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    Tropical Storm Tour: Sumatra Part 17

    Thursday, August 20, 2015
    Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia

    Welcome to Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Welcome to Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    We just scratched the surface in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    We just scratched the surface in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A closed-up cart in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A closed-up cart in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A colorful wall in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A colorful wall in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    I went out for a long walk today on an epic photo mission around central Bukittinggi. Starting out at the clock tower, I captured a few photos with better sunlight than the day before. A young local guy there said something to me, but I couldn’t make out what. Then he and all of his buddies started laughing, as usual. How surprising! Next, I proceeded down and back up Jalon Jend Sudirman, where I shot a bunch of street photos, and over to the Taman Panorama, where I paid 5,000 rupiah ($0.30) to pass through the gate onto a concrete walkway that snaked its way around a pleasant, scenic park overlooking a vast canyon covered with jungle and sheer vertical rock cliffs on the other side.

    A fancy fire station in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A fancy fire station in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A gnarly tree in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A gnarly tree in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A dramatic overview of Ngarai Sianok from Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A dramatic overview of Ngarai Sianok from Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A winding walkway in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A winding walkway in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Dotted with a handful of gazebos bearing traditional pointy Minangkabau roofs, the park also featured a sunken concrete amphitheater that was all painted up with colorful stripes. By the time I had made my way around the place and thought about heading out, a young local yelled out for me to proceed down a big flight of steps situated within a huge chasm between us. Down there, I discovered the entrance to Lobang Jepang, a huge network of bunker “caves” dug by the Japanese when they occupied this area during World War II. Imbued with a minimal amount of low lighting, it was a pretty atmospheric and photogenic place to hike through and explore. And to think I almost missed out on it! At one point, I had reached a locked gate to the outside world at the end of a long corridor, when I heard the footsteps of several people running up behind me in the near-darkness. For a second, I thought, “What if I got mugged or worse…right here, right now.” But, it turned out to be just a bunch of teenagers who were trying to find a way out the back.

    The entrance to Lobang Jepang in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The entrance to Lobang Jepang in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Shadow play deep within Lobang Jepang in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Shadow play deep within Lobang Jepang in Taman Panorama in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    The passage of time will obliterate every trace of me. Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The passage of time will obliterate every trace of me. Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A street scene in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    A street scene in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    An epic weathered storefront in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    An epic weathered storefront in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    Next, I headed over to the Bedudal Cafe, where I ordered my favorite, the tempe burger with French fries, and jammed for a little while on their acoustic guitar. I had since found out that the cafe was the target of a foiled terrorist attack back in 2007. Yikes! But, that didn’t scare me, because I refuse to live in fear. I finished off the night hanging out and chatting for nearly three hours with Ling in the lobby of the Hello Guesthouse. The highlight arrived when I whipped out my iPod touch and played her a bunch of tracks from the Sublime Frequencies label. She really got a kick out of hearing all of the decades-old music from such places as Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and even her native Sumatra. Ling was equally amused by the folks depicted on the cover art–especially the Minangkabau villagers on Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1. As 10:00 pm rolled around, she was over it and headed off to bed. Unfortunately, as I entered my room, I could feel a cold coming on.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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