Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

Minangkabau Country

What a luxury to be chauffeured around the countryside in a car. I could get used to travelling like this again….

Harmonious landscapes breathe an archaic strength

Sumatra_landscape

and in some of the villages, traditional craftsmanship still flourishes. Made with heart, this skilled woodcarver signaled. And who wouldn’t believe him?

Wood_carvier

(I wish I could add the delicious cedar wood scent to the photo).

Handmade is good, if it’s edible- even better! Kinuku Production Company lies hidden behind a grove of pink-leaved cinnamon trees, a promise of coming delights. And we weren’t disappointed. The coconut batter dipped bananas are delicious, as are the tapioca flour cookies and the velvety in house roasted coffee. Unfortunately we couldn’t really communicate with the people so hard at work here. (But everyone was OK with having their photo in an internet “picture book”.)

Coconutbanana_production1 Coconutbanana_production2

Coconutbanana production3 Coconutbanana_production4

We had our fill of Minangkabau houses too. From the deceptively simple

Minangkabau_old_house

to the house to end all houses- or should I say- palaces? This impressive building is newly completed- a copy of a replica of the original Pagaruyung King’s palace. The replica burned down in 2007, after being struck by lightening

King's_palace

In the best sense, ours was a dead end tour, last stop Harau Valley. It ends in spectacular red-tinted vertical cliffs from which the gibbons’ hooting echoes in the morning. Abdi’s Homestay is picturesquely placed at the foot of the cliffs, right at the edge of the rice fields, looking out into the valley

Abdi_homestay

A place to just be, to watch the feisty old lady shooing the sparrows from the ripe rice with spirited shouts and an ingenious can rattling contraption, (view from our $12 cabin).

Harau_valley

Cold drinks are available and of an evening, simple good food will appear on your terrace……

A few days later, we made an accelerated round trip to much-praised Lake Maninjau,

Lake_Maninjau

navigated the 44 U-turns

44_Turns

down to the town and the water’s edge. From that perspective, we didn’t want to stay. In four words: Too many fish farms, (and empty run down accommodation). Go figure!

But then Eric got a text message, (21st century jungle drum?), from the wilderness. The Batang Palupuh Nature Conservation Center was reporting a blooming Rafflesia! A dream come true….
Ayub, the local guide, belongs in this trophy picture. Not because he finds the flowers and knows how far along they are to blooming, (it takes more than six months from bud to blossom), but because he came up with this: “If I don’t go to look for them, there are no flowers.”

Rafflesia_and_Ayub

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