Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tour of Indonesia 1 : Sumatera - Part 06

Free and easy...

We have one day and a night to burn in Pekanbaru.
Mohd Radzi suggested breakfast at Pondok Saiyo before we head out to the Sang Nila Utama Museum in Jalan Jendral Sudirman. 
Seems that in every town, there is a Jalan Jendral Sudirman. 
Unlike Medan in North Sumatera, Pekanbaru remained much as a trading area.
There are a lot of businesses here compared to most of the towns we have rode past.
Mohd Radzi suggested the Sang Nila Utama museum and I concur with his suggestion as it's really worth taking the trip.

Rolling out from our room in Pekanbaru
Bubur Bandung, thick enough to paste wallpapers
We had bubur bandung (porridge) at Pondok Saiyo.
Later, we chat a bit with the lady who runs it and learned that Malaysians staying around the area loved to have their makan at her shop.
From our hotel, we rolled out towards Jalan Jendral Sudirman and halfway through, we stopped at a police station to ask for directions.
Seems that we are on the right path by just riding straight as the road is a long stretch.
About two kilometers down the road, I spotted the museum complex.
We had to carry our bikes up a pedestrian bridge to the other side of the road.
Coincidentally, the Museum is located near the province's tourism services.
We checked out the Sang Nila Utama exhibits and found out that there is a Malacca Gallery there.
It was closed to the public, so, we checked out what Pekanbaru has to offer in terms of historical finds.
There are a lot of temple ruins in the Riau district with the nearest one about 100km away.
The Museum staff also recommended the Siak Palace. 
As a token of goodwill, we donated a small sum for entering the Museum.
There are some interesting exhibits and if you love everything to do with the petroleum industry, Chevron's presence is very strong here.

Malay traditional attire in the museum

Cross-section of an oil field in Sumatera

The Museum in Pekanbaru
Gathering information..

We went to the province's tourism service which is located nearby.
A lady greeted us there and shared about what to see and do in Pekanbaru.
We took the opportunity to get maps and useful literature on the province.
Apparently, there's not much to see in the area.
From there, we rode back towards hotel and chilled out at the Tune Hotel's cafe.

Exploring Pekanbaru..

If you have a bicycle, you can see more.
It's a shitload cheaper than asking for a taxi and a local tour guide.
We rode off to the edge of the Siak River and a craft market nearby where tourists from Java are said to splurge their money there.

Panoramic view of the Siak river in Pekanbaru
Meeting the locals...

We stopped by a local coffeeshop and had some makan.
There's this local dish called "Shyomai".
And later, I learned that its actually Siew Mai dumplings.
The owner, Pak Akmar, who has been to Malaysia on several occasions, indulged on some small talk with us.
He said the Shyomai dumplings originated from a small shop in Bandung.
What's interesting is the fact that the dish is actually some rojak with peanut sauce and steamed cabbages.
We spent some time chatting with Pak Akmar, learning about Pekanbaru.
He told us to pay the Balai Adat Melayu at Jalan Diponegoro a visit.

Indonesian Shyomai

Pak Akmar showing off his special dish from Bandung

A worker preparing the steamed dumplings
Later in the day, we rode down to Jalan Diponegoro.
There, we stopped by at the Balai Istiadat Melayu.
It's a nice building in Pekanbaru's premier district and with the time we had, we continued towards Chinatown.
There, we witnessed an accident.
A motorcyclist and his pillion rider crashed. The girl that was with the biker was hurt.
She had lacerations on her limbs and her face was bleeding.
The time was just right for us to ride back to the hotel and retire the bikes for the day.


The Siak River

At a monument in Pekanbaru

Bike lanes

Riding along the dedicated bike lane in Riau's administrative capital...

Es buah to cool off on a hot day.. 
A trip to the Mall..

As tourists, we want to bring home some souvenirs.
But Dumai, Kandis, Minas and Pekanbaru aren't your usual tourist spots.
There are no shops selling T-shirts saying: "I love Dumai" or keychains.
So, the most practical thing to bring home was a nice batik shirt.
And for this, we set out the Ska Mall, some 7km away from our hotel.
We managed to get a cab and shot straight to the mall.
There, we found what we were looking for.

Found the batik shirt I was looking for

The sale at Ska Mall's Matahari Department store
A surprise find! 
Sumatera suffers from frequent power outage.
Pekanbaru is no exception. While we were browsing the aisle, the lights went off.
We were lucky enough to score our Batik shirts and while waiting for our cab driver to arrive, I decided to check out the hypermart.
There was an aisle with Hotwheels cars on the rack.
I found two Mars Rovers at IDR 11,900 (RM3.18).
Back in Kuala Lumpur, these rare vehicles are sold at RM35 each.
So, without hesitation, I grabbed them! 

Our last night in Pekanbaru

We chilled out till about 7pm and it started to rain. I mean, heavy rain.
After weathering out the showers, we walked down to Pondok Saiyo.
The shop was closed.
The back up plan was to walk around, searching for some good makan.
Then, we saw this Pecel Lele shop (fried catfish) and decided to grab a meal there..

Pecel Lele: Catfish fried to perfection

Radzi and me

The traditional dishes...
After a good meal, we waited for the rain to die down.
Then, it was a trip to the local convenience store.
We grabbed some snacks and drinks before heading back to our room.
I was tired and am looking forward for the road trip back to Dumai the next day.
We had made arrangements for a 10am pick-up, that leaves us plenty of time to have breakfast and some last-minute shopping..

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