Written by Khursheed Dinshaw
The first thing that struck me on my drive through Padang, the capital of West Sumatra was the beautiful architecture of most of the buildings. Arched upwards on either side resembling the horns of a buffalo they tell the story of how Minangkabau which is the ethnic group prevalent in West Sumatra averted a war using a buffalo calf. If the architecture is pleasing, the people are friendly and you don’t feel lost or isolated here.
Well aware about Bollywood, some of the locals even hummed a few Hindi songs with me- that is how comfortable I felt. I found West Sumatra to be safe and the currency rate so reasonable that even after I obsessively shopped, I still felt like a millionaire. A good place to shop for souvenirs is the market near Jam Gadang which is the clock tower in the city of Bukittinggi.
Proud of their arts and crafts, you get to see live demonstrations of weaving and wood carving at Pandai Sikek, silver making at Koto Gadang and embroidery done on scarves, shrugs, bags and purses at Bukittinggi. Freshly baked bika cakes made using rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and coconut, tapioca chips in mouth watering flavours of cheese, barbeque, chili and corn or the yummy martabak baked in a traditional oven and made with a flour coating filled with peanut and chocolate sprinkles are just three of the foodie delights I sampled.
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