for different color lights to appear and illuminated entire this giant clock tower as a marker of switching from evening to night. Because of its fame, Gadang Clock Tower has been designated as Kilometer Zero Point of Bukittinggi City. “Gonjong” shaped roof or roof style which was commonly used in “Gadang House” (typical house of West Sumatra) makes this European architectural art possess a local customs wealth.
3. Bukittinggi Plaza
Major renovations at Sabai Nan Aluih Park, made me only able to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower from mall courtyard which is located opposite this big clock tower.
Bukittinggi Plaza in the last few years had became the best mall in Bukittinggi. Ramayana (Indonesia’s prominent department stores) becomes main player which occupies seventy percent of overall mall capacity.
4. Bukittinggi Grand Mosque
Fun in enjoying the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower almost made me lose Maghrib Prayers. I tried to trace azan origin several minutes before. Heading north, I finally arrived at Bukittinggi Grand Mosque.
The mosque which in earthquake 2007 became a refuge for residents who evacuated because of damage which was caused by the massive earthquake.
5. Pasar Atas Bukittinggi
Grand mosque which is precisely located in the center of Pasar Atas (a famous market in Bukittinggi) made me interested to explore road towards Pasar Atas. Dark which continued to devour the day, made shop owners began to close them one by one.
Pasar Atas is a market which places several sellers of Kapau Rice, Ampiang Dadiah Ice and Sanjai Crackers which are favorite crackers for souvenirs which were bought by Bukittinggi visitors.
Hungry stomach has forced myself to immediately look for dinner. Dinner under Limpapeh Bridge finally closed my two hours exploration on my first night in Bukittinggi
6. Unknown Hero Monument
My second day exploration began with leaving the hotel on a quiet morning. Even residents’ activities hadn’t been seen. Quiet and cold didn’t dampen my steps to visit Unknown Heroes Monument.
This monument was built to commemorate heroes who couldn’t be identified in opposing Dutch Colonialism on 1905. The monument with a circular shaped ornament of large dragon and on its top stands a statue of a young man who holding a flag.
7. Bung Hatta Proclamator Park Monument
While across the front of monument, there is a park with a black statue of Bung Hatta. Known as Bung Hatta Proclamator Park, this park was dedicated to Mohammad Hatta, the native son of Bukittinggi who proclaimed Indonesian independence with Ir. Sukarno.
8.Janjang Ampek Puluah
Returning to Cindua Mato Street which I passed last night, I headed for a connecting stairway between Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah also Pasar Banto (three markets in Bukittinggi). A steep concrete staircase with forty stairs which is 112-year-old. This is embodiment of public facilities integration in past time. At that time, Dutch East Indies Government and several local powers agreed to connect every market in Bukittinggi, one of which was by making janjang or stairs.
9. Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum
Coming out of lower gate and passing through Banto Trade Centre which looked unkempt, I headed to Bung Hatta residence when he was a child. Even though this house is actually only a reconstruction building, but its interior arrangement and exterior appearance are made as closely as possible to condition of the original house which has collapsed. If you want to know about life history behind Muhammad Hatta glory in his political career, then come to this place.
10. Fort De Kock
After visiting Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum, I intended to walk to Fort de Kock through Pemuda Street with quite a long climb walking and meanders from south to north. But apparently I wasn’t strong in middle of journey, I called for online transportation to drive me at Fort de Kock front gate.
Fort de Kock was built by Captain Bauer in 1825 on Jirek Hill as the defense dome of Dutch East Indies Government in facing popular resistance i.e Paderi War which led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Indonesia’s national hero).
11. Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan
From Fort de Kock, I just needed to cross Limpapeh Suspension Bridge to a famous zoo in Bukittinggi.
Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan is one of the oldest zoos in Indonesia and the only one in West Sumatra with the most complete collection of animals on Sumatra island.
12. Baanjuang Traditional House Museum
As the zoo grew, in 1935 the Baanjuang Traditional House was built in it.
Functioned as a museum, this traditional house is dedicated to elevating the traditional culture of Minangkabau people. Its inside were exhibited various clothes, jewelries and typical Minang art tools.
Not far away….In northeast of the zoo, there is a Zoological Museum with Sumatran tiger and goldfish as its icons. The museum was established in conjunction with a similar museum at Bogor in 1894. Two thousand species of animal are preserved and exhibited in this museum.
I left Fort de Kock from its entrance. My next destination was Sianok Canyon. A valley formed by natural fracture, has a wall which is perpendicular to Sianok River which flowing in the middle. But it was unfortunate that the rain fell so heavily. After getting off from an online motorcycle taxi, I felt like I was hopeless and just waited for rain to stop. Under a tree, I continued to observe valley in a side of Sianok Canyon.
15. Japanese Tunnel
The rain began to thin but still never let up. It caused my hope to enjoying the canyon for a longer time had to ending. I get a online motorcycle taxi with middle-aged women as the rider. Under light drizzle, I headed for Panorama Park.
Before exploring Panorama Park, I made time to explore the longest defensive hole in Asia. A Japanese tunnel made by order of Lieutenant General Moritake Tanabe, 25th Division of Japanese Army Commander. Very deep, long and amazing.
Finally the closing visit fell at Panorama Park, a large park with two entrances on edge of Panorama Steet. With a ticket for USD 1.1, I tried to enjoy this shady garden in my last seconds in Bukittinggi.
Leaving the park and returning to hotel, I prepared to go to a travel agent office to reach Padang city. On 13:00, I finally left Bukittinggi. Goodbye Bukittinggi.
So for you who intend to go to West Sumatra….Visit Bukittinggi and enjoy the cool air there.
The last evening in Pekanbaru became a nostalgic session in durian aroma and a savory portion of fried Malon (Manuk Londo-a type of quail) which looked plump on a plate. This was a meeting which I deliberately prepared with a durian businessman that I didn’t know how long we didn’t meet, before leaving Pekanbaru tomorrow.
Morning came together with chewing toast from Ganda Bakery, which remained since my arrival in Madani City (other name of Pekanbaru), tasteless but still quite delicious to eat.
Smartphone ring which I was waiting for finally arrived.
“Is this Donny?“, he shortly said.
“Annanta Travel, Sir?“, I briefly replied and asked.
“Yes, Don. What is an easy landmark to find the hotel?”, he asked in detail.
Quickly reflex, I ran to reception desk and handed my smartphone to the staff on duty. Somehow the staff explained to driver. As I understood, they spoke in Minang language.
Ten minutes later, a black Kijang (Toyota’s varian) which labeled “ANNANTA” stopped its engine roar in Sri Indrayani Hotel courtyard. Saying thanks to reception staff, I left the lobby and entered travel car in right rear seat.
“Do you understand Javanese language, Uda (mention for brother in West Sumatra)?“, I was curious because driver played Didi Kempot’s song which stored on his blue flashdisk.
“Ah, I don’t really understand, Donny. Just tunable to listen it“, he was laughing.
“Ha ha ha“, I laughed off.
I became the first passenger who he picked up. I just enjoyed every step on gas pedal into narrow alleys and streets in some housing complexs to pick up five other passengers. On second taking, I finally found my seat couple, a smiling grandmother who only could speak Minang language. Meanwhile, the last passenger was a stocky young man who seated in the front seat next to driver.
222 km journey would be taken in 7 hours interval and through the famous Kampar River. Pekanbaru-Bangkinang highway was like a street race track like Monaco Circuit. Annanta Travel was so swiftly moving among heavy and slow-goods trucks. Grandmother who sat next to me only occasionally smiled to face me while enjoying this single race.
Entering Payakumbuh City, I kept awake. Didn’t want to lose a brief moment when passing a scenic spot. It was none other than Kelok Sembilan. I was so fascinated when I crossed this overpass, along 2.5 km and as high as 58 meters. Tall, dashing and charming to everyone who passes it.
Overland journey for USD 11.8 passed 4 Regencies (Kampar, Rokan Hulu, Lima Puluh Kota and Tanah Datar) and 3 Cities (Pekanbaru, Payakumbuh and Bukittinggi) and leaved a natural beauty which is tempting to my eyes.
A trip which only provided a lunch break. This morning toast wasn’t longer able to withstand hunger, even wind had acquired my stomach. That afternoon, Minang’s typical black rendang (West Sumatra’s typical meat with spices) became my dining companion. This was the first time I felt rendang in its origin land.
Rain began to fall when the trip entered Bukittinggi City through Tanah Datar District. I started to get ready to got off, because Annanta Travel have last destination in Padang. I was dropped off at Veteran Street, right at T-junction with Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Indonesian national hero) Monument in the middle.