Saturday, February 2, 2013

Between the Mountains and the Sea

So we opted to leave.

My parents did, actually. My mother is so traumatic by the quake and the tsunami prediction frightens her more than all of us. My father built her a house far from the coastal area. From there, we can see Bukit Barisan mountains closer.

The location is within 1 km of a road called "Bypass", built approximately 5 km inland, once intended to be the outer road of the city, since Padang is densely populated along the coast. Although both ends of Bypass; the airport and seaport; are close to the sea, most part of the road is roughly equidistant from the sea and the mountains.

Unsurprisingly, the inland part of the city is becoming more crowded, for which population growth, economic stability, and fear of the tsunami is responsible. Now Bypass is becoming one of the main roads of the city. The bushes and plants that used to decorate the roadside are now gradually replaced by government offices, hospitals, universities, and ruko, most of which are labelled "quake-friendly construction", whatever that means. During busy hours, it is packed by cars and motorcycles. The east of Bypass, which used to be considered hillbilly by the coastal residents, now has many housing complex and residential area. I remember back in 1998, I mocked a friend who lived in a district called Kuranji for their funny accent and not having phone lines. Now my parents' new house is located in the very district.

In my defense, Kuranji now is not the Kuranji in 1998. Around the house, everything is within reach. Traditional market, construction material shops, pulsa sellers, food street vendors, bakery, schools, tailor, not to mention warung. My family, who knows very little about entrepreneurship, wonders how the traders survive. It seems that everyone is selling much more than buying. Or maybe we just don't know the actual numbers. Not that we mind, it's perfect. Or maybe it's only a matter of time until we have our own shop and sell something.

A friend asked me, is it so frightening to live near the sea?

Well, when the quake rarely greets us, or when only the small ones occurred, we forget about the tsunami. We live lively. However, when it rained heavily at night, sometimes the thought of quake and tsunami crossed my mind. I could barely sleep while praying the quake doesn't happen at the time.

Does it mean living far away from the coast is happier?

My mother is calmer. She looks happy. My father is a bit homesick. He keeps seeking reason to visit the old house. My parents don't mind if I live with them. I love the new house. However, my workplace is very close to our old house, only ten minute stroll. So for now, I like being close to work, as long as I forget the fear. Even if fear suddenly comes, we can't just quit doing things, right?

Padang aerial view from the north


  1. oh no, my house is nearer to the beach than yours *nangis*
    saking sibuknya gue sampe lupa bahaya sunami msh mengancam padang .

    now, u'r staying at old or new house?

  2. ya kagak usah diingat2. yg penting tau rute evakuasi dan tetap kalem saat bahaya mengancam *kayabukupanduan

    i'm "anak kos" at the old house during weekdays, so it's closer to the office. btw the new house is close to your project hehehe

  3. kok komen lu gak ada di sini doe. report di email doang

  4. Well we are looking a house overthere. Rainy nights is terrifiying just wondering earthquake or not,....especiallly for me, 6 years out of pdg then returnk to this city well...may Allah with us...pls inform for any recomended spaces...yaaa...

  5. wah i feel like a real estate agent hehehe. there are many space there, deb. i think more than half are still rice fields and plantation. but i don't know if those are sold. other than that, housing complexes are increasing. komplek polda, komplek perumahan UNP, komplek anu, komplek itu. mungkin komplek BPK aja yg belum ada hehehe

    jadi penasaran, berapa persen warga padang yg susah tidur kalau hujan lebat tengah malam :)