Posts Tagged ‘Sungai Ladong’


‘My name is Angela. These are my three sisters Angie, Angelina and Angel. We sat on the floor of the family’s homely tin dwelling on the swampy plains as the mosquitos circled and the shiny rhinosceros beetle watched on from his perch on my pink pannier.

Our lovely friends

Our lovely friends

What an amazing, beautiful day. I laughed in joy as we cycled in the beautiful, yellow evening light, surrounded by the green of banana palms, dense foliage and beautiful tropical trees, some solitary and thin reaching up into the heavens. The sky was imposing and huge above us – a spectacular array of clouds fading through pink to grey and black as the sun slid below the Borneo horizon. Birds darted above – small black ones, and elegent long-necked white ones, flying up from their perches atop of cows on the side of the road. We were rescued from squatting on the verandah of an empty tin shed in the almost deserted marshy landscape by a car of smiles that had chased us down the road to invite us into their home. We followed them through the river delta plains as the last light faded and we arrived at their house.

Sunset

Sunset

‘What are these bird houses about?’ I asked. Dotted through the landscape are houses – 10 metres high surrounded by an orchestra of bird sounds. Birds dart in and out in a frenzy of activity in these man-made buildings. We are told they are for harvesting the nests constructed of the delicacy – bird saliva. The saliva is separated from the sticks and other building materials of the nest to make a white jelly which the Chinese use in drinks and soups. Costing several thousand ringgit per kilo, this is an expensive delicacy indeed.

We had a wonderful meal, and then gave gifts of personal post-cards – photos we printed of our travels. The Angel sisters and the family each chose a photo as we ‘brought the world to their home.’ It was a wonderful sharing experience.

The whole day was amazing – cycling on a flat, small road through the low-lying lands, crossing chocolate coloured meandering rivers on small car ferries. Monkeys jumped from tree to tree on the side of the road, and from our safe perch on a bridge, we watched a crocodile swim to the side of the river.

Beware of crocodiles

Beware of crocodiles

The river crossing

The river crossing

On the ferry

On the ferry

Through the banana trees

Through the banana trees

The beautiful sky

The beautiful sky

Evening cycling

Evening cycling


This is how it’s done. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed like I was in Sumatra, Will watched as we pulled up to a little village amid the banana trees and found a place to sleep. We spent the evening watching the locals playing baminton before having the hall to ourselves – except for the giant bugs buzzing into walls and the lights.
‘I don’t mind sleeping in bird shit,’ said Will as we decided on a place to set up the mosquito net. Nice one!

The road

The road

Thank-you my friends in Kuching. Thank-you Jammie for inviting us to stay in your place and spending time with us. A huge thanks to Akmal to come all the way from Kuala Lumpur for some special parts bike maintenance. And thank-you to the bike team in Kuching for putting the final touches on my new carbon drive set-up.
Kuching was also our place for getting a second 60-day Indonesian visa.
Finally, Kuching was reuniting with Will – an irregular Irishman I cycled with in Tajikistan. It’s been 17000km since we last cycled together. Back then we were together with Mark and Kim. This time we are a team of three – Clement, Will and me.

Our warm showers host Jammie

Our warm showers host Jammie

Akmal performing magic

Akmal performing magic

The bike team in Kuching

The bike team in Kuching

The new cycling team - Will, Clement and me

The new cycling team – Will, Clement and me