Posts Tagged ‘Muaramahat’


‘Can you turn off the light?’ I asked, lying on the living room floor at night, next to Clement, ready to go to sleep. There was a pause of incomprehension. Clement pointed to the light, and made a cross symbol. Incomprehension. I tried the same kind of waving my arms around. The grandpa turned on the other light. Two lights were on.
‘No. No.’ We pointed to the light. ‘Can you turn off the light?’
Hesitantly he turned off both lights. They couldn’t possibly mean that. Who would want to sleep in the dark?

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The family

I love West Sumatra. What a day it was, ending with some lovely new friends in a little village nestled amongst steep hills with a view over the rice fields. Today we had durian, played with the baby pet monkeys, cycled on beautiful roads through rice paddies and snoozed on a restaurant balcony. We also crossed the equator. Hello southern hemisphere!

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Rice fields

The road was varied today. Steep undulating hills, a flat river and then a 17km climb into the heights. High above, the wind is cool, the view over the mountainous forest landscape is amazing, and we are given mangoes fresh from the tree directly over our head. Using a stick like a snooker cue, the mangoes are knocked down to be consumed.

We stopped for our first durian of the trip. I remember durian fruit as being the most horrible food I have ever tried. The last time, I was not even able to swallow it. This time both Clement and I managed to eat it, and we even finished off a full durian together.

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Durian

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Durian

The people here keep monkeys – and the monkey babies are soooo sweet!

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Monkey

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Monkey

In the heat of the day, we passed the equator. I feel at home now. People stand on their heads, and the water goes down the sink in the right direction. ☺ (For the nerdy people there (like myself), the water rotates in a random direction in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The effect due to the Coriolus force from the rotation of the earth is minimal, and is outweighed by other random forces.)

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Equator


Cycling in the zone. Paranoia. Heat and hills. Cramp. Amazing spread of food for dinner. Today was a weird day.

River

River

Clement and I both are bursting with energy. The road is flat and straight, and we power on, going faster and faster. It’s great feeling the energy flowing through my body. I feel strong. I feel I can conquer the world, and I guess I am conquering it, in a strange kind of way. I pass Clement as my music reaches a climax, and am overtaken as Clement does the same. People wave, pass us giving the thumbs-up. We are fast, and we have come a long way to cycle in this blur of a tropical background.

After 80km we stop for lunch, and we talk. And talk. And talk. Two hours pass – two hours of the hottest part of the day. And then we continue, this time at a slower pace – the sun is pounding down and it is hot. The landscape becomes hilly. The sweat pours off me – Clement calls me a ‘spring’ – a spring of sweat.

Then the mood changes. Suddenly people seem threatening. I don’t know why. A guy invites us to his lake to swim, and we both don’t trust him. Strange people drive past making us feel uneasy. Are the tired looking women, plastered with make-up and dressed to kill, standing by their cars, standing there for a reason?

The cramp hits – well, the preliminary twinges of cramp. The hills are steep, and it’s a constant up and down in the heat. No amount of water can fix my twinges, and I know that it is only a matter of time before I buckle over in agony from cramp. We stop – a truck stop – everyone looks weird and suspicious. Or is it us?

A fantastic dinner – a spread of tiny dishes of incredible Indonesian food – and we feel more relaxed. What was the problem? Cycling makes you learn your body, and your brain. Some unusual brain chemistry was at work today. I have experienced it before, and will undoubtedly experience it again. It’s all part of the adventure.