I'd left myself a couple of hours that morning before hitting the road again, which I invested in banging my head inexorably against infernally poor internet provision, I waited a full 20 minutes at the first joint without even getting a connection, and then the second one finally hooked up only for the pages to scroll excruciatingly slowly. I somehow managed to read my emails but could not even contemplate replies or other important work. I'd opted for the convenience of a swarthy overpriced minivan for the convenience of door to door service, tempered by the 2 hour trip stretching to 3 by the time I got dropped off last. The guidebook had singularly ommitted the cheapie hotels in Padang such was their reputedly grim nature, and so I paid a few quid more for a more homely option, a grand villa all plastic flowers and ostentatious colonial furniture. Just around the corner I found the beach, with the palm trees and a jungly headland trying their best to offset the less than perfect litter strewn black sand. From there I rounded a headland towards the local river, with some very picturesque vistas of colourful boats dotted around and very rudimentary dug out canoes being hewn from logs out of a dilapidated quayside colonial relic. Other Dutch architectural vestiges were more noteworthy, mainly having served as warehouses, though another surprise all together was unbetold by the guidebook, a Chinese community boasting many clan houses, a typically garish temple and many 2 story merchant houses reminiscent of Georgetown on Penang.
With the light fading I wrapped off a blazing day with a super spicy Nasi Goreng, washed down by my first 2 Anker beers. Ensconced by the riverside where competing stalls variously blared out either passable Indonesian ballads or caustic karaoke, basket proferring beggar kids were no match for local babes more interested in photo opportunities with the big white weirdo. Understandable I suppose!