Posts Tagged ‘Bukit Peninjauan’


‘What do the people do in your village,’ Ad asked Clement. Clement lived in a little village in France near the Swiss border.
‘Do the peasants around the village have enough to eat?’
‘Things are so much better here in Indonesia since the palm oil plantations. People have jobs, and people have enough to eat. The plantations are good!’

Cycling in the palm plantations

Cycling in the palm plantations

We are often asked how much we earn and how much the bikes are worth. The amounts seem ridiculous here. I now say my bike is one tenth of the true price, and I am still met with comments of how expensive it is. Prices are different in the west, and so is life in general. Today we were invited to stay with the English teacher of the local school. His English was excellent, and we could have in-depth conversations, which led to interesting questions and interesting perspectives. For westerners, of course everyone in the village has enough to eat. Also, for westeners, palm plantations are evil – for the environment and concentration of wealth amongst the wealthy. The forests of Europe were cut down many years ago, so the evil from that has passed.

Today we passed the stretch of road for fruit sellers. Everyone was selling exactly the same fruit. Then, ten kilometres down the road, we passed the stretch of road of people selling four different kinds of fried food – and nothing else. No fruit sellers here. This seems quite a common thing. A few days ago we passed stretches of road with people selling big fluffy toys. A mixture of sellers with varying wares seems quite unheard-of here.

Fried food sellers

Fried food sellers

While at the stretch for fried food sellers, Clement realised that someone had stolen almost a million rupiah from his wallet (about 50 euros). We spent a long time thinking back to when it could have happened. After all this thought, we were none-the-wiser. Such an unexpected and atypical thing for Indonesia.

After an initial stretch this morning along a soft sandy path through the palm plantations, we returned to the road on the edge of the mountains that twisted and turned, constantly rising and falling. We contemplated the different kinds of road: mountain roads are very steep, but have amazing views, and are cooler, being at higher altitude. Roads back from the coast are hot and constantly up and down, but have a good road surface. Roads along the coast are straight and flat, but have a crap road surface. Then, if a road is flat, straight and has a good road surface, there is lots of traffic. A mixture of roads is the key!


We left the main drag in search of the little white road on the paper map. The road that isn’t on Google Maps, but, luckily does exist. It’s a bumpy affair through the palm plantations well off the beaten track. And, here we find ourselves, in a little village staying with our flamboyant host.

In the palm plantation

In the palm plantation

Today, being less steep, meant there was more time for talking, which we did in abundance. At different places with views over the sea we stopped and talked and ate. All good past-times for cyclists. Sleeping is another good past-time for cyclists, and that is what I’m going to do now..