Padang Departure

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Thu 3 Mar 2011 20:10
02:05.379S  100:34.991E
Wonderful Indonesian dinner last night in Padang style - the table was loaded with a huge variety of dishes such as egg plant with dried crisp salty fish, beef rendang (beef stewed in a delicious thick sauce of soy and peanuts), dry roasted chilly chicken, lamb in a similar sauce to the rendang but a bit creamier, pureed red peppers, and a selection of dishes that defy description.  There was far more than we could manage but in Padang, diners are only charged for what they eat.  This was all accompanied by a refreshing melon juice to take the heat out of the chilly.
Today was an exercise in total frustration.  It starts with our guide turning up an hour and a half late.  As a result, we are late for an appointment with immigration for the issue of visas.  We arrrive at the immigration office in town and are informed that the airport, where the visas are issued, is closed until 3.00pm.  However after much discussion with the department head and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label (counterfeit, by the way) he accompanies us to the airport to open the visa section especially.  Simon is truly persistent and persuasive!  Thus we have spent the better part of the day achieving what can be done in Australia in 5 minutes!  Well, that is Indonesia, and part of the adventure.  At least we got to see a lot of Padang.   Curiously, the airport is about an hour out of town at the end of a short freeway that was obviously intended to shorten this trip but has never been completed.
Our plan to visit the lakes was abandonned last night as we found out it is a 2 hour trip over rough roads that are clogged with traffic.  As it turned oiut, we didn't have time anyway.  We had to provision for the rest of the trip and refuel, so we also missed the old part of town and the museum.
Tonight's Scrabble game was a cliff-hanger.  Tim and Al got off to a flying start and were about 30 points ahead by three quarters of the way through the game.  They then hit the wall picking up a collection of tiles that would bring tears to a glass eye!  Tim had all consonants and Al all vowels - perfect for Bar and me!  After a couple of cunning moves, with some very handy input from Simon, we managed to win by 2 points!  The games are now 2 all!