Cilacap to Pangandaran 90km
Education never stops. I know I'm learning stuff every day from sitting on my lovely Brooks saddle, while Fiona whizzes me across Java. Indonesian kids seem to spent a long time learning as well. School starts at 7am. Then depending on the day goes until 11 am, or 1pm or 3pm. That includes Saturday. Then lots of them stay after hours for extra lessons. So some don't finish until 5pm or 6pm, and then go home and do their homework...... I kid you not.
There seem to be all sorts of different schools. Even some very small villages I've passed through have had two or three schools. Most kids go to preschool at 4 or 5 years, then Elementary, Junior High and Senior High School, and then University, so pretty similar to NZ. Some schools are co-ed but there are also single sex schools, and Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and state schools. What they all have in common is not many resources, and immaculate uniform standards, even the pre school kids. Don't know how the mums, and I'm sure its mums, get the uniforms looking so clean and tidy, because most do not have washing machines like in NZ. PE just seems to be running and fitness to music, Iike Jazzacise. Most have no playing fields, no gym, and no sports gear., but all wear a snazzy PE kit.
At break time, lots of the kids pour out of the school gates, and buy snacks, from street stalls that are specially set up for the kids. These vendors, turn up on there bikes or scooters, and start cooking hot treats, like meatballs, deep fried bananas, and vegetable paddies. They sell for about 10 cents each, and the kids pour heaps of tomato or Chilli sauce on them, and go back into school happy. Some also buy drinks, in small plastic bags, with straws sticking out the top.
When school comes out, the streets explode with kids on bikes and scooters. Even though the law says 17 years old, to ride a scooter, some look to be as young as 10 or 11 years old, and hardly any wear helmets, scooter or bicycle, because it isn't cool..... Sound familiar?
So what am I learning in my "school". Today I learnt that Friday in Muslim countries, is almost like our Sunday. Around 11 am is a call to prayer. Lots of business's close up, and men can be seen heading towards the Mosques, dressed in traditional costumes. They pray for at least two hours. I also learnt, that the call to prayer is normally in Arabic, so many locals speak Javanese, Indonesia, and understand some Arabic. No wonder so many don't bother with English...but so much of the advertising is in English.....because that's "hip".
I also learnt that I'm not the only Cycle Tourist braving the Indonesian traffic. Today I met my first in Indonesia, three Indonesian guys seeing some of their own country. Great talking to them. They're on the road for between 7 and 10 days. I've been on the road 110 days. It's gone really quick...
I learnt that pigeon racing is really big here in Java. They have elaborate finish lines, see the photo with colourful posts. I watched some guys training their pigeons to fly through the posts and into their owners arms. Each trial was from a little further away. I suppose any that don't train up quick enough get converted to Ayam Goreng (chicken stew).
I'm now in Pangandaran. It's a beach resort, and I'm pretty sure it was pretty beaten up by the Tsunami a few years ago. Peak season is over so it's pretty quiet, but there are still hundreds of food, souvenir, and t shirt stalls. Also very familiar four person bikes, as in Hanmer, except these have sound systems, and fairy lights for after dark. An idea for Ross C. Tandems, with up to five riders. Would be great fun on the single tracks Ross...or you could limit them to the streets...... Then there are the huge blown up pillows that get dragged at huge speeds across the waves by boats with huge outboards, with punters hanging on for dear life. The staff don't have to wear life jackets, because they're only there to keep the pillow stable and hopefully upright......Perhaps up and down the Waiau Gorge below Thrillseekers......
Anyway, the whole resort looks a little run down, and even though there are a smattering of Europeans, not very busy. Apparently, bus loads of both European and Indonesians, come from Jakarta. They do an overnight, 8 hour, bus ride, spend the day here, then a return overnight ride home....saves accommodation costs.
There's also a National Park here, but they wanted me to pay 250,000R to enter, so I decided I'd try to get some pictures of the monkeys as they stole stuff from the food stalls. Pretty funny, but they're too fast or my camera.
So Fiona and I have had a restful day, just 10km around the village. Might head along the coast tomorrow, West, towards Jakarta. I know how to ask about camping now, thanks Anton. Might see if that works. Hati Hati (be safe). What's the ABs score please?