Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Europeans feel in Padang Panjang

First feelings from this place were really weird. In the first days, we thought that they really put us in some kind of Auschwitz or working camp, because no sign about our passports and we were filling in some weird forms all the time. Funny was that those forms were only in indonesian and we only knew how to say hello and thank you. But at least someone always helped us. For me, the funniest process was a field trip to the police headquarters for this area to give them our fingerprints and they also gave us more forms to fill in. We had to describe how our head looks like, what type of eyes do we have, what type of chin, ears and so on...it was very racist I tell you :D While we were waiting for something “really” important, i was walking around the police station and I found a very interesting wall. It looked like their trophies wall. And between those trophies were pictures on the wall...it looked like a story so i looked closely and i found out it is a photo documentation of a murdered body and the whole investigation and also when they captured the murderer. I suppose that it happened somewhere here in this city and they are very proud that they were successful with the investigation of the only one murder in the history of Padang Panjang.
We spent few days just walking around the town and after these few days we were slowly getting used to the fact that everything is new for us because it is completely different than in Europe. But there was one thing, and to this day it is (we are 6 months in this hell already), which is very hard to get used to, and that thing i show all the people here stare at us. Literally they stare with open mouths. They don’t look at us, they fucking stare like I have an elephant on my forehead. I am very surprised that no one did crash on his motorbike while staring at us and thinking if he was dreaming or really saw a group of white people. To the sentences like “hello mister” or how are you mister” we were allergic after first few days. That’s all they know and everybody tries to impress you with these sentences and they shout it even from distance. Fuck it, being famous is not easy. On the other hand, people here are very grateful and all the time when we come somewhere or sit in a warung somewhere, they are very happy that we are sitting in their warung. Then they talk about it for days with their friends.
Since we wanted to see more of the beautiful nature around us we went on a little trip. When we went to Padang Panjang from the airport in Padang for the first time, we saw a nice waterfall. So we decided that it’s not that far away so we went to check it out. The waterfall has around 30m and it is right next to the road from Padang to Padang Panjang. So everybody stops there to take a photo. The entrance fee was 2000 rupiah and that is really nothing even in here hehe. So we payed and went a little bit closer. The water under the waterfall looked really dirty because of the trash everywhere on the ground but some locals were in the water not giving a fuck. We didn’t wanna risk some new type of disease so we were just standing on the rocks around the water. We took some pictures and then we saw some monkeys in the trees. I fucking love monkeys!!! They were the first monkey we saw in Indonesia so we were really excited. But they were not excited as we were and they were just jumping from a tree to tree on the top of the waterfall. So we decided to go after them inside the rainforest. Great idea, since we had maybe one hour before the sun went down, right? Fuck it, we wanted to see monkeys! There was an old railroad going the same way from Padang to Padang Panjang but I think it’s not used anymore. So we decided to follow this railroad until we will find a good point to enter the rainforest. Believe it or not we found one. It was a very small trail and it was even getting smaller and smaller but we continued deeper into the rainforest. But after about half an hour of walking we didn’t find any sign of monkeys so we turned around and decided it is better not to be in the rainforest after the sun goes down. This little adventure ended successfully and no one was eaten by Sumatran tiger but our friend found a little leech on his stomach. We were really happy that it was just this one leech because the rainforest here is full of these little bloodsucking motherfuckers.
After two weeks in here we went to our classes for the first time. They told us that that some of the classes are compulsory and some are not. But we did a little uprising very quickly and we don’t have compulsory classes anymore hehe. We could choose anything to study: music, dance, theatre, photography, etc. We were thinking about going to pottery class and making our parents some nice ashtrays but instead of that we picked photography class. First class was quite funny because all of our classmates looked like they never had a camera in their hands. The biggest minus of this school is that you can smoke everywhere. Even in the classrooms. When I was going to this country I knew, that they smoke everywhere, but this was too much when 20 people smoke in one not very big classroom. Alan as a smoker didn’t give a monkey’s crap and when someone offered him a cigarette he didn’t hesitate for a second and smoked that little cancer stick with a smile on his face in the middle of the lecture.
The greatest thing was when we finally found a house for rent. 3 bedrooms, big living room, kitchen, one extra room but we don’t use it and very small bathroom with mandi (shower but Indonesian style). We also have access to the roof because the roof  is on da fire. Yeaah from the roof we have a really good view. The biggest plus of our own house was that we don’t have to share the bathroom with 6 other guys. The family who owns the house lives downstairs but they have their own entrance and we have our own. But they are very nice people and they gave us everything. Everyone got his own bed, they gave us a sofa, small table and a huge carpet to the living room and also some kitchen stuff.
So that’s it about our first feelings and experiences.
To be continued tomorrow. Stay tuned.


  1. Interesting perspective. As an American I am a bit indifferent to it all.

  2. Interesting blog! Looks like you had some difficulties, but its normal. I can't spend 6 months in a foreign country, but thats just me.

  3. sure is interesting. followin'

  4. Very interesting, I've yet to go to another country that is just so radically different from mine. I can't believe they all started at you, like I know white people there are "rare" but still that just seems downright strange, I don't think I'd ever get used to that.