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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by The Bigfella, Nov 10, 2011.
I think you made the best choice with the wedding. You can meet nutters any day of the week.
Ambassador.... not the Supreme Leader. I was going to edit that out btw, but I don't seem able to edit anything, using this computer. Yeah... it still would have been an interesting meeting. A two on one.... but the wedding won out.
Yeah - but having a chance to get some input into moving things onto a more even keel doesn't come along very often.
Meanwhile.... you might be thinking this is just a small wedding, eh? Not on your Nellie... to quote a long dead relative of mine's favourite saying.
Here's another one from the Friday, of the girlfriend with one of her brothers. Nice guy. He just offered me a trip up to Sulawesi with him this week, but I've got to work here in Jakarta
And another shot from the first day. I think this was a neighbour of the bride... I just like the way the shadows played out
I'm in the market for one of these caps too
Last one of the charades (my word... not theirs) from Friday. Some sort of ritual where the family sell the guests a drink from a stall. Most "pay" with a shard of pottery from the vessel used to provide the cleansing water, which was ritually smashed during that part of the service.
Come Friday morning, I was assisted into my traditional Javanese clothing by four of the guys. Some innovation was required... and some discomfort on my part. I'm a Euro 48 for footwear. Biggest available was 45. That little 3 means a lot when it comes to footwear. The traditional Javanese shoe is like a western business shoe at the front... and a sandal at the back. Closed toes. I struggled around for half a day and the pain of hanging two inches out the back of the shoes got too much and I changed to my western shoes. Here's one of the brothers re-adjusting my gear, which was necessary every time I sat down
See what I mean about the shoes... I had to slip out the sides as much as possible to avoid the pain
That's two of the brothers and a nephew and I forming part of the guard of honour as the bride and groom arrived.... which is a big show in its own right
The bride - who I'd met in Jakarta when we arrived... and her mother and father. The mother is one of my girlfriend's sisters.
The groom and his parents - behind the dancers
As the couple are united, they are wrapped together (I should ask whether this is so they can't escape...) and led to the table to be married in the Muslim ceremony, which precedes the Javanese ceremony. That's my girlfriend on the left, with the sister who is hosting us in Jakarta. I'm not a fan of the makeup... I'm told it's "Solo style". Including pinned on buns, etc. It's the makeup bit and big eyelashes I'm not keen on, but tradition is tradition
and the ceremony begins
The religious ceremony was attended by several hundred... with LOTS more arriving for the next bit. I did a rough count on plates on the food lines - a couple of thousand. More on that later
No alcohol right?
Weddings scare the crap out of me. I got married in China .. I puked at least 3 times that day
There was one small bottle of gin... drunk neat on a balcony with absolutely no rails on it on the Friday night. Only about a 25' drop.... but I had to read the riot act to a certain woman - who shall remain nameless - who kept walking around backwards out there. I eventually told her that the next time she did it, I'd pick her up and throw her through the (open) window, back into the room. She stopped doing it.
So, I've met the girlfriend's mother too... and we got on fine. Memorised my first few lines of Bahasa.
Still can't come to grips with the makeup though
We got into the Javanese ceremony once the licences were presented
This is the only shot I've got showing the back of our gear. We were all wearing a Kris - the Javanese dagger
While I think of it though... I missed posting this bit of the Javanese dancers
Quite the show
The couple and their parents retired to the stage... after changing outfits again
More symbolic rituals
This bit was a bit different. They brought in a cooked chicken... which they symbolically ripped apart. I guess that's something to do with sharing / providing
Then it was food - for a couple of thousand... and photos - for a couple of thousand, with the couple
Here's the girlfriend's sibling shot. All her brothers and sisters - except one brother who was off somewhere for a few minutes and there was a brother who died about 9 years ago.... as did the father.
The two kneeling are adopted - which fits the flavour of the family. They had 23 servants when the girlfriend was growing up - mostly people her father saved during the troubles here, when somewhere between one and three million died at the hands of the army in the late 60's. He was well respected and when he told the army that the people were his servants, they were left alone.
I got to lift the mother up and down from the stage a couple of times. No wheelchair access. The big guy always gets the heavy jobs
... but then, formalities over, it was time for fun
How about a couple of random shots
On the road... driving past a volcano. They're in the news in Indonesia at present, with Bali's Gunung (mount) Agung erupting. The airport has been variously open and closed.... and we have to transit through that airport next week on the way home.
This one is more benign. It's one we passed, heading home from the wedding in Cilegon
And, I need to get home. My son flies back from the USA, where he's been working for 18 months, on Christmas Day - in time for his wedding on December 30th.
Speaking of Cilegon. It's also known as Steel City - the home of Krakatau Steel. The local minibuses there all sport wings. Very, um, stylish
I saw one nice one - pink and green wheels - but only got a partial shot of it, despite seeing it a few times.
We did a trip down to Sunda Kelapa Harbour - now better known as Pasar Ikan (fish market) the old port of Batavia in the mouth of the Ciliwung River, dating back to when the Portuguese and Dutch first came here in the 1500's to see the "schooners". These wooden vessels used to be schooners, but these days, the mizzen masts are all gone and they've converted to diesel power since the mid '70s. Still, they are all wooden and are very interesting,with one company still using sail - in an assist role, rather than as the main motive power. Known as pinisi (with some spelling variations)
The largest of them is 200' with a 40' beam. This one is slightly smaller. They carry up to 300 tonnes of freight
I'm suffering a bit from the internet connection problem here.... and I need to get into town for a meeting. More later.
OK, so I managed to get rid of the duplicate post by using a different browser. Let's see how we go here. I've got a moment of peace at last - the sisters have gone shopping. Here's hoping they find some more anti-histamines... I'd like to keep on keeping on. My extended stay means supplies are at an end. Bibi - the head servant here wouldn't know what a food intolerance is... and spices and I have a bit of a tussle. She just smiles and says "OK Mista"
So - back to the Batavia docks. This from the UNESCO site and it's consideration of this part of Jakarta for World Heritage Status
At the mouth of the river of the Old Town of Jakarta, there exists a wharf specifically for traditional/vernacular sailing boats from various parts of the Archipelago. Indonesia has the largest fleet of merchant sailing boats in the world and the boats of the various islands show different characteristics. This port for vernacular sailing boats is evidence of a unique maritime culture still in existence till today. It is an inter-island port. In the past Batavia was the most important port in Asia for inter-island, Inter-Asia and the Asia-Europe trading route. Today it is still one of the most important ports for inter-island traditional vernacular boats. These boats are an outstanding example of traditional sea-use which is representative of a culture or human interaction with the environment which has become vulnerable under the impact of the development of modern shipping technology.
There is the odd threat... like sea level rise, given these docks were built hundreds of years ago. We got wet feet
The locals prefer to blame the now jailed former Governor Ahok for that... because they reckon that nearby developments targeting Chinese investors have caused the land to subside.... but let's stay clear of politics, eh?
Did I mention that the schooners (pinisi or, more correctly pinisiq) are all painted in different colours, according to which company owns them. Nothing new there. Here's the largest of them... a 200' x 40' vessel
More of 'em
Yours truly checking out an engine room. Better knick than my boat... but a bit more room
An auxiliary was running, so it was a bit warm and noisy down there
I'm told that the maximum horsepower is 420 on one of the boats. All Japanese engines, it seems... although the first of these wasn't fitted until the mid 70's
Crew accommodation. I'm guessing that the pillowslips haven't been washed for a while
These are the original spice warehouses of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; or Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie in modern spelling - the Dutch East India Company - VOC - now a museum.
They were built between 1652 and 1771. I'd love to take a look at that maritime museum. Hopefully another trip.
Speaking of history.... let me digress a bit. I believe we have just discovered that her great uncle was Minister for Defence here, back around the time Australia was buying these toys
I don't think the thought of her dating an Aussie would have been very popular with him back then.
Enough of the boats eh? I have more photos if anyone is interested. So.. we all found a Padang style restaurant and I finally mastered the art of eating with just my right hand
Last boat shot
Well, the ride into Asia continues. For the last month, I've been settling my feet under the tables at Riders Corner, in Chiang Mai. What was it that guy said about Remington shavers.... I liked the product so much that I bought the company?
Here's the staff and I
Just to prove that the riding is continuing....
I couldn't bring the Super Enduro back with me... so I've bought an old Multistrada 1100S to play with.
I've ridden it back from Bangkok, via Petchabun - oh boy, Route 12... what fun. I've also taken time off from work to do the half day (with stops for coffee and dangling the toes in the river) Samoeng Loop with the Ulysses Club folks and I met a couple of them for dinner up at Chiang Dao on Monday night - up the 1001 to Phrao, then the 1150 and 107 to Chiang Dao. Home via the 107. A nice loop of about 260km
I upgraded the scooter at the pub the other day. A new Honda Click 150 - with auto stop/start and LED lights that leave those on the Ducati far behind.
I did a few deals on bikes after I bought the bar/restaurant/hotel too. Mostly for the rental fleet... with a couple of CB500F bikes, two CRF250s. 3 XR250s, 5 XL250s, 3 DRZ400s, with both road and trail wheelsets... an offroad only WR250F and some odds and sods (BMW Dakar that looks like it might take some work to get running). Hell, I even rented my old Yammie Fino to a guy this week. He asked after a bike, but it became obvious he was better suited to a scooter.
Well, aren't you full of surprises!
good to know after a long absence you are back into it n riders corner gets a new lease on life.
We have had a few interesting few rides lately. Day rides and multi-day rides. We've got digital nomads and overlanders in town... some wintering here and others riding through. Here's some shots from some of the rides.
There's at least three inmates in this pic... and I am fairly certain some of the others have log-ins too. Cro59 is writing of his travels here in another thread, Big'nTall posts in various parts of the forum. Trevor is wintering here, Grace is riding through from Oz to Paris and Paul edits a well known adventure motorcycling magazine. JM and I live here in Chiang Mai.
Mahsa is a well-known Iranian adventurer who keeps a CRF in Chiang Mai, and Pablo and Rosanna are now in Laos on one of my DRZs
Back to riding.... JM, on his KLX250, Paul on one of my DRZs (this one's a 440 kitted bike) and Trevor, then on a rental CB150R and myself on the Ducati, set off for a border run to Mae Sai
The run up the 107 was fairly uneventful
Don't believe everything you read on signs. There was a short delay up ahead, with a truck with a very flat cab being dragged back onto the road.
... and the roadworks that were the reason for the closure had the Ducati spinning the rear tyre
It was a bit misty up top... but the coffee was good
We struck brake problems on the DRZ and CBR, dropping down from the heights... and whilst they cooled down a bit I explored the back blocks of one of the border towns. The range of ethnicities one encounters up here is amazing
It's Myanmar on the left, Thailand on the right up here....
It's hard to convey the steepness of these roads... but when I took this shot, as I parked the Ducati (with the aid of a rock under the sidestand)... the other three bikes were laying on their sides behind me...
Paul had lost the rear brake again and some sandy gravel on the broken surface claimed him first... and then JM fell trying to turn around to assist...
He'd had to extend his arms to stop himself as he rolled down the hill
....... and Trevor...... well, he'd lost front brakes on his rental
We had a decent break here... Paul having a rest in the grass, while we sorted out bikes
At least this time of year you don't have to worry about landslides, just the repair works for the past ones.
Just an indicator... as these things aren't entirely accurate... but here's the points where the crashes occurred... yes, two of the bikes went down again at a second point
The two bikes that lost brakes had done so on that first big descent... and then again, leading to the crashes. I missed the second group crashing session, as I was ahead a bit... and had stopped on the Ducati after a two wheel slide... to warn the other guys... who didn't show up. By the time I got back to them, one rider was in a truck and heading for the nearest town. The three of us then shuffled four bikes about 20km.. and had to deal with one running out of fuel too.
JM's about my height... but I'll spare you the photo of both of us on the Ducati...
As is often the case, locals on Honda Waves were having less trouble than the lads on Adventure bikes.
The classic moment during the first crash had come when I called "Mate, are you OK?" and got no answer. Yelled a bit louder, I got "yeah"... saving me the need to throw the Ducati down. It wouldn't have been pretty.
We headed into Fang and grabbed some rooms, before heading out to grub up
The ladyboy manning the counter (see what I did there?) in the hotel had an "interesting" bike...
We debated whether Paul should continue or head home with the bike in a truck, but he'd recovered enough and we headed for the border in the morning... scoring free coffees, sans milk, at a brand new Amazon franchise that was undergoing last day training for the staff before it's opening the next day. Lovely attitude from the owner and staff.
Lunch at Cabbages & Condoms, where Tum and I had visited a few years before on a border run for me...
Quite the educational institution
Then a final dash into Mae Sai for Trevor to do his border crossing into Myanmar and back so he could get a new visa
That done, we headed for Mae Salong - with a cop pulling up alongside me at a set of lights and giving me, well, maybe the Ducati, the thumbs up and a smile. I treated him to some noise on the light change... those Zard pipes sure are sweet.
We had to endure another ignominious moment late in the ride... as a local lady on a Wave, with a bag of rice on the back swept through us when we slowed for a while
It was a serious climb again... up through the tea plantations
Now we're talking... the Fun Fun Inn
One of the staff was washing the owner's truck... and I slipped her a few bucks to wash the Ducati... with some instructions about where I didn't want the hose put. She was tickled pink. I probably doubled her daily wage.
The atmosphere up in Mae Salong is pretty relaxed. There's lots of hill tribes folk there and they seem happy
Three of us went exploring around town
The views are, as always in the hills in Thailand, spectacular
Food's good too
Some locals are quite innovative when it comes to re-using old sprockets. Lots of drain covers and mechanic's seats are made out of them, but the one in this shot is the largest I've seen.
Stopping to survey the scene... Paul was pretty sure he'd busted a bone in his ankle, so JM took over the heavier DRZ and gave Paul the KLX
Many times I've seen hill tribe women who said no to a photo when asked (as I generally do when up close)... but, having bought a good luck trinket, this lady was fine with me taking a snap
... and even happier when the others coughed up some money too
Something I'm not keen on. The old slash and burn habits remain. There's no creating compost from old vegetable matter... it's burnt, and it creates a real problem with air quality later in the season
The images of the new king are up
South of Fang, I convinced the guys that an extra 50km on the backroads would be far better than slabbing it down the 107. We turned off onto the 1346, until it hit the 1150, left on that, into Phayo, then right onto the 1001 to Chiang Mai. I've got a standing offer out that that route is quicker than the 107 anyhow.... I'm waiting for a taker on the bet.
with Paul back on the 440
These were the last days of Trevors CB150R rental. He bought a CB300F after this ride.
Lovely back roads
No shots on the 1150 this trip... as I "enjoyed" the fast sweepers and pulled ahead for a bit
I got the race face thing happening there too....
Then waited for the guys for the run into town
Bit of a dodgy map (I only had the GPS running some of the time... and patched in prior runs on some of the same bits of road)
A dodgy shot of some of three of the protagonists, back at Rider's Corner. Trevor had bailed on the post-ride dinner after another patron started in about Brexit. Given JM is a retired professor of economics, specialising in direct foreign investment... it'd gotten "interesting".
So, back in Chiang Mai, a few things have been going on. I'd picked up a new Honda Click 150i for an about town scoot... and at 278 km on the clock, I had a Thai lady in a new Honda Civic pull a "Crazy Ivan" move on me...
One blink of her indicator, as she swung the wheel hard over to go into a petrol station. She'd just moved to the centre of the road... so it was obviously a spur of the moment move for her. My scoot almost got dragged under her car, but I reefed it out, using upper body strength.... which stuffed my back up a bit, but at least I avoided going down.
I also picked up a new Honda Wave... poverty pack edition - drum brakes, no 'lecky starter. A regular customer's wife had bought it as an incentive to a relative to be a better lad - and he wasn't, so she took it back and sold it to me with under 10 kilometres on the clock. Brand new.
Yeah - I got hit on that too - just another scooter - one of the local hotshots with his girlfriend on the back barged through a gap that wasn't wide enough. No paint exchanged, but I did have a rush of blood that saw me chase him for a few metres, before realising that thumping a local isn't a good idea.
We took in the Hmong Formula 2018 billycart finals. The prize for the winning village is over $3,000 - so these guys take it seriously
I bought a Forza 300 - which I was out riding on today. It gets along fine, but is too big around town
and a second hand, low mileage 500X to add to the fleet
Here's the Forza this morning... parked next to a mate's GoldWing
and some vintage iron, where we had coffee
A planned ride to Nan and onto Chiang Khong and back evaporated... or more correctly, got drowned - and we settled into work for a while.
Here's a shot, by Steve C., of the first of two unseasonal wet days we got. Pretty much no rain since this, I might add....
It led to a lazy day for us all
We also had more adventurers arrive... Grace from Australia, had ridden up from there on her way to Europe, on her KTM690, and at the same time Cherie, from Singapore dropped in on her 701, heading into Laos and Quezzie arrived too
The place has taken a lot of effort to get things sorted. New pumps, screens, furniture, mattresses, coffee machine, etc, etc. Who'd have thought running a bike bar would be so much work? When the local lads and lasses come to play, the parking fills up fairly quickly... albeit mostly adventure, um, scooters
My go-to bike around town is now the Click. It's pushing 2,000 km and it hardly ever goes more than a couple of kilometres at a time. Further out, it's the Forza. Out of town it's a bike (with some exceptions).
Paul's time in Chiang Mai was coming to an end. Quezzie was in town for a month, and she knew Trevor... so, with not enough time to do the Nan / Chiang Khong loop with Paul, we headed to Pai and beyond. We decided to go the back way, via Samoeng - as it is now paved the whole way, which suited our eclectic mix of bikes.
I wasn't kidding when I said eclectic mix.....
Trevor on his newly purchased CB300F, my Multistrada 1100S, Janmarc and Niki on their Forza 300s, a young friend of theirs on JM's KLX250, Paul riding one of our rental fleet - a CRF250L and Quezzie on the, ahem, Lifan Cross 200.
The shop at the hot springs sells nets of quail or chicken eggs that you can lower into the boiling water if you want...
Paul was enjoying the lighter weight of the CRF
We stopped for lunch, but passed on the grilled frog, settling for noodles instead
Quezzie will shoot me for this. This is her "noodle face" look
Paul was quite taken with our riding shirts....
You can't complain about the scenery up here
or the roads
That's Trevor, having just decided to show me his heels. His 300 was ideal through the twisties.... and there's (many) hundreds of twisties on this road. I punished the Ducati's brakes to (and beyond) boiling point chasing him. After I'd cooked the backs, I managed to lock the front into a corner, without any major problem... but I decided discretion was better than valor and Trevor gapped me. A lot of people arrive in this country thinking that big bikes are best. Up to a point... and this road made that point.
I've since ridden that road in the other direction, with Tum on the back of the rental CB500X... and I saw where I'd locked up the front on the Ducati.... a rippled section of bitumen into the corner that I hadn't spotted in the late afternoon sun.
I managed to get a couple of minutes by myself at this stop.... and enjoyed the swing. Safety third. If the rope broke, you'd hit the ground about 60' down the hill
It's near this fuel station. I was quite charmed by the young lady who fueled me up
We only stopped in Pai for fuel and headed another 40km out, to Cave Lodge, near Lod Cave. Pai is full of dirty hippies riding rental scooters (badly, very, very badly). This viewpoint about 20 km past Pai has magnificent views in two different directions
It's a traditional stopping point on a Mae Hong Son loop ride... and it's back on the main road at this stage.
Waiting for the others near a turn. I feel that, had it not been for the 90 kph speed limit here, one could easily have done 195 or so, just down the road.
We wouldn't do that, of course.... but this bloke had no qualms about road rules. Paul came across him in the middle of the road, under his upturned scooter. We got him off the road just as a few locals who knew him turned up. I tried to get them to take his key, to no avail. He defined the term "legless". So drunk he couldn't walk. We left him propped up behind his scooter to hopefully sleep it off.
I was plodding along calmly here, trying to figure out how to get a scenery shot and Trevor shot past again. Oh well... here we go again
We had the golden hour upon us as we headed into Cave Lodge
All here, all safe
The view from the rooms, down to the river
I scored a massage from one of the villagers - arranged by the Lodge folk.. with the masseuse's grand daughter looking on. The others settled into the "we're not scared of heights" table... which is at the edge of the common area, with a drop of about 30' to the ground if a few nails ever decide to give up.
I had a great cabin - actually had two double beds in it, cost 750 baht a night. Could work out to be a cheap trip, with the right friends. I'd neglected to have a shower during the "hot water" period... which is from about 5pm on for a couple of hours. All provided by a wood-fired water heater. I seem to recall from a previous trip that they have a sauna there too... but I focused on a bottle of red wine (well, OK, the drinkers amongst us shared a couple). So, it was a cold shower in the morning. Brisk and invigorating... then five of us headed back, leaving two to go caving.
I love the ride through the forest, back to the main road. A lot of it, after this bit, is actually quite large teak trees
This is actually a steep, tight hairpin... spread out by the vagaries of my phone panorama function
It's a lovely climb up that ridge... to the lookout that has views both ways
Looking northwest, towards Myanmar
... and it's safety third over the other side
We regrouped in Pai and headed down the front road to Chiang Mai. It's just under 130 km that way, about an extra 50 or 60 via the back road, which I prefer, because the back road is absent the hippies on scooters and the flat-strap driving minibuses. It's non-stop corners and a delightful ride though......
I had a crazy expat on a big bike do a kamikaze pass on me in one corner. There was a small truck going the other way and the bike just carved me up. What he didn't see was the bike going the other way past the truck. If I hadn't grabbed a fistful of brake and made room - he'd have had a head-on with the other bike (and/or taken me out). Wanker. He was at the coffee stop when I pulled in, but I wasn't in much of a mood to chat to him. He knew.
Speaking of the coffee stop... it wasn't bad, but it's a bit, um, kitsch....
Back into it
The last bit of the trip coming this way is like a detox from the corners... it brings you back to reality
Paul loved this day's ride... describing it as, IIRC, the best day's ride he'd ever done... and he's a motorcycling journalist. Again, his words... it's like 20 Tail of the Dragon sections end to end... with no real traffic (or something like that). He's right. It's a buzz.
....... and we headed back to the restaurant for some Khao Soi and Massaman curries. Ahh.. it's a tough life.
We negotiated many of those steep roads to the temples and tea plantations, four up in a Honda or Toyota mini SUV, I forget which, and all of 1600cc. First gear did a lot of work. Fortunately driven by a Chiang Rai born friend who knew his way around and seemed to have no fear. Wrong time of year, cloud covered ridge tops and we did encounter a few landslides.....
I've just come back from some of the steepest roads I've ever encountered. We took the Forza... and boiled the brake fluid. I'd had Honda service the Forza before we left and I'd asked them to change the fluid. I was charged $2... and I suspect they just topped it up, rather than replaced it. From now on, I'm doing my own brake fluid changes.