After an early start in Singapore I have an eighty minute flight to Jakarta which finds me back on Javanese soil for the first time since G-Land. Largely down to the unbelievably efficient Changi airport it was a painless trip. It also meant I crossed the equator again.
However I don’t stop for much longer than the time it takes me to get another Indonesian visa, because my next flight takes me on to Padang in Sumatra. I have ended up flying about a thousand miles on two flights just to get a hundred miles across to the west side of Sumatra which is a bit wasteful, but it was out of my hands. It is the second overnight stop before catching a boat to the Mentawai Islands tomorrow.
The first thing I noticed upon arriving in Padang are all the wonderful buildings.
There are so many style like the one you see here, with the roof eaves arcing exponentially upwards.
The whole of this area got absolutely hammered by the Boxing Day earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 so it is good to see so many magnificent structures still standing.
However that doesn’t stop the Axana hotel in Padang, where I am staying for the night, providing me with earthquake survival tips when checking in.
Definitely a first and given how many hotels I have stayed in around the Pacific Rim of Fire without getting anything, I can admit that it is a tad alarming that this one thinks it necessary.
There are other natural threats around here for me to consider though, albeit in dwindling numbers. The Sumatran Tiger is listed as critically endangered because there are only 400 left in the wild. It looks like it may go the way of both the Balinese and Javan Tigers that are now extinct, which would be a massive shame.
One of the sad facts of the world is that there are already more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.
Saying that though I didn’t fancy my chances much if I bumped into one on the way back from my beer run to the shops! 200kg of danger that I wouldn’t want to mess with.