Serang to Sukajaya 50km (plus 4 hrs ferry ride)
Only 30km to the ferry, but the traffic is intense. As is normal in Java, a dot on a map does not actually signify where a town starts and finishes, or how big that town might be. It seems as if I'm in a huge city, all the way to the ferry. Java apparently is the most densely populated island on the planet, and today, I completed cycling the complete length of the island, somewhere close to 2000km. I'm feeling pretty proud of that achievement.
I feel as if I've seen the real Java, not the Tourist's Java. I've seen thousands of smiles. I've heard thousands of cheerful Hello Misters. I've seen and mixed it, up close, with millions of scooters. I've seen some really badly maintained roads, and some new pristine sections as well. I've visited big cities, and lovely small fishing villages. I've experienced and seen the problems Java has with its rubbish disposal, and the effect on the landscape of the "new" agriculture (Palm Oil plantations). I've stayed with Indonesian's passionate and in love with their country, and been privileged enough to be able to discuss with these people, Indonesia. Thank you Java. You have educated, enthralled, challenged, amused and entertained me.
So I boarded the slow boat to Sumatra. Four hours. At one stage the cooling breeze stopped. Why? Because the ferry had stopped. For half an hour we sat.....and sat, going no where. Perhaps we were early? Making too fast a progress? No reason given. We just sat in the heat. This gave all the locals more time to come and quiz me... Where was I from? Where was I going? Was I alone? Where was my family? How old was I? Was I a Christian or Muslim? Can we take a photo? I'm so looking forward to Graham A arriving and sharing the attention. Then we arrived in Sumatra. Well not quite. The ferry captain took over 30 minutes to back into the ramp...I kid you not. Lucky I wasn't in a hurry, and the locals just accept it all as normal. Still can't complain. A ferry crossing of similar length to Cook Strait, Wellington to Picton, and for Fiona and I, it cost $2.50........
First impressions of Sumatra.....Its hot. And there are hills.....straight uphill out of the harbour, towards a hotel, that noone could tell me how far away it was. Also a lot less traffic, less people, fewer roadside stalls, further between villages, fewer scooters, but a lot more trucks loaded to the max with green bananas, heading for Java. But what do I know? I've only managed 20 ish kms, and then I was exhausted. Found a hotel, too expensive, but it's got a cold shower, AC, a restaurant, and water. I crash out. I'm in Sumatra.