Jagyakarta to Karanganya 120km
I found it. Rural Java. You've just got to go 40km SW of Jagyakarta and turn left. After so long being in traffic, loads of it, and cities, towns and villages, 100s of kms of them, suddenly there's agriculture happening everywhere, empty roads with very little traffic.
Anton decided he wanted to guide me out of the city, so he joined me for 30km. He loaded his bike up for practise, and we weaved our way through rush hour, 7am, traffic. Once we were out of the city, we stopped for some breakfast ...Lotek for me.....Yum yum. At the city boundary, Anton said goodbye. There had been a few of them, Good byes, last night and this morning. I've really enjoyed staying in one place for a few days, and meeting some locals. My "local" food stalls and chef's, left behind. Thank you Anton for making it all possible. You are an amazing host, passionate about cycling and everything Indonesian. I will count my time with you, your friends, and neighbour's as one of my Java highlights.
Yesterday we had visited Rians school, and I had spoken to his class. Then we visited his home, and met his parents. Rians father is a climbing instructor, highly regarded in Indonesia, and is keen for Rian to continue competitive climbing. If Rian does well in competitions, he gains points towards a scholarship for an elite school. Although Rian is not enthused about Moths and Science, he is passionate about climbing and cycling. He has worked hard to save money, and has just purchased a new bike frame, hiviz green. Now he is saving to buy parts. While we were at his place, he was brushing HCl on a second hand chain ring, to get the rust off. How many NZ kids would bother to do that?
I picked up my dry laundry, 70 cents, and spent some time on the internet trying to buy flights to Singapore, so as I can extend my visa. Almost got it done.... and there was a power cut. Still, managed to chat to the lovely Juliet, so that was a huge plus, and get a couple of blogs online. Hey folk, would really appreciate it if your could "share" the blogs. Makes sponsors happy if the readership grows, and helps spread the message about Prostate Cancer Awareness and CanTeen. I'm also getting feedback that following my adventures is inspiring some to get out there and try stuff. That's fantastic. So please help, and "like" and "share".
So here I am, alone again, and keen on an adventure. At the first chance, I turn off the main drag. And hit Rural Java. Wow. After a while, I cross a river, and can smell the sea. Looking left, I can see surf, huge dumping waves, less than a km away. The urge to touch the South Java Sea takes over. Just over the bridge, I spot a sandy, single track, heading towards the sea....you've got to really. It was fun, but then I remembered that Fiona doesn't really like this type of terrain when she's wearing slicks, and just as I was trying to get my feet out if the cleats, she threw me, face first into the sand. Sorry Fiona. I forgot. I continue carefully, unclipped, and have to jump off a couple of times when the tyres submerge in sand.
Eventually, we reach a sandy road that runs parallel to the beach, between scruffy buildings, and huge ponds. I meet a bunch of characters who are keen to show me their beards, which are almost non existent. They are harvesting shrimp from the ponds. They tell me that the road gets worse, and I should return the way I came. I do so, and find a track between ponds on to the beach...and get to touch the South Java Sea.
Fiona negotiates the sandy track back to the road, through coconut and pawpaw trees. We find a pawpaw stall, and for 50 cents get a rather big pawpaw. The lady wants to give me two for 50 cents, but where am I going to put two pawpaw on a bike. A little bit down the road, I find a shady spot and feast. Yum yum. I can only eat half of it.
This road is fun. Lots to see, and less traffic to have to worry about. The Tourist buses seem to be using this route, and going too fast. A couple of times I'm shoved off the road. The road conditions are deteriorating as well. I'm starting to feel as if I've done enough kms for the day, 80km, so I stop. I'll have a break, have something to eat, and ask about a hotel, or somewhere to camp. Bother. I've lost my paw paw, probably when the bus forced me off the road. Oh well, that young lady is selling fresh coconut. 50 cents gets me a whole coconut, cut open, with ice and brown sugar added ...another yummy feast.
Apparently there's no hotels along this road, and I had no luck getting anyone to understand "camping spot". I would normally wild camp somewhere, but have repeatedly been warned that it is dangerous, so tried a couple of schools...no joy getting them to understand, a medical facility, the nurses were lovely, as are all nurses, but no luck there either, and a mosque, but apparently you have to be a believer to be understood and be offered stuff. I believe.... Finally, I stopped at a bike shop. The owner got his 12 year old daughter and a couple of her girlfriends out to translate. There is a Hotel 10km away, back on the main road. Oh well. I tried.
The main road is BUSY. Lots of trucks. The first hotel is "fill". This often happens, as the staff find it too difficult to deal in English. The second has a room, a little rough, but for $10, I'm happy. It has a "shower", "toilet", TV, and AC. The owner, an old dear, brings me my welcome drink. She didn't realize I was foreign, as she didn't check me in. She is horrified that I've been put in room 51. She insists I am upgraded....at no extra cost. I get an extra welcome drink, and a free breakfast as well.
I wander down the street checking out the street food. I see something new. A new friend insists I should try it. A ball of pizza like pastry is flattened out. A mixture of egg and vegetables is wrapped in it, and it is deep fried. Comes out as a square, and then is cut in small squares, put in a box, with extra chillis and onions as a side, and all for $1.50, and it's pretty dashed yummy. I follow it up with an icecream, and I'm done for the day.
Looking forward to finding a way back on to the secondary road again in the morning, and more adventures.