Being Sunday, Colin (eloquently dressed in his cycling best) toured us past magnificent churches where whole villages came out to sing praises. Indeed, the sounds of a deep baritone singing “hallelujah Trema Casa” was something that caused this writer to stop and enjoy.
Today’s trip of 107 km took us through a variety of coastal scenery just as you would expect in Indonesia. Rainforests, paddy fields, neat & tidy towns, less than neat & tidy towns, sandy beaches, coconut palm forests, wide rivers, and rocky headlands. One thing we did not expect was large areas of recent burning caused by cigarettes thrown from motor vehicles. The extreme dry currently being experienced and the local bad habit of dumping rubbish on the side of the road is clearly a problem.
The Indonesians greet us frequently and genuinely along the whole route, most times saying “Hello, Mister”. Likewise we madly greet them back by waving frantically and calling out their traditional morning greeting “Pagi”. It was exciting at first, making us feel important and welcome, though after the first couple of thousand, we now understand how the Queen must feel.
We also encountered yet more roadworks as the existing surface is being replaced. At morning tea a local market was discovered that snaked its way down side alleys to a beautiful village beach, stacked with coconuts and dugout fishing outriggers. Our continued quest for sunscreen, at the markets, confirmed that Indonesians clearly don’t have a fear of skin cancer, as it is an elusive product.
Lunch was in a roadside café precariously built over a rocky beach. A steep ladder to the beach offered welcome relief in the water on another extremely warm day. Most of our rides have been in the mid 40s and today is no exception. By now we have realised that the daily menu consists of rice, fish, & fruit. For variety, the order changes.
The last 15 km to our night stop seem to take forever in the heat of the day. Welcoming jelly cakes made from palm sugar, sago, & gelatine, then rolled in shredded coconut; supplemented with ice tea lavished with palm sugar and ice, made the journey worthwhile whilst we waited for the allocation of accommodation in the ‘stables’. A dip in the ocean revealed beautiful coral, clown fish and bright blue starfish – a taste of tomorrow’s adventure to an island.