The ferry from Melaka left on time and within two hour it was halfway across the straits of Malacca. As it approached the Indonesian island of Sumatra the once blue sky turned hazy and slightly brown. (At this time of year forest fires “happen” reducing the visibility and the air quality)
Nearing the industrial city port of Dumai, oil tankers plied their trade in the swirling muddy waters whilst the lone old styled fishing vessel bobbed and heaved in the various wakes.
Custom clearance was easy and the $25 30 day visa on arrival was a simple purchase. Outside a small group of bus touts asked where I wanted to go. Not really feeling a need to spend a night in Dumai (who would!) I instead arranged a bus to Bukittinggi. The tout said it would leave at 4pm and arrived at 11pm. A small voice in the back of my head said “yeah right!”
After hanging around for 3 hours it was on the bus, glad that my legs are only 30 inches in length on a tall day. I tilted the chair back and relaxed, well as much as possible! Over 13 hours, countless potholes and with a large bump on the side of my head later I was dropped off on a deserted street corner that I assumed was Bukittinggi! It was and I was knackered…it was 5:30am the next day!
90 minutes later after many, many, many hairpin turns I was next to Lake Maninjau in café bagoes having a very strong coffee. I booked myself into a nearby guest house on the edge of the lake and went to sleep three times during the day.
Maninjau used to be busy with tourist, its not anymore which is a shame. A bigger shame was the low cloud obscuring the rim of this caldera…no flying today.