Yesterday, my two friends and I spent some time in Pariaman, a coastal city in West Sumatera. We planned to do some activities in a public senior high school. However, since one of my friend (let’s call her R) was already in Pariaman (she’s living there, though), another friend of mine (let’s call her T) and I had to go there in the morning. Both of us do not own any car so we rode a bus instead.
To reach Pariaman, you can choose one of several bus provider (e.g. Melsy, Borneo) and ride from Aur Kuning Terminal or hop on the bus everywhere (as long as it still on the route). My friend chose the first way while I chose the second one since the bus passes the intersection near my house. Melsy bus is yellow, and smaller than ordinary buses (looks like a van). The bus will took off every 20 minutes from the terminal; if it don’t, the passengers could call the number provided in the bus. This is a good rule (and a very rare one) since here, in West Sumatera, a bus could spend long time waiting for the passengers before taking off. The bus fare is around IDR 13 K. Average time you will be spent on the bus is 1.5 – 2 hours, depend on amount of people hopping the bus on the route, traffic congestion, technical problems, and so on. On weekend, traffic congestion is frequently happened, so it may took longer time to reach Pariaman from Bukittinggi or the other way around.
We spent a long time waiting for a passenger so we were a bit grumbled. Then, everything was nice and smooth. Since we were both in same department at work, there are many things to talk about. Reaching Sicincin district, I felt anxious. I never took this bus before so I didn’t know its route and where to get off. R who lives there suggested that we should get off at Simpang Jaguang, one of several main intersections in Pariaman (while I did not know where exactly it is), then she would pick us up. When the bus turned right on Simpang Sicincin, I called R. She answered the call but I still did not get any idea except some places to stop in case we missed the planned checkpoint. We just waited and I nervously watched outside the window. The bus passed on quiet rural areas, then more crowded areas in Padang Pariaman regency. That means, we would spend more time in the bus before reaching Pariaman city.
The city emblem on the outside (I caught a sight of a public office) suggested that we have reached Pariaman city already. Earlier, I unintentionally listen to a short conversation between a passenger and the bus driver. The passenger would get off at Simpang Jaguang also (because of that, I felt more relaxed). The bus was getting slower and slower until we saw an intersection. The passenger was getting off and we follow him. My friend paid the bus fare for two. She gave IDR 50 K and got IDR 25 K as the change.
We waited on the side of road for several minutes. Then, R came by motorcycle (but there are three of us). After a short discussion, I decide to rode an ojek (a private transportation service using motorcycles). We went to the school not so long after. The school is located at the southern Pariaman and is quite far from the main road. We got off and I paid the cost (IDR 5K).
We met R’s friend, who teaches in that school. She said that we had to wait since the students still had classes before self-development hours. On that hours, the students are free to do activities outside studying (like extracurricular activities) but their presence will be recorded and assessed.
At 10.15, we went to the class. There would be two classes, XI-IA 1 and XI IA-2 (IA is an abbreviation for Ilmu Alam or natural sciences major) which is diffused into 1 class for our program. We prepared the computer and LCD projector, also several tools like body composition monitor and stature meter. The teacher checked the students’ presence before leaving the class. I acted as a moderator who opened the sessions, giving the chance to ask questions, and so on. R presented a topic about dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) while T presented a topic about obesity. The students look enthusiastic and engaged with those topics. On the question and answer session, they asked many questions (e.g. What to do if I have irregular period? Can I prostrate to relieve menstrual pain? What should I do to gain weight?). After sharing sessions, T gave them a chance to have their BMI checked using tools we brought along. Initially, there should be limited number of volunteers who will be checked, but everyone would like to participate so we could not keep our hands off.
Around 5 minutes to 12, we finished checking their weights and heights. We closed the session by asking them to summarizes the points. Only one student who managed to do it, so we gave a small gift in return. Then we took some photographs before leaving.
After finishing our activities at school, it’s time to do prayer and eat. R’s friend (let’s call her A) gave me a ride to the mosque before she went home for a while. She promised to pick us up again at the mosque.
From the mosque, we went to the beach to eat. The beach is located at Southern Pariaman, called Sunur (Sunua) beach. Here, we could find a place to eat Nasi Sek. Sek means full by 100 rupiahs (seratus kenyang). That’s because decades ago, people could afford it only by paying IDR 100. Nowadays, of course, you could not buy a proper meal with such a low price :D. The rice is steamed and wrapped by banana leaves and served with fish-based dishes, be it grilled, cooked with coconut milk and seasoned, or fried and served with sambalado (a chili sauce specialty from Minangkabau region). They also served slice cucumbers, boiled cassava leaves, and sala lauak, a special side dish or snack from Pariaman. People here called fish as lauak, that’s how sala lauak gets its name. The place is really close to the beach. The wind blew quite hard, but we still managed to eat happily.
After eating, we went to the next destination, called Rumah Tabuik (Tabuik House). The visitors have to pay some money, IDR 5K for children and IDR 10K for adults. Tabuik is a bier that is prepared annually in remembrance of Muharram (the first month in Hijri calendar). This ritual is related to Shia (and according to information that I have read, the tradition is brought to Pariaman by Shi’ite troops from India when British occupied the region). Every Muharram, people in Pariaman will held a Tabuik Festival, where tabuik prepared, taken to the beach, and then throwned into the sea. In the house, we saw several photographs related to Tabuik procession and traditional music instruments that used during the festival (such as talempong and gandang tasa). Behind the house, we found a park full of lanterns in various shapes (flowers and cartoon characters), also an amphitheater for occasional performances.
After taking photographs, we go to the north, to Gandoriah beach. This beach is the main tourism destination in this city. I could say that visiting Pariaman is incomplete without visiting Gandoriah beach. Compared to Sunur beach, Gandoriah is more attractive with many spots to enjoy sunset and meal, also food stalls which sell sala lauak and fresh drinks. There are several kinds of sala, such as sala bulek (round sala) which made of rice flour dough, turmeric, fish, and other seasoning, then made into small balls. Besides, there are sala udang (prawn sala) , sala kepiting/kapitiang (crab sala) and another type of sala which are made from a type of fish (but I couldn’t remember the name). Both of T and me bought sala to bring home. You can get 20 pcs sala bulek for IDR 10K and 4 pcs of other type of sala for IDR 10K. The prices is different because others type of sala is basically prawns, fish, or crabs coated in liquid batter then deep fried.
The trip ends there. R and her friend sent us to the terminal in Simpang Lapai (another main intersection in Pariaman). We rode in the bus, waiting for more than 20 minutes before it took off. On the way home, the rain fell heavily. Not only that, the bus is trapped in a traffic congestion. It took more than 2 hours to arrive at my home.
Still, alhamdulillah for everything.
Thanks for reading!
(p.s.: This post has been revised since I just re-read it and found many mistakes. I also included more details related to my trip).