Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It's Tuesday morning and I'm sitting in the dorm. It's Independence Day here so all the government offices are on holiday. There's no internet at our place so I will upload this when we get to the construction clinic. Hopefully we'll see some good fireworks tonight!

We've had a pretty mellow week. Everyone seems to be following a different schedule for Ramadan. We're not fasting anymore but we've shifted our eating habits a bit. There is absolutely no way to get a normal meal during lunch. Unless we go to Chinatown but even there I think we would have trouble finding a place that was actually serving food.

There is definitely less traffic on the roads and the city buses come less often. But people start setting up their food stalls and preparing for customers at around 3pm. This is quite early since people can't start eating until around 6:30pm. I guess cooking a lot takes a while. The city park, Imam Bonjol, is filled has a section where a ton of people set up food for selling. It's like a market except everyone is selling prepared foods and drinks. We got there at around 5:30pm one day and it was already packed with people. It seems like most people buy food to bring home. And I guess they still have to feed their kids.

This past weekend. Saturday was pretty chill. We stayed in the dorm and did emails and such until around noon. We started doing some work in the afternoon, mostly compiling data. At night, we went for martabak with Kevin, one of our housemates. Then we walked around in the rain trying to find the place in Chinatown where they play music every Saturday. We walked in a big circle and didn't managed to find it so we went over to Pasar Seni. We were probably too late anyhow. We stayed at Pasar Seni for a while chatting with the people there and waiting out the rain. It's been raining quite a bit lately.

Greg and Kevin went running to Air Manis (nearby beach that is behind a hill) on Sunday morning. I went with them once. The beach is nice but the hill is pretty steep and my knees were definitely complaining. I went to Plaza Andalas (big mall) and got some random food and snacks. I think Greg was overwhelmed with the weirdness of the stuff that I got. He did try all of them though so I was impressed. Neither of us are particularly picky about food and we seem to like the same stuff in general. It's worked out pretty well so far.

We did some more work Sunday afternoon. A couple of the guys from Pasar Seni came over to play basketball towards sunset. We tried to get some normal Padang food at around 7pm but a lot of the places around our street are closed. We went into one place and they were out of rice! So we went into a tent thing where they make fried chicken and had a pretty good meal. We had really good fried duck in Bandung. But duck is not as popular in Padang so we haven't managed to find a place for it yet. And when I say fried, I mean deep fried in a big wok of oil.

Monday. Yesterday, we went to the construction clinic after eating a big breakfast and worked on stuff there. We basically sat in an office all day and worked. I was working on compiling all the geotechnical data that we have collected so far. Greg was trying to get SAP or ETABS on his computer for a long time. It turned out to be a really easy fix but we didn't get it working until 3pm or so. By that time, our energy levels weren't as high anymore. Somehow, sitting in an office all day is really draining. It's harder since we didn't really have anyone to talk to about what we're doing. It's hard for us to consult each other about our respective work. So everything just seems to move so much slower when you can't get advice.

When we got back home, we ran to the beach and watched the sunset. It was a nice one this time and I think running outside was a really good idea after a day of sitting inside. We had nasi goreng, which we didn't manage to get last time we went to the beach for sunset. We were eating and a girl came over and we chatted for a while. Her English is really good because she had worked in KL for two years.

The road along the beach is usually populated with a ton of stalls selling food. There are definitely a lot less stalls now and the whole area seems more empty. We went over to Pasar Seni but the power was out and everything was super dark. On the way home, we stopped by Plaza Andalas again and picked up a hair trimmer that only works if you duct tape the batteries backwards and occasionally hit against the palm of your hand.

Thinking about going up to Bukittinggi for our last weekend in the country. Should be a good trip if we make it. Can't plan too much in advance here. It's only Tuesday.

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