Singgah di De Kock Hotel, Berburu ke Jam Gadang

Pengemudi: “Don, turun di sini saja ya. Mobil mau ambil arah kanan, nanti tambah jauh”.

Aku: “Oh Okay, Uda. Sini aja gapapa”.

Diturunkan Annanta Travel di Jalan Veteran, aku sejenak duduk meregangkan kekakuan otot setelah duduk di jok belakang selama 8 jam.  Patung putih Tuanku Imam Bonjol diatas kudanya menjadi pemandangan pertama yang menjamu kedatanganku di Bukittinggi. Pemimpin Perang Paderi itu menebar berkharisma, gagah tanpa suara.

Pertigaan Jalan Veteran, Jalan Pemuda (kiri) dan Jalan Ahmad Yani (kanan).

Setelah dua hari tersiram panas menyengat di Pekanbaru, kini aku menikmati sejuknya udara Bukittinggi. Kini aku leluasa berlama-lama mengarahkan kameraku kemanapun tanpa sengatan surya. Aku memang harus sesekali berhenti karena kontur jalanan kota yang naik turun, membuatku terengah-engah dengan beban backpack di punggung.

Memasuki Jalan Teuku Umar yang mulai menurun.

Dari kejauhan, aku terus bertatapan dengan gadis muda berambut pirang yang duduk menikmati sore di atas moge. Yang kuprediksi adalah dia tepat berada di depan De Kock Hotel tempatku menginap.

Benar adanya, tiba tepat dimana moge itu terparkir, aku dihadapkan pada lobby hotel yang berwujud sebuah cafe, perempuan muda itu menyusul dan bergegas menuju meja resepsionis. Sepertinya dia adalah staff hotel yang bertugas sore itu.

Aku akan tidur lantai dua dormitory sederhana itu.

Aku: “Hi. Were you in Samosir four days ago?, I think that we stayed at a similar hotel, Bagus Bay Homestay”.

Noah: “Oh really? Yes, I was in Samosir four days ago”.

Aku: “I’m Donny. I am an Indonesian traveler. What is your name?”.

Noah: “I’m Noah form California”.

Aku: “Are you on vacation, No? What do you do in America?”.

Noah: “Yes, I’m on vacation. I am an engineer at oil company. What is your job in Indonesia? “.

Aku: “Marketing”.

Noah: “What marketing?”.

Aku: “I work in field, meet customers, and sell products”.

Noah: “Oh, you aren’t marketing. You are a sales. How about your income? Good income? I work with good income but with high risk in America … hahahaha”.

Aku:” Yes, of course, I’m a salesman. I got a lot of money from my work”.

Itulah Noah, kenalan baruku di Bukittinggi. Kebetulan kita hanya berdua yang menghuni ruang dormitory dengan lima tempat tidur tunggal itu.

—-****—-

Aku duduk di lobby, sebotol Coca Cola berukuran sedang berhasil membekukan keringat setelah berjalan sejauh satu kilometer. Sore itu aku berniat menyambangi Jam Gadang yang hanya berjarak setengah kilometer di barat laut hotel.

Sekitar pukul 17:30, aku mulai beranjak dengan mejinjing kamera menuju kesana. Aku memilih berjalan kaki melewati Jalan Yos Sudarso yang cenderung datar dan menurun di Jalan Istana.

Bangunan tua Novotel.

Tepat di seberang Novotel adalah Plaza Bukittinggi. Aku hanya berdiri terdiam di pelataran plaza untuk menikmati keelokan Jam Gadang. Taman Sabai Nun Aluih yang berada di bawah menara jam itu tertutup lembarang seng proyek dengan rapat. Sedang ada renovasi taman rupanya.

Jam berusia 96 tahun yang didedikasikan untuk sekretaris Fort de Kock (Nama lama Bukittinggi).

Sesuai namanya “Gadang” yang dalam bahasa Minang berarti besar, menara jam ini berketinggian dua puluh enam meter dengan empat jam kembar berusia 128 tahun yang didatangkan langsung dari Rotterdam melalui Teluk Bayur.

Digerakkan mesin Brixlion yang kembarannya ada di Big Ben, London.

Di arsiteki oleh Radjo Mangkuto, Jam Gadang dibuat dengan 4 tingkatan. Tingkat bawah merupakan ruangan petugas, tingkat kedua berisi bandul pemberat jam. Mesin jam ditempatkan di tingkat ketiga dan tingkat paling atas sebagai puncak menara dimana lonceng jam ditempatkan.

Bahagia rasanya, bisa melihat Jam Gadang yang sedari kecil, aku hanya mengenalnya lewat buku pelajaran Sekolah Dasar.

Staying at De Kock Hotel, Hunting the Gadang Clock Tower

Driver: “Donny, just get off here, okay? This car will turn to right, then car will run further away from downtown“.

Me: “Oh Okay, Uda. No problem for me

I was lowered by Annanta Travel on Veteran Street, I sat for a moment and stretched muscle stiffness after sitting in the back seat for eight hours. The white statue of Tuanku Imam Bonjol on his horse became the first sight which entertained my arrival in Bukittinggi. The “Paderi War” Leader spreaded charisma, valiantly without sound.

T-junction of Veteran Street, Pemuda Street (left) and Ahmad Yani Street (right).

After two days felt scalding heat in Pekanbaru, now I enjoyed Bukittinggi’s cool air. Now I was free to direct my camera to every where without sun sting. I had to occasionally stop because city contours which are up and down, making me gasped for breath with backpack’s burden on my back.

Entering Teuku Umar Street, which began to decline.

From a distance, I continued to look each other with a young blond girl who was sitting to enjoying the afternoon on big motorcycle. I predicted that she was precisely sitting in front of De Kock Hotel where I would stay in it.

It was true, arrived right at the big motorcycle was parked, I was confronted to hotel lobby in the form of a cafe, then young girl followed me and hurried to reception desk. It seemed like she was a hotel staff on duty that afternoon.

I would sleep on second floor of that simple dormitory.

Me: “Hi. Were you in Samosir four days ago?, I think that we stayed at a similar hotel, Bagus Bay Homestay”.

Noah: “Oh really? Yes, I was in Samosir four days ago”.

Me: “I’m Donny. I am an Indonesian traveler. What is your name?”.

Noah: “I’m Noah form California”.

Me: “Are you on vacation, No? What do you do in America?”.

Noah: “Yes, I’m on vacation. I am an engineer at oil company. What is your job in Indonesia? “.

Me: “Marketing”.

Noah: “What marketing?”.

Me: “I work in field, meet customers, and sell products”.

Noah: “Oh, you aren’t marketing. You are a sales. How about your income? Good income? I work with good income but with high risk in America … hahahaha”.

Me:” Yes, of course, I’m a salesman. I got a lot of money from my work”.

That was Noah, my new friend in Bukittinggi. Incidentally we were the only two who staying in the dormitory room with five single beds.

—-****—-

I sat in the lobby, a medium-sized bottle of Coca Cola managed to freeze my sweat after walking in a kilometer. That afternoon I intend to visit Gadang Clock Tower which is only half a kilometer to northwest of hotel.

Around 17:30 hours, I started to moving and carrying camera towards Gadang Clock Tower. I chose to walk through Yos Sudarso Street which tends to be flat and then descending on Istana Street.

Novotel’s old building.

Directly across from Novotel is Bukittinggi Plaza. I just quietly stood in mall courtyard to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower. Sabai Nun Aluih Park, which was under the clock tower, was covered with a tight project’ iron sheeting. Apparently, There was park renovation.

96-years-old clock dedicated to secretary of Fort de Kock (old name of Bukittinggi).

As its name “Gadang” which in Minang language means “Large”, this clock tower is twenty-six meters in high with four 128-years-old twin clocks which was directly brought from Rotterdam via Bayur Port.

Operated by a Brixlion engine whose its twin is in Big Ben, London.

Was designed by Radjo Mangkuto, Gadang Clock Tower was made with 4 levels. The lowest level is the officer’s room, second level contains a clock’s ballast pendulum. Clock is placed on third level and the uppest level is tower top where clock’s bell are placed.

I was happy, being able to see Gadang Clock Tower which since I was a little boy, I only knew it through my elementary school textbook.