Annanta Travel from Pekanbaru to Bukittinggi

Staying up late with a true friend.

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.

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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.

Snack and mineral water provided by travel agency.

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.

Situation in travel car.

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.

Fascinated when Marshall Sastra and David John Schaap peeled it off on a Indonesian TV program “My Trip My Adventure”.

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.

Annanta Travel, “The Fast” from Sumatra.
Uwan Labuak Bangku Restaurant in Lima Puluh Kota Regency.

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.

Arrived in Bukittinggi.

Towards dark, I must head to De Kock Hotel.

7 Fast Destination at Pematang Siantar

Sitting in waiting room, my gaze focused on my watch and INTRA bus office yard….Never saw when he arrived, from right side of the yard, he shouted to me. It was nice to meet an old friend.

His kindness and simplicity was still the same as Erwin who I met in Kuala Lumpur 2013 ago. Remembered again when he gave me a small box of red cakes on Kuala Lumpur’s Hop on Hop off. And now, he gave me four hours of his time to enjoying Pematang Siantar.

Come on, bro, ride up!“, He said while turning backpack to his chest. I Instantly glided on his 90’s Japan motorcycle towards his home. He had to change a teacher uniform which he wore before going around the city.

1. Warung Miso Pematang

Let’s have lunch first, bro! There is something special for you. Come on!“, His smile ignored my rejection because he just wanted to be a good host. Tracing the “rat path” which I never knew its exact location, I felt the rear tire was a bit shaky. It made me believe that Erwin is a sincere and simple person.

Warung Miso Pematang. Oh, is this the special dish that is meant?“, I muttered. Erwin rushed into the restaurant with its front door at the back. While I was still in the yard, busy capturing the picture. It was amazingly delicious, a bowl of Miso, a mixture of yellow-white noodles which are flushed with soup mixed with fried tofu, chicken liver-gizzard and mushroom for USD 1.3.

The dish was closed with fresh orange juice….Yummy.
The first Siantar specialty food which I tasted.

2. Pedicab Monument BSA (Birmingham Small Army).

Come on, I’ll show you the Siantar icon!“, He spoke while cranked the motor starter. I give a thumb as agree sign. Riding along Sudirman Street until finally arrived at a motorized rickshaw-crowned monument. Supposedly said that this city has almost 1,000 war motorbikes. Therefore you have to queue to be able to take a picture in front of the monument.

The main character this time.

3. Sintong Bingei Public Library

Right behind the monument is a public library owned by the city government while on the right opposite is Pematang Siantar City Hall where the Mayor worked.

Sintong Bingei Public Library. Sintong Bingei is father of the North Sumatra “Cigarette King“-Edwin Bingei Purbo Siboro.

4. Pematang Siantar City Hall

Pematang Siantar City Hall is a century-old Dutch building.

Gecko ornaments in most of large buildings in Siantar made me to asked a question about it. Erwin briefly explained that gecko is a wisdom and wealth symbol for the Batak ethnic. Local people call it as Gorga Boraspati.

5. Hangout Area near Pedicab Monument

While on right side of the monument is a coffee shop row which seems to only wait for short time to be filled by city millennials to hang out at night.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to sip the coffee.

6. Pematang Siantar City’s Bunga Park

While right behind hang out area is Bunga Park. As a Child Friendly Public Open Space makes this park as a favorite place to spend time with family after work.

The perfect place to celebrate a weekend for city dwellers.

7. Ganda Bakery

Bro, it’s almost dark, let’s go back to INTRA office!“, Erwin reminded me. I jumped on his motorcycle and hurried to INTRA bus office. Upss ….”Why Bakery?“, I suspected.

Don’t flatter yourself, I don’t buy bread for you, but I will buy it for my family at home“, he thinly smiled. I was burst out laughing when seeing his act. I took a moment to enjoy storefronts with fragrant aroma of tempting bread.

Ganda Bakery is legendary since 1979.

Ten minutes later, I was standing outside and waiting for him to complete payment at the cashier. And then….He held two packs of bread in his hands.

This is for your breakfast tomorrow on the way“, he said while offering a packet of bread with srikaya jam which was famously delicious. It was forbidden to refuse it, so I accepted it with many thanks.

Come on, now it’s really going to INTRA Bus office and not stopping by anymore!“, He said with a laugh. That was the end of my fast journey at Pematang Siantar.

Thank You Erwin. See you later.