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Old 03-02-2012, 11:22 PM   #106
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Bugger. I just heard from Snake, at Dr Harley. I'd called around there a couple of hours back and things were on their way back together.... but at the end of that, its still backfiring and farting.... so its tank off, carbies apart time. We're thinking a blocked pilot jet. No ferry to Java tomorrow. Bugger.

Meanwhile I rescued some Aussie nurse last night who picked the wrong time and place to break out. I'd gone up to the rooftop bar at Skygarden to grab a cleansing ale in the breeze - and saved her from a headfirst tumble down the stairs. She's going to have a decent bruise on her arm. It took me 3 hours to get her back to the Hyatt - with about 3 million disapproving stares by everyone in Kuta. Not me mate, not mine either.... But she'd have killed herself getting down the 6 or so levels by herself - especially after the cops evicted her two friends - one of them spilled her drink at the halfway down rest stop... and security claimed her glass had gone over the edge and brained someone on the street 50' below... (I didn't see any evidence of that... and the spill trail went the other direction).... anyhow, cops with submachine guns threw them out.... and left me to wipe the pile of spew off the nurse.... and get her down the rest of the stairs.

Anyhow.... got to the ground... met the friends... cabbed her to her hotel and got her through her door. Sheesh. I decided to walk the couple of km "home".... and it pissed down. Such is life.

I just want to get on the road again.
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:47 AM   #107
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Loving the read!!

Thanks Bigfella.
Sleepy John
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:07 AM   #108
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Thanks Sleepy John - appreciate it.

Well, I'm out of Bali - a quick blast across the island today - nothing over 160kph... but quite an enjoyable ride. Caught the ferry over - a whole $2.... spent as much time waiting for a free dock as we did in the crossing. I headed south and then flicked off the main road to head down to the surfng destination Grajadan from memory (crappy 'net here... don't want to head inside to check)... got some great shots of the fishing fleet there and had a good bit of interplay with the locals (a couple had a little bit of English)

Damn near ripped my throat open doing some offroad riding. Here I was, wearing all sorts of wonderful boots, armour, helmet, etc... and heading up a bit of rugged singletrack, trying to find the surf break - I spot a horrible thorny branch on the ground and am concentrating on avoiding it - didn't even think about the tree it came from - whack - right across the side of my neck with the thorns. Once bitten, twice shy on the way back.

Speaking of bites.... I was talking to a guy from Sumatra the other day. Comes from the large lake area (Lake Toba). He's seen a few tigers there - young and adult, and then coming back into civilisation today, I see the locals have a tiger statue - although I think they've killed them all off down here.

So, my Balinese mate Agus has given me all these rules.... Don't accept food or drink from anyone in the eastern part of Java, eat at big restaurants only (oops, sorry mate, broken that one first time out... is 4 tables big?), don't ride at night, etc. Someone supposedly lost a motorbike a week or so back - got drugged. He says the economy is down in Java at present and theres lots of criminals. He's also made sure I've got lots of small notes... 1,000 and 2,000 Rupiah - for mosque building funds (I haven't been stopped yet - have seen plenty before but none on Java yet - they put a money box out in the middle of the road),

On a more optimistic note, I've got a couple of local people to visit. A friend's "special friend", as he calls her, has given me her mother's details and very specific instructions on how to get there. That's a must. Her 9yo daughter speaks English. Agus' parents in law in Yogyakarta is another.

I pulled the pin on riding today short of where I wanted to get to. I'd been riding for the last hour in a massive damn thunderstorm - dark as Hades at 3pm - roads awash with running water - lightning, the whole lot. At least I could see a little bit once I ditched my eyeglasses... but most local bikes were hiding from it. If I'd seen a pub (ha ha... this is Java) I'd have been happy to make it a rest stop... but I spotted this luxurious hotel and that was that, I've got their top priced room at $6. Yummy yellow walls. A shitter that's going to require some amazing physical feats if I'm to get into the required position. No shower... its mandi time.

Hey, speaking of the last of the big spenders.... lunch today (well, brekky and lunch actually - at about 2pm)... I pulled into this restaurant with the 4 tables... run by two young guys. Motioned to the mouth and got a bowl with some noodles a coated meat thing and something that could have been a bulls nut for all I know - a round meat thing. Grabbed a Sprite (no Bintang, remember) and asked "brappa"... "how much". Couldn't understand the answer, so they held up five fingers... and I handed over 50,000 ($5) and thought... hmm Sprite must be expensive. Anyhow one of the kids disappeared and came back a few minutes later with 45,000 change for me. Yep, a meat dish lunch (which was quite nice) and a bottle of Sprite.... all for 50 cents.

I've got photos and video to post... but it won't be happening while my internet dongle is glowig the colour it is. Here's hoping this posts.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:49 AM   #109
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Bugger - lost a long post - damn internet. Maybe I should write this in word?

Anyhow, I was rabbiting on about food yesterday, so today, I stopped somewhere, ordered the most expensive dish, figuring I'd get something worth eating.... then the boss came out, with his bit of English. "Fish finish" - so, next most expensive (none of these damn menu items are in my Indo / English dictionary, which is worth more to me as toilet paper).... "Beef, yes.... fried rice?"... so, what turns up... boiled rice and some pigeon fried to leather - or maybe a few months old. Anyhow, it was edible. Damn bird wouldn't have covered my palm in size.

I was further east that I thought, but made it to Gunung Bromo OK... albeit in the rain again. Ran onto reserve at the top, so have had to fuel up out of plastic jugs again. Jeez I hate that. Had thought I'd get a lot further, but all that overtaking takes its toll.

More and more I'm blasting up the underside to get past trucks. All the locals are halfway blocking the overtaking lane permanently - hoping a gap will appear - and they just pull out on you if one does. Saw some real poverty today - many dozens of people begging beside the road... sitting there waving their arms.

May have killed my new Nikon. It doesn't seem to be focusing right... and here I am at one of the most scenic places I've ever seen. It took a fall on the ferry - from a dodgy seat that rocked over and it busted the lens hood. It was working fine yesterday but I think the focus mechanism is toast. Time will tell.

I've hired a guide for tomorrow. Up at 3:30am and up the volcano. We can't go up the big one as it is erupting, but we can go to the normal view points. Did I mention its raining?

More videos today.... but no bandwidth.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #110
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Oh look... a dirty old man in Asia.

Not everything is as it looks, however,.... so keep yer minds above yer navels.

Both my companions here are from Java. I hope to call in and see Smile's (on the left) mum, son (4) and daughter (9) up in central Java. She works in a wine shop here to support them all. Dianita, her flatmate is a student dentist here. I briefly met Smile and her boyfriend when I was here last time.

Agus with Dianita

Dianita showing off the diamond in her tooth with some old weenie bastard

That was a couple of days ago, in Bali. It has been said that old fellas here have the option of attracting friends with their personalities or their wallet. I've seen both sides of that happening of course, but the open and friendly nature of people here is just amazing. Its a real pleasure being among them.

Well, the good news first. The camera is fine. I took a couple of test photos, downloaded them and they are fine. It turned out to be the diopter on the eyepiece. It'd been bumped around and the eyepiece was out of focus. I'm glad I went through the test photo process rather than just throwing the camera in the bag until I could find a repair shop. The knobs on the D7000 all seem to move far more easily than the ones on my D100 did. I have to check the settings every time I take it out of the tank bag.

I stuffed up a bit this morning. I didn't realise there was a time zone change from Bali (nor did the Brit couple I've been talking to who've been here two days)... and got up at 2:30am to do the climb to the main volcano field viewing point (the one where the poscard photos are taken). I should have been up at 3:30. I wondered why my guide sounded funny when I rang him (at 3:00am) to see why he wasn't here and whether it was worth going up. He agreed, better to stay dry rather than go lookin at clouds. Two Dutch couples just unfolded themselves out of a Toyota FJ40 and said it was "horrible.... didn't see anything"... and they've been at it for 4 1/2 hours. Another couple I just spoke to, heading out today were up top yesterday and said it was fine and "beautiful". The clouds are starting to lift. The locals tell me "if raining like this today, fine tomorrow". I can only hope.

Anyhow, I'm sacrificing one of my spare days and I'll sit here and watch the rain fall. I've only got one cotton rugby guernsey with me... and getting it soaked and having to spend another night in the cold just doesn't add up.

Speaking of FJ40's.... they are the vehicle of choice for the guides here. Dozens of them have just come down the mountain (and three locals on horseback just now). All in really good nick. This is obviously a tourist town - nothing like Kuta, but its a tourist hotspot in Java. I'd only seen one small group of Westerners in two days after leaving Kuta until I got up here (2000 metres up) yesterday afternoon.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:56 AM   #111
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OK, let's finish off Bali and do a quick catchup. I've been a bit crook and trying to cover some miles to give me breathing space before I become a visa overstayer.

How could you resist a restaurant with "tasty staff"?

... or the latest solid rear end bike?

Burmese python

Papuan green tree python

Not much of a sunset yesterday, but I figured I'd shoot some bytes
One of these day's I'll hold the camera straight when shooting water shots....

.... and don't tell my missus where i spent most of today...

.... and another flashback photo... to Kuta. Agus, his daughter with her new helmet and me... all on Agus' scooter

For those who were interested in the cremation ceremony, I've uploaded a bit of video. Unfortunately, it goes for about 2 1/2 minutes and there's only a few interesting snippets in there.... so, you are warned. I'd have edited it if I had software to do it... but, I don't


Meanwhile, the KTM's fixed. A snip at 3,600,00 Rupiah thanks to Shark at Bali Harley Doctor... and 50,000 Rupiah ($5) to fit the front tyre. It was crud in the carbies. At least the delay meant that I got to meet Smile and her flatmate Dianita. Two lovely people.

My friend Agus tells me that one of the ladies I met is sad that I'm leaving tomorrow... so its definitely time to get out of Dodge with my reputation intact. There's no reason for her to feel sad.... we only went out for dinner.... as a group.

I've finally been able to upload lots of photos, so will try to catch up with the writing. I wrote most of this the other day, but now I'm in the west a bit, things are getting better with the net and I'll try to upload more stuff - a quick note to say... sorry for the fonts... I wrote some stuff in Word while I was having net problems and I'm stuffed if I can get it all sorted here

This one is of a little fishing boat that was about 1km off shore at the Java ferry terminal. They had both sail and a rat-tail engine.

These are all down the SE tip of Java.

I've got stacks of shots of this one. It had a crew working on it doing planking and new bulkheads, etc. I asked if it went onto the rocks and they said yes.... not that that means anything. I was told i was getting beef at the restaurant the other night and was then served two large (full plate sized) flounders.... I know they think I'm a giant, but really?

Here's the wide part of the road out to a smaller fishing village

and a couple of the locals

On Java, down at the fishing village near the National Park on the SE tip. This is about 1/3 of the boats that were all sitting on the dry at low tide.

I didn't get among them to see what all the dressing up was about - I was in a remote area and starting to think about trying to get to some accom.

As usual, I pulled a crowd, including the soldier.

So ... back to the repair boat

Look like steel bolts to me.

New bulkhead. Ends shaped with a 'lecky plane

I should have given this mallet a better perspective. The handle was about 3' long. The head was huge. A definite two hander

These blokes were up the road a few km... chainsaw milling

Somewhere on the road yesterday, I saw some guys squaring up a very long piece of timber from the rough. They were trimming it to about 4" square. Damn fine work by eye... using what looked like a very old hand saw. I should have done a (risky) u turn and got a photo.

A bit of the jungle near there

.... and some slash and burn agriculture going on

Here's that scrawny bird I got served up for lunch a few days back. The plate its on would be less than 8" diameter

That's a whole bird... maybe 4" to a max of 5" at the most long.

Here's something I did do a u-turn for. Tobacco. The road is as good as anywhere to dry it

The ladies all came running over to "talk"
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:10 AM   #112
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Stuff it... I just lost a bloody great big post on the whole Bromo area... wrote for too long and my dongle disconnected. You have to hate that eh?

OK.... some shorter bits

I started up into the hills towards the North, so that I could cut back into Bromo

There were dozens of beggers lining the roads - every few metres in places, some of them obviously living just off the road in what looked like humpies

There were plenty of other fundraisers flagging you down with buckets for money.... I'd set myself up with plenty of 2,000 Rupiah notes (20c)... but only ended up stopping once. Too damn disruptive to the ride and most others weren't stopping.

This is after I'd got almost to the northern coast, I cut back inland to get to Bromo. It was a big climb from sea level to over 2,000 metres. I stopped to get a shot of the roaring waterfall..... but its behind that tree.

The riding conditions had deteriorated as soon as I started to climb. I could smell diesel on the road for a while and could see oil patches.... but no big slides.

The waterfalls on the mountains were quite brown

Check this out. Have a close look.... that dark brown is raging water

That's over the edge of one of the many bridges.

I checked into the Cafe Lava and chatted to a few of the locals in there watching the football - I asked Mimit if he was a guide, and not being backward in smelling a Rupiah, he said he'd show me around. I wasn't over-keen on doing the sand sea and 750 metre climb to Mountain View in the dark on my own... with no decent map. We agreed to speak at 3:30am, so I got up then, got ready and when he still hadn't called at 3:50, I rang him.... we decided there was no point to it as it was bucketing down. Turned out I'd rung him at 2:50am too.... no one had mentioned a time zone change. Oops.

This was Cafe Lava... those damn steps were shockers. Every one a different height and depth

Come late morning, the clouds lifted, so I went for a ride on the sand sea - in the large caldera. There's a couple of volcanos inside that caldera - known as the Tengger Massif, 10km across and Java's tallest volcano Gunung Sereru, at 3,676 metres is the backdrop to them from Mountain View. I ended up on the wrong side of a river near where the climb began, and got there at the same time as a couple of soldiers on a bike. One of them tried to get through and went down into the sand. I got stuck trying to get him out... sank to over boot top height and nearly ended up trapped under the bike - so spent the next 3 hours or so with sand in my boots and couldn't get them off until I found a tap with hose.

The soldiers were chuffed

They wanted to swap bikes

Thats Mt Batok in the background. Gunung Bromo is behind it, but is flatter

Gunung Seneru, partly visible in the distance.... with another front headed my way. This is from Mountain View... which IIRC without looking up the GPS again is about 2,760 metres.... and a very "interesting" climb. I did it again for the sunrise the following morning, two-up with Mimit on board and blasted past all the Toyota FJ40s.

Lovely couple at one of the shops at the top. They minded some of my gear while I went for a wander. He isn't normally there during the day.... he heads up at 3am to set up with his wife and then goes farming unless its too wet

This is another volcano visible further northwest on the way down from the top

Not sure how this will show... but lets try

Lots of standing water on the sand sea - this shot shows the village where I stayed 2 nights.

This guy wanted to sell me a horse ride up Gunung Bromo. Yeah, right mate. Horses stink and go slow.

I did the dawn run to Mountain View on my second morningto see the sunrise at Bromo. Well, we saw one peep then the clouds tookover. Still - got some video this time... including another run up Gunung Bromo - two up. "I was little bit scared", said Mimit - who'd come along for the ride. He should've seen my face in the run across the sand sea in the dark....he sent me the wrong way and I was ploughing through grass up to the handlebars

Here's me up at Mountain View as the dawn broke

We got a great view of the inside of the clouds. We saw a couple of peeps of sun, but that was it. 250 metres down the hill we got a bit of a view. Its a long drop under my feet there btw

I was the only non-Indonesia up there on their own bike. In fact I haven't seen another yet.

There's an old Hindu temple out there on the sand sea. I don't know how its survived. Bromo erupted four months ago... Semeru is erupting now (and access to it is still closed)

Here's a better shot of Mt Batok from the second day and Bromo is immediately behind it to the left

I was just about to head into this when one of the locals said it was easier to go a couple of km around it. I reckon I'd have made it, but a wrong-side fall would have consequences

What could possibly go wrong eh? There's that Hindu temple again

I made it as far as the horses get up Bromo.... and unlike most of the penny pinchers, I lashed out and spent $2 on an offering to the volcano. Mt Batok behind.... and a doosey of a dropoff. You have to love the local rain gear.... at least it lets some air in and I can tuck it around my tank bag to protect it. btw, this was about day 3 of a five day stretch with wet feet all day. My boots still aren't dry.

The climb to the top. Given my ailing condition (chest).... and my lost fitness over Christmas, I did not enjoy the climb.... but if I keep at it, I'll be fit again in no time.

Plenty of evidence of the recent eruption on the stairs.

Looks a lot further from the top

There was a much higher crater lake in here until 4 months ago

Not quite Hillary stuff (Sir Ed, not the other one).... but I was happy to be there, fashionista that I am.

Here's the video of Gunung Bromo. Its a bit stop start because those damn horsey people were hogging the track. You can't see much of it, but the dropoffs even on this low Gunung were "impressive". Bromo blew its crater lake out 4 months ago.

I posted that on OC the other day and some were worried about the bike and horses on the same track. They share the roads here all the time and there's not a bike up there with baffles... even two strokes with expansion chambers. Its not an issue. No animals were harmed in the making of this video
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:22 PM   #113
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Very cool video, that looks pretty steep for two-up riding in wet conditions.

AlpineGuerrilla screwed with this post 03-12-2012 at 03:22 PM Reason: typo
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #114
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Thanks. It wasn't too bad, I've come across a lot steeper sections up in Cape York, in Bromo and even Timor Leste....

Oh yeah... and on the way out of Bromo to Baron

I went to Baron the back way... through the caldera and via a "road" that someone I spoke to who comes from a town I went through, Malang, had never used - "too broken" was her comment. She wasn't wrong. Lots of landslips - including one that saw me slide slowly for about 100m,unable to stop, past a backhoe working on it... Wet red clay on smooth concrete on a BIG slope. Lovely. I don't want to think how far the dropoff was. The road was so rough my GPS kept thinking it was upside down. I ended the day with damn sore arms

I slung a couple more dollars to Mimit to show me the way to the Malang turnoff, as I wanted to go the back way to Baron. I've got Garmin maps for Indonesia in my GPS.... and they should be ashamed of them. Major cities like Solo given the wrong names, couldn't even set a route for Yogyakarta (how can it not recognise it.. or any known variant of it?)... so I said I wanted him to point out the correct "road"

We didn't get far

Mimit slung some coin this guy's way.... and we left Mimit to the volcano gods....

I got pointed to this and told in sign language to go right at the intersection. They didnt tell me there were more intersections

Met this cheery chap, out in the middle of nowhere cutting grass

He confirmed "Malang?"... with a wave of the hand. He's standing up here btw.... wouldn't have touched my handlebars with his head

I plugged Malang into the GPS and it worked. It kept telling me to stay on various roads.... not that any of them had signs - so I kept asking everyone I saw.... all of whom went goggle eyed when they saw me coming. There were land slips everywhere.... some from above, some taking part of the road away. I was being a bit cautious on the mud... I'd nearly come a cropper in some mud as I was leaving the caldera, but caught it.... albeit with sore wrists afterwards.

Here's another landslip

and a view of the outside of the caldera

yet another landslip... an easy one

When I started to descend, I got a bit of a fright. I was going down a very steep hill and spotted some parked bikes, so I slowed down and the guys down near a backhoe working on a very big slip flagged me down. I couldn't stop.

Well, I could have.... but I was only going to lay it down as a last resort. I wasn't going fast.... about double walking speed when I hit it... but I had the back brake locked on and off. The backhoe guy was quick to sum it up and moved his bucket out of the way. I slithered past, nodded to him.... and slid about 75, maybe 100 metres before I got clear. It was wet red clay on smooth concrete. May as well have been grease.

Anyhow, I came down the ridgeline into intensive farmland eventually (have some photos if anyone wants - just ask, I haven't uploaded them yet).... and past more and more grasscutters

and farm workers. This lady would not acknowledge me... which was unusual, maybe I scared the crap out of her

I went through some small towns, stopping all activity as I went past, and getting plenty of waves back when I waved.

For some silly reason, I decided I'd see if I could make a year without paying more than $5 for haircuts. No cheating with own-jobs or freebies.. full commercial freight. This happened after I got that shocker back in Flores in late September or early October for $1.40. I'd seen a few salons as I'd gone through Malang and decided I'd stop at the next one, as my concentration levels were waning and I needed a break. I stumbled upon Salon Fanni. I mean.... really, who could go past.

I was a bit shy of taking a photo of the lovely pea green, red and pink colour scheme inside.... mainly because the bloke had tits. I kid you not. I wasn't asking, he didn't volunteer. He was dressed as a bloke, but sheesh, talk about laying on the effeminite bit thick. Haircut two of the year for $1. Running total since Sept is $2.40

Garmin didn't want to know about anything from then on. It showed up one town that was on my paper map eventually... but nowhere else did the names on the GPS correspond to the names on the paper map.

Anyhow, I blundered on, knowing I'd eventually hit the main road linking the big cities. I preferred these sort of roads

... but I did enjoy a fast run with a good local through a lovely area that has rapidly flowing rivers, with signs for white water rafting. He'd catch me in the towns, stay with me in the tight corners and I'd leave him behind as soon as I got anything open... or often in heavy traffic, as I had the extra grunt. Its funny overtaking over unbroken lines with vehicles coming the other way. If you don't do it... you get swamped by all the other riders going around or under you. Its far better to stay ahead.

My destination was a tiny town called Baron, more speciffically a little village just outside it, where Smile's children and mother live. I spent one night and most of the morning there and had a lovely time. I can pretty much guarantee I'm the only westerner to stay there. More on that another day

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Old 03-12-2012, 07:16 PM   #115
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Stuff it. I'm feeling crook and lazy... so I'll make a 10am (ish) start.

I'm trying hard to catch up... but am falling behind. Big ride today... towards Jakarta. Bandur is on the way and its something like 7 million people, before I get to the big one. Heather, the American woman I met in Flores has invited me to stay, but I won't inflict my snivelling, sniffling self on her or her family.... unless by some miracle it clears up today.

Anyhow... back to Baron. I finally spotted the name Baron on an advertising hoarding and asked directions to my friend's village. It turned out to be a collection of pretty derelict tiny apartments in a concreted enclave

The locals eyes popped when I rode in.... and there were all sorts of "what's going on here looks when I asked directions to Kiky's house.... Kiky being the 9 year old daughter of my friend. Here's her street with the bike outside her place

and the view the other way from that corner

Only a few kilometres from town.

Here's Smile's two kids Kiky and Bintang

I posted a whole album of her kids over on Facestalk and Smile was ecstatic... she doesn't get home to see them anywhere near often enough, being 750km away on another island to earn enough to support the family (Smile works in a shop selling South African wines to tourists in Bali).

Bintang played run away from the big scary man for a while, but soon warmed up

and the cameras became a hit with the local kids. I've got some terrific shots of the kids... many taken by Kiky, that I'll get prints of and send them back for the families from Oz. Believe me.... the locals here don't have any family photos on the walls.... although my ugly mug is now on dozens of phone cameras.

Kiky ended up flattening the battery in my little S6100 P&S

Some of the kids were a bit shy

Others a bit too cool

Here we are, out to dinner. I figured that they'd get to a restaurant about once every fiftieth blue moon, so off we went to town.... Kiky with me and grandma and Bintang on the back of a scooter with one of the local village men... who stayed to dinner. It bucketted down while we ate, but stopped for the trip home.

Granny was dressed to the nines... but she ditched all that within 30 seconds of getting home.

Here's the start of my food allergy attack. That's one of the two Flounder / Sole or whatever fish they were that I had. Lovely, but I shouldn't have had the Chilli (or the BBQ Back Ribs the next night in Jogja). The guy told me he'd ordered beef for me btw..... and I'm thinking I fed his family too. He over-ordered big time and was last seen with a doggie bag. Still, we fed and drank (no alcohol) five of us plus the leftovers for $21 at the best restaurant in town.

Getting home was fun.... we did some shopping (school books, crayons, toy car, etc)... all of which cost a fraction of what it would back home... and I tried an ATM or two and failed.... which worried me a tad. Then, on the way, the other guy ran out of juice and couldn't get it running on the reserve tank - so we loaded both kids on my bike....
no helmets or any safety gear, of course.... but they got going. Anyhow, rather than unload Bintang, the three of us headed off together.... very soft throttle

I suppose I should show off my new $1 Fanni haircut. It isn't the most flattering shot... thanks Kiky, and its me at the dining table, on one of only two chairs in the place - the only one I was game to sit on. The whole house is 15' maybe 16' deep and only a couple of feet wider. Two bedrooms, this dining room and a tiny mandi / squat toilet. Cooking is done under a lean-to outside. It was too low for me to get under.

The kids decorate the walls

One more with Bintang

A Kiky self portrait

Then into the gear and off to Yogyakarta

The ride there was a bit frustrating. It was on the main road, plenty of traffic and no help from the Garmin. I got to Jogja (local slang for Yogyakarta) as rain was threatening. I knew where I wanted to go... but Garmin doesn't show the main tourist suburb (a major part of the city)... and I couldn't pronounce it, so I was asking locals at each red light. I got mainly good directions.... then some not so good and overshot by about 5 minutes.... and the monsoon dump hit for those five minutes back.... and I got drenched.... as did my wallet and everything in it.... and my boots, etc. Five frigging day with wet boots.... shades of Cape York all over again

Anyhow, I rang the place I wanted - the Lonely Planet pick... an art house Losmen which turned out to be terrific, good staff, cute backpackers, beer, great artworks (I should have taken a shot of my room.... it was brilliant)... hell it even had towels, toilet paper (hadn't seen that for several days.... but that might be TMI) and hot(ish) water. All for $22.

Oh yeah... and a tame masseuse... funny short fat woman, who was great. $9 for 90 minutes. Did that two days in a row.

Unpacked and eventually went to move the bike out of the Gang (laneway) down to a restaurant with secure parking, because my KTM was about a foot too wide to get into the Losmen... and I got busted for riding in the Gang by a restaurant owner... much shouting about kids playing (no kids out there in the rain btw)... but anyhow, I pushed it out and he was very friendly after that. The secure restaurant guys had a band going... and damn good one... so I ate there.... next day and the day after they refused to take my money for the parking because they loved having the bike there.

..... and that's where I'll stop for a while. I've not uploaded my Yogya photos yet.... there's hundreds I've got to trawl through and upload a few. I visited the Kraton (Sultans Palace) and both Prambanan and Borobudur Hindu temples. Lonely Planet rates Borobudur with Angkor Wat. I don't.... but it IS very impressive. Angkor Wat stands head and shoulders above these two.

Oh, maybe a quick clip of what riding is like here. This is on the run from Yogya to Ciamis yesterday. Reasonable tame.... it gets nasty in the twisty bits when the buses come around blind corners at you

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Old 03-13-2012, 06:54 PM   #116
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true dat, i visited angkor wat, prabanam and borobudur, and i would rank them in that order. borobudur was simply tooooo crowded, and i feel that its one of the things that look better in photographs than in real-life.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:24 PM   #117
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I've been pretty lucky with the crowds... not too many there. OK, its culture time...

I loved Yogyakarta. Back in my undergraduate days, 35 years ago, I used to work Saturdays at a hire service so I could pay the rent. The guy who owned the hire service used to bring groups of boy scouts to Yogya to give them some decent grounding in different cultures. Great choice of a place. Don't see it now though, as with the travel advisory notice about the danger of terrorist attacks in this country (occur at about the same rate as in the USA btw) the insurance companies won't cover anything.... and we all miss out.

I'll digress slightly.... it looks likely that I may see some unrest here. I picked up an English language paper in Jakarta yesterday and there are many demonstrations planned against the April 1 fuel price rise. Its going from 45c litre (call that $1.75 a gallon) to 60c litre. There's fuel hoarding happening and a lot of stations in some regions have run dry. I'll be filling up more often from here on in.

Anyhow... back to Yogya...

I decided to wander down to the Kraton... the Sultan's Palace in the morning, but got to the end of the Gang and got jumped by one of the pedal tricycle guys. Yeah... why not... so he folded the roof down and off we went. I could have jumped one of the many horse carriages, taken a taxi, or walked.... but I reckon I got the pick of them. Here's the view from the seat... nothing in front to impede the view.... and the traffic is all slow

On the way there, I felt a food allergy attack coming on. I should have turned around and got some meds, but didn't. In fact, I should have had the meds with me. Anyhow... I paid the price later.

So, the Kraton is about a square kilometre in size IIRC, built in the mid 1700's and the current Sultan lives there with his wife. This one, unlike his predecessors who had up to 15 wives, has only one.... and five daughters, so the lineage goes to his younger brother next. A guide grabbed me and drove me nuts for the next hour or so. She seemed to have this virtual tape recorder in her head for the English tour version... and it had a playback issue. If there was a date involved, she'd say it at least 4, normally more times before she moved on to the detail. Still, not as bad as the guide I had in Vietnam.... "this rock look like monkey, that rock look like elephant.... that rock look like woman with legs open" (I kid you not)

Here she is... with Sultan Number 7, or 9, or something

Actually, the tour was fabulous... with the Kraton being the focal point of the preservation and demonstration of Javanese culture.

This next one is interesting. This cage is about 5-6' across. It was used for the Sultan's children "filled with toys" apparently. Hmmm - caged kids

There's lots of interesting stuff. Delft pottery abounds, as do items from many other countries

Plenty of elaborate entertaining areas.... crystal chandeliers, fabulous decorations, no walls

Bloody big drums everywhere... huge things

It took about 5 minutes to have all this one explained to me. Um, sorry, something about the numbers being good luck, etc....

I'll spare you photos of the Sultan's circumcision suit from when he was 13 and gifts to Sultan number ? from the Kaiser, and so on... actually, I may not even have taken one of that suit.... but, tour over, I sat down for the dancing. Three very different acts, with me missing most of the last one when I had to bolt for my medicines after my face started to explode ... rapid swelling due to the food allergy - can be fatal, so probably shouldn't have ignored the onset of it.

Check out this lady's fingers

Then the guys came on. Two of them, and it was a developing contest that ended in one being vanquished in a swordfight

Followed by two women with spears.... but I dashed not long into that one and got stuck into the steroids.

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Old 03-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #118
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Suitably full of pills and with three epipens of adrenaline in tow, I headed off to a temple... I'm a big lad, and having had an anaphylatic reaction that put me in intensive care and needed the equivalent of 5 epipens to keep me breathing.... I guess I should be a tad more careful with my food eh? I wonder how I'd go here with one of those attacks? I'm sticking to the basics for a while. It was the chilli on the seafood and the sauce on the BBQ back ribs that tried to do me in.

So, the temple.... Prambanan is the grandest of the Hindu temples in Java. Built in the 9th century and mysteriously abandoned mnot long after. The largest of the temples, the Shiva Temple is 47m tall... but is currently closed due to damage from the 2006 earthquake.

Just before I got to the temples, I got caught in a mass licence / ID check. All bikes got stopped. One cop was going to wave me through, but I was interested to see what they'd do and I already had my International Licence out (freshly dried out and fortunately undamaged). Of course, I should also have had my motorcycle licence out, but I was just testing the system. The cop I gave it to didn't have a clue. He opened one page, didn't even get to the photo ID, closed it and waved me on. OK... that's what we want.

Crappy weather for taking photos of a temple complex... overcast, threatening rain... but here goes

See... the Gods were watching over me. I did not pass

Maybe someone should tell this head honch that his attendant is taking a leak?

There's earthquake damage repairs visible in this one. There was a fair bit of damage apparently but they are fixing it

Now, lest you think Prambadan has been standing there like that since the 9th century.... it isn't so. IIRC it was "rediscovered" in the late 19th century and restoration work began in 1937

Hopefully that's readable... that and this next shot are the Shiva Temple

The 2006 quake cracked 479 blocks in this temple alone, many more were displaced and some crumbled entirely. These early complexes predated the use of mortar btw

... and last, but not least, we get to the meaning of life. I saw plenty of these in Cambodia and some in Vietnam... often, the male part had been stolen, but here's the complete set, doing as they are meant to do. Anyone need the instructions?

Oh, OK, not quite last. This little show was really entertaining the locals on the way out, the main actors running around on two dimensional horse charicatures

and I spotted this, a guy bottling honey from the comb among the stalls at the entrance

I mentioned that I stayed at an arthouse guesthouse in Yogyakarta. It was the Losmen Setia Kawan in the Sosrowuayan area (one of the main tourist areas, so my Garmin didn't know about it).... I found it by asking directons to the main train station, Tugu Station and going from there.

Here's a nice piece of hall art, a post war Ariel Red Hunter. I've been meaning to pick up one of these back in Oz, but avoided it for a while, as I need to prune some projects first.

... and here's what I presume was their hire fleet of Vespas and mountain bikes

It was a real "feel good" place to stay.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #119
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OK, so no-one needed the instructions. Let's see if we can catch right up to date here. I've had 3 nights in Jakarta... and am staying tonight as well, then its off to Sumatra. I was going to see about Anak Krakatau, but will probably just crack into some riding and get a bit further northwest. I'll double check later, but I've got 11 or 12 days left on my visa.

So... let's go from the Hindu temples at Prambanan, which is about 20km out of Yogya on the Solo side to the Buddhist temples at Borobudur, 45km or so on the Jakarta side of Yogya.

I'm not sure I should call it dueling temples... but this complex was constructed around the same time as Prambanan - early 800's. With the decline of Buddhism here, it was abandoned and covered with volcanic ash from an erup tion in 1006 and was rediscovered when Raffles was ruling Java in 1814.

I headed for the ticket office, but got booted over to the "International VIP" airconditioned ticket office. That's there way of getting $13.50 entry fee out of you, instead of the $3 or so that locals are charged. I grabbed a guide for this one... always happy to oblige if someone asks nicely.... and we set off... with me in my boots, cordura trousers and dorky motorcycle-specialist backpack (in other words it looks triple dorky when used off the bike). Add in a tourist hat, the compuslory sarong.... and, oh, who gives a rat's?

Here's Borobudur

Which does have its added tourist traps

My guide was excellent in explaining the whole setup. This is part of a relief carving setup that told the story of the good, the normal and the bad.

Here's the good, with people ministering to an ill person

the normal... happy family life

and the bad... drunken behaviour, wild dancing, etc

There's 505 Buddha's at the complex. The reason for this number escapes me.... but it is significant

Unfortunately, the Dutch did a fair bit of headhunting.... as did other nations, eg the French knocked off a lot of heads from statues at Angkor Wat in Cambodia... decorations for their gardens back home or for museums.


More carvings everywhere

During the restoration, where new stone has been used, it is marked like this, so it is easy to see what is old, what isn't

As we climb, we come to a whole heap of stupas. Each has a Buddha inside. Buddha statues have a half dozen or so different poses to demonstrate Buddha's state. This stupa - open to show the statue, also has the stonework spaces in a diamond pattern, which shows that Buddha hasn't yet decided which direction to go

Up here though, the spaces are square... Buddha knows his direction. Again the number of these stupas is significant... IIRC there are 72 plus the big one at the top, which has no spaces, it is solid, with an enlightened Buddha inside

How come the big bloke always gets picked on. These ladies wanted their photo taken with me... the kids weren't so keen

I have to say... that poxy little bottle of water I carried wasn't enough. I go through litres of it every day... but never need to find a place to pee.

Anyhow, on the way out, I spotted a couple of guys making sandals and asked them if they'd have a go at sewing up my boots.

They did a top job, didn't try a rip-off prce, so got rewarded with more than they asked for

How swish is that eh? No more green mould. Hey... speaking of green mould, it was time today to rip out the helmet liner. It was covered in green mould when I got to Bali... and it only got wiped out... and my Buff (dust mask) - I tried it on the other day and it smelt like what I imagine a pair of panties that've been worn for a few months must smell like.... oops, I digress, but I'm glad I did....

Of course... someone else saw an opportunity while I was getting my boots fixed. I'm not proud... i'll take a neck and shoulder massage anywhere. $3.

Now ... that helmet liner- well the cheek pads for my helmet just got washed. Ughh. There's an oil ring in the toilet bowl where I tipped the washing water out - the damn things turned the water black. The day I toured Borobudur, I went through afterwards to Ciamis. About 300km. My face was black when I got there... from all the diesel smoke. I held my breath a lot on that section. Some of the trucks look like they are using double the fuel they could be using if they got their injector pumps serviced.

I spotted three coppers taking photos of their new patrol car on a bridge, so I chucked a U-turn and rode back up the wrong side of the road and said G'day. They were more than happy for a photo.

I popped a wheelie for them and got back into it.

Met a nice group of guys at a small restaurant in one of the villages. Just the sort of place Agus told me to avoid.

Any trainspotters? This one was hooting along

Yes.... I know how to tighten a chain... but I'm happy to spend 50c and give the locals some work.... besides... I've lost my 10mm spanner somewhere between Sydney and here.

Did I mention that I really, really hate climbing stairs lugging my bags? Its always at least two trips too. This was actually something that my Garmin could find. A hotel. I probably should have taken a photo in the restaurant. It was a 96 seat restaurant.... and I was THE guest. The only one. Made me wonder how fresh the ingredients were.

There was plenty of broken surfaced road between Yogya and Jakarta (a total of just over 600km), I tried to get a shot of some of the really squiggly centre line.... in places it had squiggles about 18" wide where the road surface had moved

I'll post up some random shots from the Yogya - Jakarta ride over 2 days. IIRC it was about 17 hours to do the 600km - including stops

The army guys I've passed have always been friendly

I can't imagine this passing inspection back home

or this

How's this for a hairy chest. Big boy

They love their monuments in Indonesia... I probably should shoot some more

Plenty of plantations on the way

Plenty of volcanoes too. Some big, some little

So... day two of the strike for Jakarta... which, of course, my Garmin doesn't know exists. Seriously... I could not get Jakarta in as a destination. I finally got some satellite city of the Big Durian in, which meant less checking with locals - and suddenly a toll road popped up. As I turned on and came up to the toll booths, it was obvious bikes weren't welcome - there were booths for sedans and others for trucks/buses, so I scooted around the edge and got into it a bit - nothing over 175 kph. Traffic wasn't too heavy and the going was good.... but I hadn't had a break for hours and I didn't think I had 160km of fuel left..... so when a service station came up, I stopped refueled and grabbed a bite to eat.

Big mistake. Security came up... so I played dumb and buggered off in a hurry. Next exit, they were waiting. I was sitting on 140 kph (I'd only spotted speed signs that said something like 80 maximus (or similar word) and another one straight under that said 60 minimus (or similar). Add 80 and 60 together... that's 140... so I figured that was about right.

Like I said, they were waiting.... I heard the siren, but ignored them... but figured maybe it was best to not end up arrested, so I backed off to 125 and let them catch up. Two security guys in this one, got all animated

There was an ambulance with them too. No English.... so I kept saying "Jakarta" and pointing to my GPS - and up the road. Plenty of two way radio yabbering and I figured it was time to play ball.... so I followed them to near the next exit - at 50 kph in the breakdown lane. About a kilometre short of the exit, I pulled alongside - pointed to the exit, they nodded.... and I didn't give them the option to do anything. I got into it - and took the exit. They didn't have a hope in hell of staying with me

Next entry point, I tried again - but got nabbed and thrown off.

It took me an extra four frigging hours to get into Jakarta in peak hour traffic - including a half hour stop for a thunderstorm that I would have missed. I eventually plugged in a bus stop into the garmin that was a couple of km from where I wanted to go, and finally made it.... somewhat muddy from the storm. I damn near t-boned a local on a scooter - entirely his fault - must've missed him by an inch, with my front forks fully compressed under brakes. It would have hurt him more than me. The 'roids I was taking for the food allergy kicked in at one stage.... nothing like a bit of 'roid rage in Jakarta traffic - and I played chicken with a full-sized bus. He ran a red light - by about 5-6 seconds - after I'd taken off into the clear. I had to prop..... again, there wouldn't have been an inch in it. I'm off the steroids now... so all's good.

I got into Jalan Jaksa at about 6pm... horrendous traffic coming into Jakarta. You really can't believe how bad it is... but its all part of the deal.

Anyhow, the Hostel I was looking for wasn't where I was expecting to find it, so I dived into the Hotel that was there. What a dump. I don't mind staying in dives, but this one was hot, with the noisiest fan I've ever encountered. I found the prayer room before I finally found the shared "bathroom"... with its broken off pipe for a "shower" - cold water only, of course, but that isn't a problem here. As it was, I slept like a log - didn't hear the fan.

I moved to Hostel 35 the next morning. Double the price (now paying $25 a night) - nice room, even has some aircon.

After the move, I'd just sat down to lunch and this guy says, "would you please come and be in a video we are making for Indonesia's best reggae band... "

It turned out to be a (minor) starring role. I had to follow acting directions even... and was the "companion" for a local TV presenter in the bar. She's a cutey too.

Here's the lovely lass who'd tried to entice me into that bar earlier. You can see why I didn't trust her intentions..... and had kept walking.

One of the band.

He's the drummer, I believe. Tiny guy

This is Joko, the main vocalist, quite famous locally I beleve

.... along with an afro'd dude with a surfboard and some cute young things

What its like to face the camera

My co-star, a local TV presenter, and me showing my colour.... which is what they admitted they wanted me for. They made me roll my sleeves up, and they put a smile on my face...

............ and that pretty much meant that I didn't go looking at museums in the Big Durian (Jakarta)

One of the seats at that bar was based on a boat design. I love it

One of the local cars - one that I haven't really warmed to

I asked the waitress if she'd mind me taking this shot. i believe she did it when her husband was killed in a shipping accident in Russia


I caught up with an old workmate from my Coopers & Lybrand days. He keeps a house here and another in Oz... lives with a Sundanese woman (not far from here... lovely lady, not sure how to spell her name, but Eveneasy sounds a bit like it). He invited me to his club for lunch... high up in the World Trade Centre... said I could park in the Club's parking lot.

You reckon?

Here's an early photo.

I decided to see how they'd react - after they'd said "no bikes" and I said "yes, bike.... Club says yes" It didn't happen, of course, but we had some fun.... ended up with 12 security guards, one cop with pistol and submachine gun (he wouldn't let me take his photo or borrow his machine gun for some reason.... locally made thing with a hinged butt.

Anyhow, even after Colin showed up, no go, so I stuck it in the bike parking across the road. It was all done in good fun.... when they wouldn't let me in, I smiled and locked it and said "I stay here till Club member comes"

Here's a lovely photo of Che Guevarra that Colin put in the smoking room to provide some balance to the photo of Winston Churchill on the other wall

The girls turned up to get us as the sun was setting.... after a lovely lunch. The staff, of course, dobbed us in to the women for having had 2 bottles of Chilean red and one South African... and several beers.... so we were in trouble. My Javanese Oxtail soup was brilliant. Loved it.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions... the girls are friends. Anita is married to a rather wealthy local lad from what I an gather.... something to do with mining black gold.

I ended up staying at Chez Colin - and its a lovely apartment. Incrediby luxurious and well appointed. It was funny showering in a marble shower today.

Getting there was fun... it wasn't far, but it took an hour or so in the traffic.... and it dumped on me. I handed all possessions (phone, camera, wallet, etc) through the car window..... and enjoyed a bath. If I'd have lost them it would have been "interesting"

Here's one of sokids having fun that I meant to post earlier. Shot in a local back lane

Here's this morning's coffee, yep Civet Poo coffee. Damn nice. I must've had five cups. World's best and most exclusive coffee

The other (No 2) brand of the same stuff

I spotted the President's motorcade on the way "home" today.... just caught a shot of his tail. He travels fast

.... and on that note, I'm off to catch up with Heather and her kids and husband. We met Heather in Flores.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:02 AM   #120
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I'm a tad tired. Rode today from 8am to 8pm.... albeit with 3 hours of that sitting on the bike on the ferry across the Sunda Strait. Im in Bandar Lampung, Sumatra... and I wimped it when I got here and scored a five star room.

8am to 10am had me make no progress thanks to a diabolically bad bit of Garmin software. I knew I was headed in the wrong direction, but assumed it was taking me to a ring road. Nope. Just useless software. I'm getting very sick of Garmin. Seriously, at 10am, I was back where I'd been at 8am. Arghhh.

In between, I met these chaps.

Nice guys... but a bit of the normal cop adrenaline when they first caught me. The previous four cars didn't manage it, but these guys were good. Very good. Unfortunately, my video wasn't working. It would have been good footage. There was even a guy in an unmarked car (might have been an off-duty cop) who tried to swat me with his car. Prick. He wasn't hard to lose though.... just threaded the needle for a while and never saw him again.

While I was pulled over (the cops called a tow truck, and then a tabletop truck.... they wanted to ship me out on a truck, but I convinced them to let me follow them on the breakdown lane.... a convoy of 4 Lamborghini Gallardo's went past... with a police escort, front and back. Money talks.

Anyhow... the cops gave me a bottle of Pokari Sweat and a nice jam roll and things eased up a bit. My sin... I used the tollway (again). Despite being the fastest vehicle... its a sin to only have two wheels on the tollway.

... but we finished with photos all round

Did I mention why I like the tollroads? The other roads are all ribbon development, with blockage after blockage

I can get through it as fast as their best... but f'me... its hard, hard work. 100% concentration. No relaxing.... at all.

I got "picked up" by the guy on the centreline here... and we rode together for about 25km... and at one stage, pulled over and had a coffee and "chat". Nice young guy... rode well and fast. Yes... we made a gap there and both went through it. It looks diabolical if you video it... but it works

When we finally got to his stop... he wheeled me in past his mates for his status boost, and I was off again.

I got picked up again... I thought it was cops at first.... These guys had sirens... but I ignored them, then cottoned on. They are a local touring group... and I ended up with stickers and a badge from them. They opened holes in the traffic... rode like madmen - and we had fun.

The Megapro Motor Club from Banten, IIRC (I have their details)

I had the normal Java moments in the traffic today... a few mirror clashes... a few drongos who pulled out from the side of the road without looking... I banged on one's window and to my surprise, he opened it. We had a discussion.... I'd slithered to a halt beside him. I finally "scored" a bus too. I got the sh!ts with one that just pulled out on me... with my horn blaring... so I just collided with him as he pulled out. Scared the bejesus out of him, rocked the bus on its springs too... No damage to me of course.... I just hit him with my handlebar end.... sort of like a 700lb sledgehammer.

I lost count of how many times I got run off the road tonight in my night run from the ferry... 2 hours. The buses in particular, don't care... they just overtake when they want... and you have to go bush. I'm convinced there's not a better bike than what I've got for this trip.

At one stage the road was so bad, I was back to 1st gear for mile after mile, climbing down into then out of these massive holes in the road. Phew.

Here's the good areas. One handed riding again... tut tut.

Nice mosque

I didn't wander in.

My mate in the photo above, incidentally, asked me if I was Muslim. "No". He then linked two fingers and said "Muslim, non-Muslim, OK"... and I agreed. There's tons more crap between Muslim and non-Muslim in Australia and America than there is here. Here, everyone is accepted at face value. Everyone. Its time our countries grew up.

A bit of the Sunda Strait shipping.

The Katoom does sort of stand out eh?

A guy and woman came over and were chatting. He had good English.... turned out he's a senior cop. We had a really great chat for a couple of hours.

Arriving in Sumatra. There's a bloody great volcano there, among those clouds, of course

Architecture school here must be a hoot

Nice little fishing boats

Here's a shot from the road down tonight. No rain, just dust, bugs and and tons of diesel smoke

When I checked in at the Marco Polo Hotel (yep, he came here), the guy on the reception desk was looking down his nose at this black-faced bikie. The girls were keen for a photo though

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