‘Slow basting in a roasting oven’ is an appropriate way we felt on today’s cycle trip, which involved a couple of nasty hills to boot. We had to wait for the staff to open the kitchen at 5.30 am before heading off, but the sun did its best to not allow us to get too far before bringing on the heat. The coast road does follow the coast, however we rarely saw it. Instead we witnessed villages of different cultures, mostly with neatly, multiple coloured painted picket fences and lush green gardens. A far contrast from Palu. Some of the interesting features included bamboo flags in the grounds of each house, lining the streets and an assortment of upside down plastic drink cups used to “highlight” the front gardens. Balinese culture then followed with more ornate offerings at the front gardens and local mosques. Finally, Christian churches dominated the landscape.
Apart from the heat and humidity, it was a longish ride with distances of around 140 km being recorded. The “tour” operates by refuelling via multiple on-road morning teas, a late lunch and then dinner at 7 pm. Today we soon learned that flat tyres, slow riders (ie walking up hills etc) causes the whole group to be delayed in getting to the main meal points, which we were told had been booked well in advance. Halfway through, Phil discovered that his disc brakes were partially on – he just thought it was the woes of being on a mountain bike!
The food is interesting. Morning tea is usually bananas, mandarins, biscuits & drink. Lunch is at a local restaurant – chicken, fish, vegetables & rice – cooked with lavishing’s of chilli.
The road surface is exceptional and a pleasure to ride. There appears to be a road program to upgrade & resurface. We also passed our first cyclist (young woman on bike). Whilst there are motorcycles everywhere, very few appear to use a bicycle. It would seem the local “must have” items includes a motorcycle, satellite TV & smart phone – regardless of whether they can afford them or not!
The Indonesians are remarkably friendly, and call out greetings all the time. It is unbelievable the number of “Salamat Pagi” (Good Morning), “Hello Mister” and physical “High Fives” were exchanged.
We arrived at our destination hotel about 4 pm. Colin had some trouble negotiating the road on his bike which has got a few of us concerned. However, the hotel was a welcome place to stay and is newly built over the water. I think we are their first international guests. We also celebrated Chris’ 67th birthday.