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Old 04-06-2012, 03:58 AM   #151
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WOW! This RR is great!
Read the whole thing in two days.


BTW. you didn't happen to hear what route the Japanese dude rode from Finland?
I would really like to go from Europe to Singapore one day, but having a having a hard time finding a good route.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:58 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Multisync View Post
WOW! This RR is great!
Read the whole thing in two days.


BTW. you didn't happen to hear what route the Japanese dude rode from Finland?
I would really like to go from Europe to Singapore one day, but having a having a hard time finding a good route.
I did... at the time, but that's garbled into the mists of 6 discussions with other riders now. Sorry. I recall Peter, the Dane that I rode Cape york with came through Russia, Mongolia and Thailand... but I'm not sure of his full route either. I keep in contact with him, so will ask.

Cheers
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:06 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by hoadie72 View Post
I've really been enjoying this RR and in particular the insight you give into the lives and culture of some of our nearest neighbours.

BTW I recently scored the AW100 to compliment my aging D70 and so far am very happy with it. I have the manuals in PDF format if you'd like a copy.
I've got them in English on CD... but no CD drive with me. I've just put them with the pile of gear to fly home with me on Sunday.... so I should be OK thanks. How about one of us gets disappointed? I paid $360 ($370 with credit card charge) here in Indofor the AW100 . What are they there?

Gee, its going to be a bugger getting off the plane in Sydney on Monday... and spending the damn day working. I've got a draft report to finalise and get to the client on Tuesday. I don't think I'm looking forward to that. I am looking forward to getting back here in a month's time though.

Hanna, (Hannies really), Willemijn and I headed out to get an early meal and have a look around. It turned into a fascinating journey... we had a tidbit, then moved to another area, and ended up being dropped off at the main mosque here. Visiting was over, but one of the main guides grabbed us and took us around anyhow... showed us the Sultans graves, described the whole mosque / prayers bit.... got the girls going a bit by telling them that menstruating women aren't pure... and so on. Eddy (our guide) went to Islamic school for 3 years from the age of 8. At one stage, Willemijn bent over... and exposed her lower back / upper butt.... in the mosque grounds. Eddy had a look of horror... grabbed her shirt and pulled it down. Women praying in the mosque can only expose their face and the palms of their hands.

We ended up wandering through the grounds of the Sultan's Palace (the current Sultan is 14 years old)... and then going miles to a street restaurant. Dinner included fried pippies, boiled turtledove eggs, capcay, tempe, etc, etc. Washed down with avocado juice lashed with chocolate.

Quite a feast. $15 for 4 of us... well, 7 of us actually. Three 12 year old boys turned up looking for money for food... so I sat them down and handed them our left overs. They were still hungry, so they all polished off a Nasi Goreng each too.

Eddy was somewhat smitten with Willemijn... so we rescued her but buggered it up a bit. I slipped him some money.. and so did W. He did OK for himself. I'll get some photos up eventually.

There's an 88 yo American guy here at the guesthouse... with his girlfriend... a local Muslim lady who'd be no older than 45 at a guess. He's well looked after and she looks content, if not happy.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:00 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
I've got them in English on CD... but no CD drive with me. I've just put them with the pile of gear to fly home with me on Sunday.... so I should be OK thanks. How about one of us gets disappointed? I paid $360 ($370 with credit card charge) here in Indofor the AW100 . What are they there?
I see that Ryda are selling it for about $360, up to $450 at Teds and less than $300 online - grey market imports perhaps? I got mine for "free" using reward points from my credit card. I did buy a 2nd battery and a 12v charger for it as I can easily flatten the battery in less than a day.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:05 AM   #155
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About the same money then... except for the grey imports. Let's see how this one lasts... I drowned a Canon Ixus 105 last year when I dropped the Katoom on a slimy causeway up on the Liverpool Plains.... I'd been keeping it in the unzipped top of my tank bag... and it looked a bit sad staring up at me from the bottom of the creek. The funny thing about the elephant doing the Nikon S6100 in was that it was in my shorts pocket at the time... and I had my D7000 hanging around my neck. The D7000 survived us being tossed, luckily, Three weeks later though and I've still got a sore leg.

OK... I've wandered off to Sun Plaza here in Medan... its a major shopping centre and there's lots of affluence on display there. Lots. Medan is Indonesia's third largest city and according to Lonely Planet, around 30% of Indonesia's exports come from Northern Sumatra, so there's some wealth here to go with the poverty and beggars. I went there the other night with Hanna and the two Dutch guys. I shouted them a half beer each at the sushi bar. Yep...you're the last of the big spenders, Ian.... it cost me just shy of $30 for two German beers. I'll stick to the Bintang at $3 for a large bottle (around a pint).

Anyhow... I've stocked up on oil for when I return. Stanley, from the guesthouse told me where to go at the Plaza to get the good oil. Its damn hard to find decent oil here and I want to do an oil change, put a new chain on and fix a few things up when I get back. I know I'm missing at least 8 bolts.... some of which I won't be able to replace because I've lost the fittings that went with them. My luggage rack has been held on by precisely zero bolts for weeks now.... not a single one... but its been a ripper... it doesn't need them... although it moves around a bit when the luggage isn't on. My numberplate is ziptied on now too. Did I ever mention that the roads here are a little bit rough? I thought I was going to get decent mileage out of my Mitas E09 front tyre, but its showing significant wear now, at 4,500km - the blocks are worn down at the back, presumably from the hard braking. The rear, a Mefo Super Explorer is shot at the same mileage... which is 50% better than I got from the last pair of tyres, perhaps because I've toned down the wheelies and the roads are a bit more open, if no smoother?


I got a funny story from Stanley... he's rather finicky about security. Made sure there's nothing removable left on the bike, got it covered up and locked away too. So Stanley tells me about El Conquistador... who stayed here a few days before I crossed his path. He wanted to go into town to get something... and Stanley told him to take local transport, not his bike. Nope... and off he went. That's where he lost the GoPro camera that El Conquistador told me had snapped off. Someone pinched it while he was shopping. I'll make no further comment on that one.

So, I got the girls at the Plaza to sort out my dongle... and I should be able to get a few Danau Toba pics up... Lessee

Lake (Danau) Toba.



The view from the restaurant/bar at Carolinas, where both Connie and I were staying



She was in the cheapest rooms at about $9. I spent up big and was in a big room with supposedly hot water at $15.50. At least the chill was off the water... we were at a bit over 800 metres altitude here.

This is the village we blundered into when lost, whilst looking for a tourist site.



The Batak house that the girls (17yo and 20yo) invited us into for coffee. Not exactly my sized door.



There was a dog in there btw... the girls said it climbs the stairs, but we didn't witness that. These Batak houses have an odd number of steps. Criminals used to be made to sleep in houses with an even number of steps. Apparently there's a reason....

The girls



The rest of the mob... including dad (the 58yo guy with cataracts). I've been making some enquiries here in Medan, but haven't pinned down a solution yet.




I reckon we can get him sorted out, I'll have a chat to the Fred Hollows Foundation when I get back to Sydney and go from there.

Did I ever mention that I don't like Chupa Chups. Dunno why



Ahh, coffee.



Incidentally, that mat is what they sleep on. Not exactly inner springs... but they aren't that harsh. I've had a massage or two laying on those sort of mats and its survivable.


Connie and I both thought this daughter was around 14, but she says she's 17



Back at Carolinas, I heard a noise in the restaurant ceiling. I'm no cat fan... but apparently Hanna wants me to send her this photo



..... and on that note, I'm about to pack and flit back to Sydney for a month to keep a couple of nervous clients happy. Its a bummer of a trip home from here. I've got to be at Medan airport at 9am to fly to KL... which takes an hour or so... then at 11:45pm its off to Sydney for a 9:45am arrival... and straight to work.... on Easter Monday. Fortunately, I scored an English language book at the plaza.


I'll get the rest of the photos up here over the next week or two and I'll be back here on May 8th. The plan is to go north of here a tad... to see the Oran-gutans in the wild - one or two days trekking involved, but there's 5,000 or so at a place about 90km up the road. Might try to get to Banda Aceh too before choofing off to Penang, Malaysia.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:34 AM   #156
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I'm hoping all my friends on the West and Northern coasts of Sumatra are OK.

The news of the 8.6 and 8.2 earthquakes is horrible... although its sounding like there's no major tsunami.

To put a face to this... these lovely girls on the Lake Toba ferry were all from Banda Aceh.... a city which lost 60,000 dead in the 2004 tsunami.



Connie, my American friend has just emailed to say she's OK - she'd gone to Nias Island... not the place to be if there's a tsunami.... but is back on Sumatra and up in the hills at Bukittinggi.

Again, I hope the rest of the people I know over there are OK
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:20 AM   #157
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Well, I found that whole earthquake experience horrible... knowing so many of the people there... and being here in Sydney, watching from afar.

I flew home from Medan to Sydney, via Kuala Lumpur on Sunday/Monday... and got straight into work after I got off the plane - for another 14 hours. Deadline met, I crashed into bed and its taken me till now to start to feel human again.

So, now I'm trying to think about what's needed to go back with me (chain, tyres, the fourth set of rear indicators and some more bolts... and more). I've been on the phone to the three-letter acronym agency that do bike registration here now and they were useless. It will be interesting trying to get the bike registered. I need an inspection certificate... but Indonesia don't do inspections. The Poms have a system where you don't need to keep paying the full fees if you are overseas. Our mob though want me to pay insurance in case I injure someone in Australia... while I'm out of the country. Pricks.

Anyhow... enough of that. Let's bring this ride report up to date.

Back to Lake Toba. Connie and I finally found good the 200-year-old stone sarcophagus of King Sidabutar. It was right under our noses, in the village of Tomok, a hop skip and jump from where we were staying, in Tuk Tuk. We must've put in 40km looking for something that was 3km from our hotel.... but it was good fun looking around anyhow.

Here he is. Apparently his sarcophagus is the shape of a ship.







Plenty of carved statues around there too







and even some cuties



Right next door, life goes on... drying out the corn crop



... and trying to flog dried/smoked fish to the tourists

.

I did buy a few trinkets here.... a thin hand-made blanket/scarf thing and a bamboo noise-maker for the kids soccer games. I was surprised to get it through customs - but I declared it and did. I felt pretty sorry for the ladies flogging stuff - there were lots of them and not many tourists. Toba is an absolutely brilliant tourist spot... but there isn't an airport within cooee... so with the advent of cheap point to point airfares, tourism here has died.

A quick stop at a bike shop to get a screw.... for the headlight that was falling out.



The guy there had a daughter who was scared of the big bule monster and his camera... but I caught her eventually.



We headed off in the other direction... looking for Ambarita, just north of Tuktuk - rated as one of the musts when visiting Samosir. Its a traditional village with King Siallagan's stone chairs. These traditional Batak houses are interesting. The lines on the front symbolise the continuous nature of the family.





We paid our 40c entry fee and got the current King as our guide. He explained that he - and all Bataks - know his grandfather's grandfather's brother's descendants. Did you follow that, or do I need to draw a diagram? We got the diagram.... a mud map. I suppose I should point out that it pissed down on us between Tomok and Ambarita... and we didn't have any wet weather gear with us. Such is Asia.

Here's the King, giving us the full rundown on the stone chairs... with me being allowed to sit in the King's chair.





These chairs are 400-500 years old. They were used in a tribal council arrangement to determine the fate of baddies. Generally a thief would get off by paying reparations, most of which went to the King. Real baddies (including those who got among the King's wives) would be sent off for execution. Being pretty fair chaps, they'd test the baddie to see if he was magical or not... they'd slice him all over with a sharp knife. If he didn't bleed he was magical. If he did... they rubbed lime juice and chillies in to the wounds... to soften him up a bit.

This is the execution site.



Some Aussie bloke volunteered for a demo to the assembled crowd. Um... that'd be Connie...





Afterwards, they carved them up and ate them.. the King getting first pick. Maybe the lime and chillies were really a marinade?

Wandering through the tourist traps... there must've been about 40 stalls all trying to attract Connie and I... the only tourists there... I spotted a "nice" bronze walking stick. The stallholder wanted 600,000... and I was short on cash, with no ATMs on the island. Bugger.



Some local details





Oh... I nearly forgot. One of the nice touches on the houses is the fertility displays. 4 breasts.



You've got to give credit to a culture that reveres breasts, eh?
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:57 AM   #158
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I'd been off and sorted out my airfare from Medan to KL... I had intended to get there by the end of this leg of the trip, but I'm not going to be rushed anywhere. If there's places to stop and enjoy... I'm going to do it. I extended a Lake Toba a couple of times, for example... as I had at Padang.

Connie played old fart... and I headed out that night by myself. My ticket agent had invited me to her Karaoke bar. I got there and found her canoodling on the couch with her boyfriend... so disappeared after one beer. It wasn't "that" sort of Karaoke bar btw.... just music and beer. Some locals came in while I was there and strewth... one of the girls could sing. She was brilliant, but I left them to it and wandered across the road to a blues bar. There were only some locals playing pool. Here's the shy barmaid...



I bought a couple of beers for the winners of the pool games, which they appreciated.

I loaded up in the morning and headed towards Berastagi, the back way. I'd managed to get a bit of cash advanced on my credit card... one of the benefits of staying at the upmarket ($15.50 a night) Carolina's. Rooms can be had around Tuk Tuk for about $3.00.... in the dives.

So... $40 later, I loaded up the walking stick



and headed up the hill. I spotted lots of these above ground burial crypts. This one was where the current King's brother (the previous King) is buried, but I saw one that had five levels. They go into the bottom slot for 10-15 years... until the family raises enough funds for a decent sendoff... then the bones are consolidated and they go upstairs a level.



Not a bad road, but littered with fallen rocks everywhere.



Took a coffee break here



Overlooking the northern end of Lake Toba



I probably should've stopped here to see what the go was. It looked like a wedding... but I decided not to intrude. I still had my wet weather poncho on... or what was left of it. I'd lost the left arm and the rest of it was shredding a bit when I opened the throttle up a bit.



The road was getting narrow and was peppered with potholes





I posted this shot already... but it put the heebies up me enough for me to post it again. This sort of thing normally gets a palm frond or branch stuck in it to attract your attention. Mine was diverted to the broken road and puddle just before it... and I damn near went in to this.



Ughh

I couldn't figure this one out. Designed to stop buses and trucks using the road... but I couldn't figure out why. I had to duck to go under it... and there were plenty of minibuses after this that wouldn't have fitted under it. I dunno



I was getting ready for a break when I came up to this one horse town... a few houses, a copshop and a cafe. I pulled in for a coffee... asked for one and got tea, asked for food and got nods... so I pointed to some eggs and held up three fingers. Got three boiled eggs. Total bill $1.20. The guys here were giving the dark chap a bit of curry. He wanted money and I offered food, but he said no.



Incidentally, the guy pointing to my front wheel is another cop... packing a pistol in his waistband. I tried to get into my pack to give that guy a shirt, but couldn't get anywhere without a total unpack... so I gave him a dollar... and the guys who'd been giving him a hard time all thanked me. I dunno what the deal was.

I ended up on a more populated road and eventually stopped for another coffee. This view was totally built out on a corner by a succession of little cafes.



The monkeys were all in the rubbish 50' below us... chomping away on whatever people threw them.

Ahhh - Berastagi. The only town I've ever seen with a cabbage monument



Its also got two active volcanos. Gunung Sibayak, which I climbed, and the currently erupting Gunung Sinabung, which is off limits.

I stayed at the Highlands Hotel - a weird place with only me and one other guest in the hotel... and over 100 villas, of which only one was occupied.



A lot of these villas were crumbling, derelict



Really weird.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:05 AM   #159
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Mate, I've been following this for months. Great report and even better photos. You're the reason my wi-fi gets maxxed out every month. Keep it up .
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #160
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Thanks Maverick. I'm almost done with this part of the trip... but I'll be back at it again in two and a half weeks. I just booked my flight back into Medan (at a fraction of the cost of local airfares.... a normal fare from KL to Medan is around $53, but mine cost another $20 with luggage and premium seating.

Just to show why that town I was in, Berastagi, has a statue of a cabbage in the main street, here's the view opposite my hotel.



I was staying at the top end of town in more ways than one. $30 a night and up on the slopes of a volcano for starters. That doesn't mean its all top end stuff... although I did have hot water and a flush toilet... that actually worked and didn't even have a sign asking me to not put paper in it. A nice touch was the tape over the powerpoint near the holder for the shower head. You could lift the shower head up well beyond this point too btw. It always pays to check the electrics out in bathrooms in Asia...



The main reason for stopping at Berastagi, only 75 km or so short of my departure point from Sumatra was to climb Gunung Sibayak a relatively small volcano. As usual, I made a couple of wrong turns finding it.... paid my 40 cents entry fee and rode up to the top carpark. Most people were walking the access road, as it was a bit steep and narrow for the minibuses. I stopped to speak to a small group just before the top carpark and was lucky enough, after I couldn't find the access track, to see them disappear into the jungle. It was a German girl, her husband and sister and two local guides. They literally stepped into the jungle. I could just hear them and chased as hard as I could, on foot of course. Eventually, I caught them and we broke out onto the proper trail. It'd just been the guides taking a shortcut.



We got up a bit, out of the jungle and could see the volcano summit



There were plenty of vents as we got towards the top and it was quite noisy.


These were real screamers



One of our guides giving some scale to the vents



Sibayak is 2,212 metres tall, 7,257'. Wiki said it last erupted in 1887, although the guides said it went off about 50 years ago. Its bigger twin in the area, Gunung Sinabung is a bit taller, just over 8,000' and is erupting at present. It was mostly cloud covered, although I did see the brown eruption cloud a few times. I've got a rather crappy photo of it somewhere, but didn't upload it.


Plenty of sulphur around



Another couple of views from the summit



This one is looking down to the geothermal power station and where the commercial hot springs are. The Germans continued on down this side, I went back to the bike and rode around to the springs



Plenty of clowns have jumped into the crater lake and used boulders to write their name, but its a bit hard to see that from this view, fortunately



I headed back down myself, although there were half a dozen local kids, including the guy in the shot above, who had done the climb who followed me and kept asking for money. I only really encountered this up in northern Sumatra but its never worried me much. I normally say no, but I'll buy you some food if you are hungry. These guys were smoking and I reckon that's what they were after.

The trail was a tad wet





At the hot springs - I ended up in the wrong one, the German girls were in one a bit down the road, dammit....

Anyhow, the view from here was fabulous. There were plenty of individual pools, so you could avoid the kids. Looking back up at Gunung Sibayak





I was the only westerner at these springs

There was an old bloke wandering around selling packets of ground up minerals from the volcano. The locals were keen on it... men and women both rubbing it in on any exposed skin.




Heading into town again, I saw plenty of this sort of thing... cane baskets, lined with banana leaves, waiting to be loaded up.



I stopped at this little place, loading tomatoes



I tried to ask the bloke there how much.... and he was saying, I think, 50,000. If that's 50,000 rupiah per basket... that's $5.

It was late enough in the day after all this that I'd missed checkout time, so I stayed over and headed to Medan in the morning.


I checked in to the place in Medan that Simon and Lisa Thomas (2ridetheworld.com) had recommended to me. Medan is Indonesia's third largest city and the guesthouse is quite noisy at the front.... and I couldn't talk Stanley into giving me one of the ground floor rooms at the back because he keeps them for the old and infirm folks. Um, Stanley, mate... my knees... Nope. Stanley insisted I bring the bike into the living room though, so it spent 3 days parked in there next to the organ.

Stanley pretty much insisted I not ride around Medan... he was worried about the bike and me. He'd told El Conquistador the same thing... but he'd ridden into town and someone had snitched a video camera off El Conquistador's bike while he was shopping. Um... I guess its nice to be sponsored and not have to worry about things like that... El C had 4 GoPros, so who cares if he loses one - not him apparently? He'd told me when I saw the busted mount a few days earlier, up the road, that it'd broken off... yeah mate - broken off when someone reefed it off.

Young Hannah and I decided to head out for dinner, then a couple more Dutch kids turned up, so we took them along too. Walked into town to Sun Plaza, which was a rather high-end shopping plaza with everything you'd expect in a similar thing in the west. I offered to buy them a beer and we ended up in a Sushi Bar. The beer was German... and $15 a bottle. We shared two between the 4 of us and moved on to somewhere that didn't need a wheelbarrow full of money to eat. I picked up a new camera there, so it was good shopping.



Unfortunately, we ended up in the Islamic quarter... from a beer drinking perspective.... so it was off the menu, but it was a fun place to be - until the heavens opened up on us....



The four girls here are local nurses on their way home after work. I think there must be a maximum height limit for nurses eh?




Hmm... I seem to have run out of photos again... I better check the cameras, because there are more... including the mosque that made it onto everyone's screens with the earthquake coverage a couple of days after I left Medan.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #161
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OK, I'm finally ready to post the full "I'm really stupid sometimes" photos. Here's the story in pictures. Back down there at Way Kambas National Park, I'd checked in to the lodge just near the gates to the National Park, unloaded and went for a ride to see if I could spot any wild elephants. I came to a tourist area and there were some local tourists taking a ride on a tame bull elephant, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

A bit further along, I came on this young one



Cute eh?

Then this one with its 6 week old baby. I found out later that the baby had pushed a lady over that day. Strong little buggers



This elephant camp was just down the road from there.



Mostly bulls, possibly all bulls even, as female Asian elephants don't have tusks that are visible unless the mouth is open and some males also don't have them... all chained - separated from each other. Female Asian elephants don't have much in the way of tusks. The Asian elephant is recognised as endangered, with around 40-50,000 in 2003. According to wiki the heaviest Asian bull elephant recorded was shot by the Maharajah of Susang in India in 1924, and was 8 tonnes, 3.35 m (11.0 ft) tall and 8.06 m (26.4 ft) long.

I pulled up just before there and there was a local bloke sitting near the entrance to that paddock. I indicated to him that I wanted to ride through and "asked" him if it was OK... in other words, I pointed at the bike, the elephant camp and did the old thumb up / thumb down signal, with a shrug. He nodded, so I thanked him and rode in.

Big mistake. I'd seen a movie while I was home over Christmas... some bloke from the US who was thinking of moving his family to Thailand. He'd come across a chained elephant in the movie and had let it smell his hand... so, I rode up to one of the small elephants, stopped and held out my hand. No worries.



Small bull. Very small. Quite nice, friendly, had a good sniff of me and the bike and that was it.

Same again at the next young bull



OK, I'm not totally stupid. I stayed away from the big buggers



Here's where things went astray. I stopped to say G'day to this bloke. I found out later, from the American elephant expert staying at the lodge, that he's a 4 year old "boisterous adolescant... almost 2 tons". This was the start of the "OH SHIT" moment....



That's the shot I posted a while back. I'll post a sequence of what happened next, which shows how far he threw the bike and me. After he gave me the wild-eyed look there, he put his head down, his right tusk went onto my left thigh.... at which stage I dragged my leg forward, to get it out from under his tusk - a move which bloody well hurt, but saved my life according to the elephant expert. The bruising from that lasted for weeks. Brutus there then flicked us... threw the bike. He doesn't look very big in this shot.... because after I hit the ground, I bolted. Take a look at how far he threw us... damn near 10' at a guess.



He wandered over for a look then.



I was getting worried when he started sniffing around the bike. My worry was that if he burnt his trunk on the exhaust, he'd stomp the bike



Luckily he didn't. He did claim it though. He wasn't going anywhere. This is the other shot I posted before.... where he was prodding the bike with his foot. He moved it around a little bit, but not much fortunately.



Eventually a couple of Mahouts came out... One distracted him and got him to go his way and the other guy and myself grabbed the bike and got it out of Brutus' reach. I'd lost a bit of fuel out the breather, but that was it, bar a groove in the nicely named Safari tank. I posted that shot before, but for the sake of completeness in this "I'm an idiot" post... here it is again.



So.... am I going to go pat the pretty little elephants again? Fat frigging chance - but while on the subject of bitey / hurty things.... when I did the river tour and we did some night bird spotting on the way back, I'd seen a pair of bright yellow eyes in the jungle as we drove down the road. "Deer or cat" said the driver, who hadn't seen them - he was looking out his side and they were on my side.

I watched a damn Tiger documentary last night... set in India, not Sumatra, but nevertheless, it had plenty of deer and tigers in it. Tigers have yellow eyes, deer don't. Do deer eyes glow yellow when a light gets shone on them? Anyone know? I'm not sure I want to know, because I reckon I already know after that doco. We were out of the car, 150 metres down the road and into the jungle, chasing night birds, just a kilometre down the road.... and I wasn't feeling too comfortable about it. To the extent I fired off the flash a few times on the way back to the car.









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Old 04-24-2012, 10:29 PM   #162
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I'm still shaking my head at that one.

Now, on a better topic... someone asked me to post photos of the local ladies. Here's the girl at the KFC just near the guesthouse (hey... we were only there for the wifi)



No... my gut isn't that big... honest... its just a big shirt.

I don't know if I posted a decent shot of how things ended up with the rack. I know I mentioned I'd lost all the bolts that hold it on.... so, I've thrown a stick under it, which keeps it from moving around and having one side drop down over the hot exhaust gases. I had to do that because one of the heat shields is cracked.... probably because it was way overloaded with one of the pillions I've had putting all her weight on the rack rather than getting too close to me. I can understand that, I guess.



It wasn't quite as simple as just throwing new bolts in, because I'd never got the rack finished before I left... it would have taken a couple more days of moulding work to get the under-seat fit right, so I used some metal clamps instead.... and they disappeared with the bolts. I'm really pleased with how it works though - even with no bolts, it takes all the weight on the front section of the subframe.

I fitted some nice LED indicators to the top section of the numberplate, but I over-tightened and cracked one... and its now fallen off, so I'm about to buy the 4th set of rear indicators for this trip. Call it R&D eh? I really wish I had a second bike or a spare subframe while I've been home... I could have done version 2 and got a few of these things sorted.

Oops... gotta go - son's playing soccer. I've got some more shots to post later... Medan, just before the 'quake.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:43 AM   #163
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I wouldn't beat yourself up too badly about the elephant. I imagine that given lax supervision a lot of tourists to our shores would be gutted by those 'cute' kangaroos and ripped to shreds by the 'cuddly' koala "bears".... Also, why are the poor creatures chained? No wonder they're angry.

I'd be a bit pissed at the local for 'letting' you go in without warning you. At least you got out of it with a few well earned battle scars on the KTM and not so pleasant ones on yourself. Could have been a lot worse.

Cheers for the last post. There have been a couple of shots of the local ladies (the two with minerals pasted on their faces spring to mind, often) that have shown just how lovely the other scenery can be .

I look forward to the next instalment!
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:39 AM   #164
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Yep... I'm pretty much over the tosser elephant... except I'm hearing on the news tonight about a Kiwi zookeeper just killed by an elephant. I'm not going near any frigging elephants. That American lady kept telling me I'm the luckiest man on the planet. No... I wasn't that lucky.... I'm a married man!

It isn't just the local ladies who are lovely btw. Hannah and Willemijn are the two lovely future Dutch lawyers (sheesh, nearly mispelt that as "layers" and my wife would not have been amused!) that I spent some time exploring Medan with



That's us at the Sultan's palace... not that you can see it. We'd decided to go somewhere else for dinner and had gone to something that Lonely Planet described thus:

"Inspired by Singapore's alfresco dining, this collection of outdoor cafés occupies Lapangan Merdeka and is anchored by one of the shiniest McDonald's you'll see outside the Soviet bloc"

It was a bit ughh as it turned out... very plastic. We had a snack and decided to find somewhere else. Our transport decided we wanted to go to the Mosque... which was fine by us, but not what we had in mind. The Sultan's palace is just near there.



Anyone who watched coverage of the recent earthquakes in Sumatra would have seen this mosque. People flocked to it because its been there since 1906 - and obviously survived the big one in 2004.



We got there just before evening prayers... too late to do a tour. Eddy (not sure he would spell it that way, but that's what he said his name was) grabbed us and showed us around.... with the tape blasting the call to prayer in our ears

Eddy certainly took a shine to Willemijn...





We ended up having dinner with Eddy and, as I mentioned in an earlier post, that dinner included fried pippies, boiled turtledove eggs, capcay, tempe, etc, etc. Washed down with avocado juice lashed with chocolate.



Here's the kids that showed up as we'd pretty much stuffed ourselves.... they asked for some money.... something that happened pretty much only in the northern parts of Indonesia... and as I normally do when someone asks for money, I said I'd feed them instead....



They got our leftovers and a Nasi Goreng each as well. I don't think they really needed it... they were just a trio of little shits trying it on, but such is life



Stanley, at the guest house, at one stage was suggesting I leave my bike in the living room...



.... but after about three days there, I convinced him it'd be better in his garage for the next month. He's a very bike-friendly guy and he is willing to help bike riders sort out any problems. I wasn't over-impressed with the location of his guesthouse, but having someone with his attitude steamrollers over the top of a better location any day. Here's Stanley with Willemijn the day she headed north, into Islamic territory again to see the orangutans.



Stanley's mum owns the guesthouse. She's in this shot



The old guy is a former ADVer.

He told us (a few times) about when he rode his BSA from Jakarta to Bandung in 1948 and didn't see a single car. He's 88 and was born in the Netherlands. He did slave labour during WW2 and then was excused from military service in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) as a result of that experience.... and he met Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia through his football (soccer). He says his life was spared during the independence struggle because he knew Sukarno, and he was able to save his neighbours lives as well. He ended up moving to the USA, but says he has built three houses in Indonesia. I take that as a euphemism. He's built a house for a (different) woman three times over the years is my guess. He had a local woman there with him but we didn't see much of her. She seemed happy with the arrangement. She's got it easy compared to many.

Last, but not least... this was the sign that greeted me at the airport. Its a sign in several languages warning of the dangers of trying to get to Australia by boat. Way down the other end of Indonesia, we'd been checked out as potential snakeheads (people smugglers).



Its a big issue and a serious one. Hundreds have died trying to get to Australia this way. Very, very sad.

So.... I'm now in prep mode again.... starting to think about what I need to take back with me.

I'm going to throw a new chain on the bike - the one on it is rattling a bit after a very, very hard 10,000 miles or so... mostly un-lubed. I didn't get a chance to check it before I came home, but for a couple of hundred bucks..... its time. I think I'll try and find somewhere I can get the front tyre done in Thailand, but I'll throw a new rear tyre on... although there's probably 1,000km before I hit the tread wear indicator. Its all about not leaving it until its all totally stuffed.... I'd rather do it now than sweat it later trying to find one.

New socks! I've gotta get new socks.... I had toes and heels hanging out of threads by the time I finished the last bit. Oh yeah... here's a big tip, so to speak.... new undies. I got caught out, literally, in Vietnam a couple of years ago. I bought some Calvin Klein (well, it said CK on the label) undies and had to spend a day with it all hanging out before I threw them away. So... socks and undies.

New SD cards too.... gotta clean up the hard disk as well... and an oil filter, some brake pads (I've got 2 sets of fronts there, but my rears are gone and I want a spare set with me)... and a few things like that. I suppose I should check where the next malaria zone is too eh?

Anything else?
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:19 AM   #165
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Yeah, don't forget to stop and smell the roses again. (Who'd a thought they'd let me on this forum eh Ian? I'd better get myself a bike now if they're gonna let me stay......)
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