I stayed at Bamboosa Guesthouse in Bukittingi. It's actually not a guesthouse, but more of a homestay. Two bedrooms are probably for rent, one of which I have. But first I brush my teeth, take a shower and crawl into bed to catch up on some much-needed sleep that I didn't get on the bus ride last night. Deep and sound asleep, I am the muezzin, there must be half a dozen in the area, at half past midnight calling for prayer over the loudspeaker for half an hour. I've got my best earplugs in and still you can't sleep like that. They'll do it again tomorrow morning just after five and then again a good hour later. This will not change during my time in Indonesia on Sumatra. I still want to go up to Banda Aceh, Sharia applies there and the muezzin will definitely not be fewer.
I am therefore considering to what extent I can possibly adjust my daily routine and look up the current prayer times. The last call to prayer is at 7:48 p.m., the first at 5:15 a.m. So sleep earlier and get up earlier. An hour earlier or later doesn't matter and that's how I get more out of the day, and it's dark from seven o'clock anyway.
Now I want to work for an hour and sit down with my laptop in the "living room". Mighty carved tropical wood furniture characterizes my "office" in the next few days. The internet connection is great. I measure over 40 Mbit download rate and about 15 Mbit upload rate. There are even video conferences if necessary.
A good hour is actually enough to empty two email inboxes. In addition, I enter the route I traveled yesterday in my online world map.
The next thing to do is an hour of travel planning. After my completely unprepared arrival in Batam without emergency accommodation and an offline map, I committed myself to organizing my onward travel, researching activities and learning Indonesian vocabulary for an hour every day. I can apply every piece of information and every word almost immediately. Quasi travel not from hand to mouth, but from book to mouth.
I walk to the center of Bukittingi. It's not big, but this is where all the hotels are. My guidebook writes that there is someone at the Orchid Hotel who can organize interesting trips and tours.
I don't meet any western foreigners and I attract a lot of attention. I am constantly greeted and I greet them back so warmly, as if we actually know each other.
The small Orchid Hotel would also have been a good place to stay for me. But it's not on Booking.com where I book almost everything for convenience.
Here's someone who speaks good English and is probably the guy the guidebook is talking about. But I don't ask him. Instead, I'm interested in climbing Mount Merapi. This is Bukittingi's home volcano, which is only a few kilometers away. I have a good view of him from my guesthouse. But the tour agent's response is negative. Merapi is currently active almost every day and climbing is forbidden. I'll have to check after sunset to see if you can see it glowing in the dark.
What is possible is also an example in my travel guide: A full-day tour through the area on the pillion passenger of a motorcycle. From nine in the morning to five or six in the evening for 20 euros. In Uganda I went to see the Ba-Twa pygmy tribe and it was a really good experience. You have your hands free and can film and take pictures from the motorcycle. At the same time it is much cheaper than by car. I didn't get all of where it was going, but it was quite a bit. Also a royal palace. I urgently need to read up on which king it is. Tomorrow morning I will be picked up at my pension at nine.
Enough travel preparations for today. Now I sit down in a café and write a travel diary.
On the journeys of the past few years, this was usually a burden at the end of the day, never planned and therefore only carried out sporadically. That also says something about how these trips were structured. Namely with little leisure and time for reflection. But I can't judge myself so harshly here, because in recent years I've hardly had the opportunity to give myself enough time for slow travel. It was the worst on the last three motorcycle trips through Colombia, Uganda and Morocco. There was often not even time to write something on Twitter.
On the way back to the guesthouse, I came up with two new rules:
1. Dinner always at the Maghrib call to prayer at 18:35. This is the penultimate of the five of the day.
2. When it comes to food, I always choose what I don't know. Worst case scenario, it's something I don't eat up. At two euros per dish, that's no loss. Indonesian cuisine is as diverse as the country. I would be stupid if, out of convenience, I only ever order the fried noodles with chicken, which are available everywhere and which I have really had enough of in the last month. It's a shame that I just ordered that. Because I'm so rule-abiding, I stop for a second dinner on my way home. The first portion wasn't enough for me anyway. Now I'm waiting for "Murtabak Aceh". According to the picture, it's something with dough and the chef just asked me if I could eat something spicy. So it's not candy.
I'll take a photo of the notice of the dishes on offer. Game cards are rare here. Then I look up the vocabulary when I have more time and internet connection.