I had the great good fortune today, after taking care of some stuff at Immigration in Cilacap, JaTeng, to meet a man from Pariaman (he runs a R.M. Padang called New Palapa next to Immigration), a Mr. Ramli. We conversed in Indonesian at his little eatery. He has lived in Central Java for quite some time. I got the following information about Pariaman and nearby. Pariaman is a coastal city. I'm sorry I didn't get more info - my transportation arrived before I could finish grilling him. ;)
In his opinion, Pariaman is safe. He mentioned the Tabud festival, which he didn't know much about and I wonder if perhaps he meant Tabuik. He said Tabud's held in Pariaman in January.
Pariaman is about half an hour by taxi from the Minangkabau airport (for Rp.50,000) or about half the cost and time by ojek. He suggested that there are no bad taxi companies in Pariaman. He said to call people "ajo", which means "big sibling". Also, I verified with him that the Minangkabau language is an oral language with no written component of its own - they use other languages to write.
Hotel Nantongga is a 3-star hotel near the beach, with rooms for around half a million rupiahs.
Beaches and islands: Activities available include swimming, surfing, fishing, waterskiing and jetskiing. There's no coral reef there, so scuba divers may not find it interesting, nor is there bungee-jumping. Arta beach on the Limau river is about 20km from Pariaman. Kata beach is within Pariaman. There are a few islands nearby, such as Pagai, Pasir, Pandan and Nias (approx. 10 he said). While you can get there from Pariaman, it's faster and cheaper to take a taxi, ojek or mini-bus (perhaps Rp.5,000) to Nareh (village?) 25 km away. If you leave from Nareh, it may take 15-30 minutes and cost Rp.50,000 if you're part of a group going there (he suggests joining a group rather than going alone), or you can go from Pariaman for about Rp.100,000 and maybe 1 hour.
Eating: For food, he suggested Tanjung Tirem, a beach area near Pelabuhan (Harbor) Minangkabau where its easy to get fresh seafood.
Places to see: Near Tanjung Tirem is the Makam (Cemetery) Sehburhanurdin, which is where Sehburhanurdin is buried. That person is supposedly the "Nabi" who first brought Islam to W. Sumatra, and the cemetary is supposedly the first place where he taught Islam. It is about 20 km from Pariaman in Ulakan. The Acara Basapa is held here each year in mid-January to pay respect to that man.
Padang Sago/Gunung Tigo - there was a valley there that was filled by earthquake-triggered landslides of neighboring hills which contained a village, perhaps in 2006. According to Mr. Ramli, when that happened, 63 K.K. (registered families) were killed. He said that tourists like going there.
Things to buy: The most notable things to buy there are: songket, which is the Sumatran version of a sarung, made of heavier, stiffer material and usually decorated with bright/shiny thread in interesting geometric patterns. He said a good one might go for Rp.750,000. mukena, which is the head scarf worn by Muslim women. He said good ones sell for Rp.250,000. rumah adat Minang, which is a model of a Minangkabau house, with its characteristic high and unique roof. Goatskin models can be fitted with a lamp for interesting effect, and may cost Rp.2,500,000. Wooden ones may cost Rp.5000,000. He's not sure about the cost of one made from silver (which I've seen in Jogja).
Other things to do: He said that a lot of foreigners like to go there to learn their dancing, which he said there are many different dances for different special occasions, and pencak silat (martial arts), which include Silat Minang, Harimau (Tiger) and Ular (Snake). He confirmed the story of tiger handlers that Spartacks wrote about on Talk:Indonesia and added this information: "A student of Minang tiger style who wants to learn the secret techniques of the master must repeatedly ask the master to be taught. Once the master finally agrees, he will take his student out in the middle of the night to teach these "kunci" (keys). This is done in the darkness, without benefit of extra lighting, apparently to preserve the secrets from potential onlookers.
Culture: He also claimed that if masters of Silat Harimau or Ular perform their style, the respective animal will literally come "to watch". He told me this story about a time he viewed a practitioner performing Silat Ular.
"During the performance, a snake suddenly arrived. The locals, not understanding and (as with most Indonesians) being fearful, decided to get rid of it. One man picked up a stick and hit the snake, which drove it away but didn't kill it. The master stopped what he was doing and approached the man. He asked the man why he'd done that. The man, of course, said he'd been scared. The master reprimanded him for attacking a snake and for being ignorant that it was an "ancestor" and said he'd had a dream the night before. That snake appeared to him in it and complained that it was often mistreated and beaten and didn't understand why it wasn't treated respectfully. It said it just wanted to watch the master perform. The master told the man that he'd have to do something to make amends, and he was assigned some sort of task of penitence."
I tried asking him about the matrilineal/matriarchal nature of his culture, but my Indonesian wasn't up to the task. All I was able to learn was about inheritances: In a large extended family, a mamak (elder uncle) is chosen from amongst them to manage the harta pusaka (which includes property and heirlooms, maybe magical items), which aren't allowed to be sold. Property can be rented out or otherwise used to earn money. For example, a rice field could be planted by rice farmers and financed by the mamak. The results of the harvest would be for the entire community (of the family) rather than just for the 'mamak', who would distribute the wealth. If a 'mamak' dies, another person from that family is chosen to take on the responsibilities - always a male.
I hope this info will be of use in starting the Pariaman article. My wife is going to Immigration next week so I'll ask her if she's be willing to interview him more. ReveurGAM (talk) 15:00, 7 February 2013 (UTC)