Posts Tagged ‘Sulawesi’


‘I am Pelni. There is no boat to Surabaya today.’
Pelni is the national ferry company. The woman pronounced her verdict with authority from the delapodated non-existant Pelni office.
‘There is no boat today,’ repeated a travel agent with a big Pelni logo on the window. ‘Only on the 27th at 2am.’
We showed the information on the official Pelni website, leaving today (26th of May) at 22.00.
‘No.’
We bought a ticket for the 27th at 2am. The man disappeared to print the ticket.
‘The boat leaves tonight at 22.00,’ he informed us. ‘If you go to the port at 2am it would have already left. Make sure you’re there at 10.’
Monty Python must have been Indonesian.

The boat from Makassar to Surabaya

The boat from Makassar to Surabaya

Will was sick this morning – he had another fever. Maybe a repeat of what we both had earlier. Clement and I needed to get to Makassar to catch the boat, and Will’s boat leaves a few days later. We agreed we were already back in civilisation, and Will would be OK, and Clement and I sprinted to Makassar. It was flat, cloudy and not so hot, and we raced to Makassar, reaching there at about 2.

We were welcomed by Dar Na and Mr Dul from the Makassar cycling community, shown around, and given a place to freshen up for the long boat trip to Surabaya.

Our friends in Makassar

Our friends in Makassar

The boat is huge, and only for passengers – no cars. It is a maze of corridors and stairways. I was like a little kid, exploring the depths and hidden places of this boat. I found a stairwell piled full with old televisions and mouldy mattresses. I went to the toilet in the captain’s toilet and hung out in the crew lounge. I visited the laundry, and met the people sleeping on random pieces of floor all over the ship.

In the bowels of the boat

In the bowels of the boat

P.S. When we arrived in Surabaya, we read of Will’s sickness. He had been to the hospital and was tested positive for dengue fever. Ouch. I wish him a speedy recovery. A very nasty disease to have..


The road is a dual carriageway and the cycling is to get the kilometres done. Today I passed 33,333km and we got within 100km of Makassar. The excitement mounted when we discovered a boat going to Surabaya leaving tomorrow evening. My Borneo and Sulawesi detour is coming to an end. It has been amazing.

Shadows

Shadows

Flat road. No music – I had the music of horns and traffic. The cars tried to copy China with their honking (China is much worse, though). The solution – music. Set intermediate goals about 30km apart and then go. Ice stops, food stops, flake out in the midday heat stops, and now we find ourselves on the beach camping out in 2 little gazebos. Sitting in the still water we watched the sun set to a backdrop of amazing clouds. The birds flew in perfect formation ahead. The silence was emcompassing. The beauty was engrossing. And then we had a laugh, making more and more stupid photo ideas for the ‘Bold’ cigarette advertisements. More to follow.

Bold

Bold

Our beach sleeping place

Our beach sleeping place

33,333km

33,333km


And here we were, wondering if Clement would make it to Makassar – if he could catch us up – the lightening bolts along the coast. After hurtling along to pass 80km before lunch, I switched on my internet. Clement was already here, perusing the ice-cream concoctions. The three are back together.

Selfie

Selfie

Today was cycle and eat, wait for the torrential downpour, and swap stories. When the three rejoin after a while apart, it’s time for story telling, and I am happy.


Kids looked in the doors and in the windows. In the rumah makan (restaurant) were had some space eating, but they were never far away, ready to play zombie and giggle. I think I’ll miss the attention in Australia. It’s fun being a celebrity. ☺

'Hello mister' through the mosquito net

‘Hello mister’ through the mosquito net

Today was long and straight, along the coast, moderately flat. Head down and on – 107km each day, and we can make it to Makassar.

The coastal road

The coastal road


We saw a lot of flat Sulawesi today – as flat as a pancake. The flatness was beautiful, from our perch atop the only ridge of hills. We had many such views as the road followed the ridge of hills – up and down and, yes, up again. All a bit much for Will who I think suffered from the heat. As well as flat, Sulawesi is hot.

View over the plains

View over the plains

It was time for a swim today in the bath-warm water. I can never get over how the palm trees just stand there, naturally, on the beach. They don’t know how exotic they are, those palm trees. The 20 kids that watched us get undressed also didn’t realise how exotic the palm trees were. The white tourists were much more exotic and needed to be watched.

The beach

The beach

The road became a bit flatter after lunch, and I couldn’t help myself – I had to sprint, and I scooted along to clock up my 33000km in a blur of adrenaline, listening to Infected Mushroom.

33000km

33000km

Don’t tell Clement, but Will and I are staying in a hotel in a big town. We also went to a western style café and had Italian food. And, it was delicious! ☺


‘They can’t do anything wrong with f*ing eggs!’
The boiled eggs were perfect for my friend’s edgy stomach. The shell protects the egg from chilli. Will cannot handle any chilli at all, which is quite a disability in Indonesia where absolutely everything has chilli.

Road

Road

Today was a rather up and down affair, luckily cloudy most of the time. At lunch, the clouds got dark and the wind picked up. It felt like a downpour would come any minute, but the rain never came. Finally we left into the air, pregnant with expectation.

We came to rest in a palm oil plantation village, surrounded by kids everywhere. One family invited us for dinner, and we are sleeping at another family.

Kids

Kids


Sulawesi has become flatter, and the beaches a bit less spectacular. We never really got started today. A flat tyre, a long lunch, and Will feeling sick saw us not passing 100km.

The fair is closed

The fair is closed

We’re staying at the local headmaster’s house in a little village on the coast. Will has taken antibiotics, and we will see how he is feeling tomorrow.


We had two choices – return to the main road or continue around the headland before returning to the main road. Both were a similar distance. Our route (around the headland) may (!) have been a bit steeper. Sulawesi was welcoming me back from sickness with the best it could give – about a kilometre of 20% grade in the blistering heat. Sulawesi.

View of coral

View of coral

We all pushed – Will and I with long breathing breaks between each successive 20 metres.
Will ended with a bit of heat stroke and sat, exhausted in front of the fan in the restaurant as Clement and I ate something. It’s flatter from now on, we’re told. Maybe we can return to 100km per day.. ☺

After a swim and clean in the river, being escorted to a restaurant for dinner, and then waiting an hour for a village head to give his blessing, we are staying in an abandoned house in a small village.

Evening swim

Evening swim


‘Can we check-out at 2 rather than 12?’
‘No.’
‘Can you fill these bottles with water?’
‘No.’
I knew it was time to drag my ailing body out of bed and recover properly at the beach 37km away. With 1.5 pears and half an ice drink whirling around in my queezy stomach Will and I hit the road to join Clement in paradise.

View from our hut

View from our hut

The road was flat, it was cloudy and not too hot, but I felt like death warmed up. Even the Infected Mushrooms blasting in my ears could not help. In the evening light I parked the bike and sank into the seat on the balcony of our abode for the next 2 nights, not wanting to stand or move as Clement told of the amazing sealife just metres away.


I didn’t recognize my body today. I woke up feeling weak, like I didn’t sleep well, wasn’t hungry – I only craved fruit. A few bottles of orange juice, together with some high power music saw me fill with energy, and Clement and I scooted along to Palu. In Palu the weariness returned, I found I have a temperature, and checked in to a hotel to recover.

The road to Palu

The road to Palu

My mind goes back to Laos where Mark got dengue fever. That really knocked him out for weeks. There have been dengue fever mosquitos around, and it’s impossible to avoid all bites. After an afternoon of sleep, I’m starting to feel better. Will is staying the night in Palu too, and hopefully we can join up again with Clement tomorrow.

P.S. It is not malaria. It is not dengue fever. It is not a host of other tropical diseases. I don’t know what it was. After a few days in Palu I’m on the road to recovery. I got an interesting look into the Indonesian health service. Professional and efficient.

Palu hospital

Palu hospital