Posts Tagged ‘Lopon’


I stood there on the muddy slope, my sandles brown and slimy from the mud, stationary with the bike. Trying to move forward my feet would slip in the sandles, the sandles would slip on the slope, and the wheels would slide back to whence they came. So I was stuck there. Then came a bus from above. I was in its way but couldn’t move. Out jumped two strapping lads and pushed me up and forward, out of the bus’s way. This road was meant to be ‘bagus’ (great). It was a mud-bath.

The beach

The beach

Our lovely hosts last night

Our lovely hosts last night

The crocodile beach

The crocodile beach

Our day started as yesterday’s had ended. Pushing our bikes up rocky steep roads to amazing viewpoints before bumping our way down again. A short interlude of nice road allowed us to make more kilometres than yesterday before a short 3km stretch of slime took 1.5 hours.

We arrived, slimy and muddy, at a church, and were welcomed by the people there, and taken to the pastor’s house which is being built. We were given food to eat and water and coffee to drink. Again, such lovely people!

The church family

The church family


‘Dorong! Dorong!’ (push)
I scream at the top of my voice as the kids push me and my bike up the super-steep hill.
‘Dorong! Dorong!’ cries Clement as his kids push him up. We are neck and neck, like jockeys in a horse race.
Today was steep. Today was drenching rain. Today was spectacular views over the most amazing turquoise water. Oh – and did I mention – it was steep!

It was steep!

It was steep!

We didn’t really get going today – stopping every 5km when the rain got too heavy. I tried my first betel nut that everyone has been chewing. With the rain pouring down outside, the whole village gathered around as we bit off some of the fruit, took some of the white powder, and chewed. The taste was intense, and bitter. I couldn’t take it for too long.

Our friends during the rain shower

Our friends during the rain shower

We arrived at the only town in the area to see the most amazing coloured sea. There were areas of brown, areas of bright turquoise, areas of normal blue, and areas of the deepest blue – all to the backdrop of dense dark clouds. It was beautiful.

The amazing blue water

The amazing blue water

The blue sea

The blue sea

The blue sea

The blue sea

Then the road climbed, and my goodness it was steep. Up 300m into the heavens, and down 300m. Up 600m then down 600m. Up another 500m then down. At the top we could gasp in awe at the magic coast of beautiful water and steep mountains dropping to the sea.

The view from above

The view from above

Steep

Steep

The village kids drove me insane, following me as I crawled up the mountains. They were much faster walking that I was cycling. And others putted along on their motorbikes. None wanted to be photographed but followed doggedly. We were the most interesting thing that had happened all week. Then Clement had the brilliant idea of putting them to work. So they pushed us up the hills, sometimes at a sprint.

This part of Indonesia is one of the poorest places I’ve seen. The lean-tos made of grass must get blown over regularly. People just sit on the side of the road watching time pass by. We finished today with another 10km of steep road left, staying the night next to the sea (with the crocodiles) in a little house with a lovely family.

They are beautiful people and desperately poor. I brought out the biscuits which they only accepted for the children. I cooked some pasta that Clement had on a fire they had made in an outhouse. Again, they only accepted some of it for the children.
They brought a chicken in from outside. Later, by the fire, it had had its neck broken. It is going to be fried. I fear they are giving us almost the last food they have. I will give them some money tomorrow. They can buy some food – this time for the whole family.

Today was an amazing and intense day. This is what cycle touring is all about.