The faces of Aceh


It was that day, I recalled my mind…. I was packing everything into my suitcase so excitedly. I felt such a sensation knowing I would visit Aceh for the first time. Well… anyway, traveling always gives my body such a sensation. Not to forget, I carried with me my brand new DLSR camera (hm..hm…hm…smile). With my camera, hope I could see many things there through the view-finder and frame them.

As I met my travel-mates, one of them gave his impression on my look,…”Iim already looks like an Acehnese’. His comment made me release a little smile. Let see if he was right..! And then…. off we went to Aceh, flew above the Indian Ocean and Barisan Mountain….to the westernmost province of Indonesia.

Still in the same day as I arrived, I visited 2.500 tonnage Floating Diesel Power Electricity Plant (Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Diesel Apung (2.500 ton), a ship which was originally anchored at Ulelee Port, as caused of 26 December 2004 Tsunami was stranded away as far as moreless 4 km to the residential, in Punge Village, Blancut, Banda Aceh. A local guide who walked me around the area telling me things about the tragedy. He also helped taking pictures of me posing in front of the tsunami historical monuments, such as the ship, a boat in tsunami education park, and a small building full of faded pictures, they call it a museum….. At the end, the local guy told me that my face look like the Acehnese women’s.. Hehhehehe, two guys had told me so, on the same day. (The other day, the second time I visited Aceh, we went to a local government office, and what happened….? When I offered shaking hand, as my colleagues did, to the office staff, he did not make a move, but after a while he realized and shook my hand while telling us ‘ I thought you are one of our staff here’….)

The Betor Family

The following days, I enjoyed watching the Aceh people. Yes, most of their faces show similarities, it is very obvious on male faces. They have dark brown (sunburn) skin, gaunt face, look pretty much like arabs or indians. Most of the Aceh women have average height, around 150 cm tall, petite postur, sweet face, and slightly dark skin. Some of Acehnese are recognizeable as Chinese descendants, it is very obvious, as majority of them are non-moslem their women do not wear head-scarves. As already known, Aceh itself gets its name as an abbreviation of Arab, Chinese, European, and Hindustan. The Aceh people nowadays are reckoned as descendants of the people from those regions. If so…. where have the European descendants been hiding? They can be found in Lamno, a small coastal town. They have blue eyes and white skin. But I haven’t seen any one of them. The driver who drove us there told that.. their population was reduced, most of them were wipe off due to 2004 tsunami, and the survivors now live remotely…. Hope one day, I can see those pretty blue-eyes and frame them trough my camera window.

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