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“On the road through Indo” diary entry 1

We head for the jungle.  Up and up we go on the only road out of Padang toward the village of Tugu Macan. The one lane –  narrow, uneven, mostly made of dirt or stone – has major portions washed out and serves for four lanes of motorbikes, cars and trucks. The curves would send my stomach retching were it not for the patch stuck behind my ear; the small round motion-sickness cure that, so far, works miraculously, but sparks the curiosity of locals. There are no road crews however we seem to come across, and are held up by, “road work”.  Its apparently being done by the villagers and I can’t tell if they’re making it better or worse. They’re making speed bumps out of piles of dirt into which they stick branches or else they pick-ax out large boulders which they carry off leaving gapping holes. I can’t decide whether they are sacrificing this road edge for a better good, digging out the rocks to mend worse sections, or if they are simply recycling the stones for their own personal use. On both sides the villagers have set to drying coffee and it lies in long, climbing, curving lines, spread out on fabric and tarps. I see some are sweeping it up into big, brown sacks; cars and dogs have been running through it all day, perhaps that helps to cure the beans? There’s another crop here too, lying in the wet heat and the smell is as pungent and as colorful as the drying bark, I figure it must be cinnamon. 


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