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Old 12-09-2011, 07:49 PM   #81
The Bigfella OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Dooral Dooral, Eastern Oz
Oddometer: 2,438
I'm of two minds about heading into Jakarta.

I'm half inclined to miss the traffic, but I've also got friends there... so yes, I'll probably head in. I'll send you a pm.

I should have posted this one in my last post.... this lovely young lady was on the ferry from Labuan Bajo to Sape (Sumbawa) with her husband and kid....

They got away from the dock ahead of me and I gave them a wave down the road a bit.... all three of them on the scooter of course.



I saw some wooden boats being built and pulled up for a quick look but I couldn't see an easy way across the ditch






My bike lived in the hotel lobby in Bima. The hotel was a bit of a dive and the bike was parked in plain view of the main road, so the security guard suggested I wheel it in.




After a lazy start from Bima, I tried to get to Tambora - the volcano that killed more people than any other in recorded history - around 90,000, many of them from starvation and caused the year without a summer in the northern hemisphere in the early 19th century, but that didn't happen. I snapped a quick shot of these two cops who were at a roadworks stop... had to wait ages while the road on a mountain pass was being widened. The guy on the left had his name on his shirt..... Aswad.



I had lunch with two English speakers.... The bush telegraph as we'd describe it in Oz, seems to have been at work here. I was hungry and hadn't seen any restaurants - I was passing through Dompu (well, skirting it really) and I gave up and stopped at some roadside stalls. They didn't have much in the way of food and I was getting into some sort of stale bread roll when Farel and Yani showed up. I'm pretty sure someone messaged them and told them there was an English speaker there. Anyhow, they asked if I was hungry and then it was "follow us" time again. I'd never have found the restaurants there on my own.



There was a group of senior cops eating in the restaurant, one of whom knew one of my friends. He ended up on the bike....



It was funny with the cops earlier.... there was a checkpoint... about 8-10 cops pulling up all the locals.... so I stopped and asked directions.... the cop's eyes popped looking at the bike... and he waved me on, not wanting me to stop, but I asked the way and he pointed the right way... so I popped a nice wheelie for him (that'd be about half the licence gone if I did it in Oz).

And this is Tambora - the world's most deadly volcano... and that's as close as I got... sort of... Its the one at the back in the clouds



I realised when I got to about here that the water in the photo should have been on my left. Someone had given me a bum steer when I stopped for directions... most likely my fault for not pronouncing the name of a village correctly. I'd been kitted out with some emergency food back in Dompu - some sticky rice and some other concoction with a non-refrigerated shelf life of about three days, as they were worried I may not find anywhere to stay.


When I realised I was miles from where I should be, I didn't go back. The roads on Sumbawa included the best and the worst roads of the trip so far. There is an Australian foreign aid project to widen the main roads in the eastern part of the archipeligo - and where its been done, its like riding on a brand new race track. Fabulous. The chewed up sections though haven't seen any maintenance and they are as rough as buggery. Unlike the corrugations up on Cape York, where with some speed up you can fly over the top for a smooth-ish ride, here, the faster you went, the more you shook. I maxed out at about 90kmh... and backed off. Nasty, nasty rocks everywhere.

I'd come through a long mountain pass with lots of construction work and it'd been raining.... so I figured that the dry road ahead was a better option.


Two trucks meet on the road here and something has to give - hence the aid project. One truck and its the bikes that give - you get out of their way. The big buses (only saw 3 today) are the real asswads. They take your side of the road whether they need it or not - every bloody time.



These blokes were everywhere.... saw hundreds of them - on all the mountain passes, not the flats



Of course.... I got mobbed whenever I stopped.... and provoked at least a reaction, if not a smile and a wave from most people beside the road (ie thousands and thousands....) I had a think about it and realised I'd been on the road for 2 1/2 months straight... and I've probably waved to more people than the Queen of England in that time.



It really dumped on me at one stage and I pulled in where some local folks were waiting out the rain....



.... although not everyone did



I got flagged down for this a bit later on... just outside a village. I reckon she'd just fainted... but I may be wrong. I offered water, but they didn't want it. They had phones, so they didn't want mine. They were all trying to stand the poor girl up - while she was unconcious. I decided I was more of a hindrance than a help.... and if the truth be known, I was probably more likely to cause her problems of a morality nature if I'd touched her. Again, I felt less than well prepared as I left the scene.



Photo... photo.... Oh, OK



And another one. I sure hope she didn't have nits.... she grabbed my head and pulled it down to hers....



Some salt making I passed..... went on for ages



Horse carts are everywhere on this island... because its flat - I didn't see any of these on Flores



.... and that's about it... I ended up in a reasonable looking dive of a hotel.... with a big restaurant about 10-15 km outside the main city on the island.

When I went down for dinner.... the only option was 2 minute noodles. Yum Mie Noodles to be precise. So much for the big restaurant eh? Less cockroaches than last night.... maybe something to do with the can of insect spray he came to the room with?????


Not sure whether I'll head onto the back road to the south coast here... or hightail it to the Lombok ferry. It runs every 45 minutes here, 24 hours a day. Kupang-Larantuka was twice a week, Labaunbajo-Sape once a day. Sort of reflects the population and distance issues nicely.

I read the guide book and decided I don't want to climb the volcano on Lombok - its a 3 day hike and I'm not that fit.... nor do I have the right hiking boots. I did Mt Ramelau and Kelimutu in my Rockport dress shoes.... and a smashed up big toe - and suffered. People die on this one - Gunung Rinjani - every year.

Ahh - just heard an "excuse me sir" - popped my head outside and there's a coffee and two boiled eggs. Lovely. Coffee (kopi) here is made by dumping ground coffee, loads of sugar and hot water into a mug. It pays to sip rather than gulp.... and to leave the last 1/4" alone.
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