Sumatra, complex and beautiful, where I spent last week traveling and working in Aceh, Medan, and Jambi.
It was a whirlwind week of early morning departures and long days of visits, and I spent plenty of time in airports, trains, and cars going to and fro. Obviously, I need to go back for more exploration (and to see some of Sumatra's natural wonders), but here are some highlights...
- A strong cup of coffee (and subsequently purchased beans) from Banda Aceh's most famous cafe, Solong Coffee. I was so enraptured with my caffeinated beverage and local snacks, that I did not snap a photo. Clearly this local establishment is the place to meet with friends or to do business over a cup of coffee - it was bustling and busy the entire time I was there.
- Acehnese food served in a local restaurant, full of flavor and spices. I was seated in an open-air restaurant and promptly brought 5-6 dishes full of scrumptiousness and surprises. Fried chicken pieces with fried greens, fried squid filled with egg and spices, mussels and vegetables in sauce, chicken and potatoes in curry, and, of course, rice. Spicy. Delicious. Wonderful.
- Nighttime festival in Jambi to which we had special, front-seat invitations from the governor to view the song and dance. My favorites were a fusion between modern music styles (rap) and traditional singing. All accompanied by hundreds of drummers.
- Picture with the traditionally dressed Jambi beauties - festival royalty.