Jakarta to Serang 92km
Warm Showers is a network of people who offer to host long distance cyclists. They offer a shower, somewhere to sleep, and sometimes even a meal. They give so much more. I used Warm Showers three times in Australia, and twice in Java, and every time have been spoilt rotten. Perhaps it's because most of the hosts, are also long distance cyclists, and understand exactly what we are looking forward to at the end of the day. Certainly, it is a network, of amazing, understanding, generous people.
Not advertised as a benefit, but certainly a huge part of Warm Showers, is being able to make contact with locals, in their homes, seeing how they live, sharing their life for an evening or two. You can't get that staying in a five star hotel. The Host becomes the "go to guy". They can answer all the questions....which route is best?......where is the nearest bike repair shop?....can you please translate?.......what is this food?.......what do those signs mean?.......can you explain...politics, religion, marriage rules, government, land ownership, history, customs, traditions, favourite sports, .........where is a money exchange?......how is best to get to the airport?......
Then they go overboard. One couple in Aussie loaned us their car so as we could take Fiona to be repaired. Both my Java hosts have guided me out of the city. Ricky picked me up from the airport on his scooter, and gave me an incredible experience. Anton introduced me to Ryan, which resulted in a school visit. The list goes on and on. An amazing network of incredible people.
But there are always some who work the system. I heard of one guy who stayed in Adelaide for a month, bouncing around all the hosts. And another who stayed for over a week at a time, ate everything in the house, and did not help with dishes and stuff. Not a good trend.
Last night, having stayed four nights in total, I offered to buy dinner. Now that isn't really the way Indonesians are comfortable working. They are hosts, and provide everything. Solved the problem. I bought the Sate Chicken. They provided the rest. I snuck in some Icecream and Kiwi Fruit, which I got told off for, but the girls loved.....
So headed out of Jakarta. It's a Sunday, so Ricky was keen to ride with me. Less traffic, and some of the towns have "car free" zones. People cycle, walk, picnic, play sport on the normally crowded streets. Worked well for me. Ricky came 25km, which involved some back lane stuff, which was really nice, then headed back to the city, for his nephews birthday.
I'm left alone again, in a strange town, with all the choices up to me...... I head for the back roads. For 30km today, I rode on roads that don't even register on my maps...... At one stage, a main road deteriorated into a narrow lane passing through a very busy market. I don't know where all the other traffic went, just Fiona and I and a few persistent scooters, squeezing through the crowds, with Hello Mister ringing in my ears from all directions.... He he he.....This is adventure travel..
This religious festival weekend, involves the devout going to their home village. It also involves the donation of meat to the poor. In ever village there are goats, sheep and cattle tethered on vacant lots, or next to the road. These are the "donations". They will be slaughtered, and distributed at the end of the festival. I know that in western society we eat meat, but the slaughter is done out of sight, therefore out of mind. I wasn't feeling too comfortable riding past, thinking that all these animals would be stew on Monday.....
Another of my Ortlieb Panniers sprung some screws today, despite my having checked that everything was tight only last week. A design fault Mr Ortlieb......or have I not fitted them to the bike properly? ? ? Sourced some different bolts, and have replaced everything that looked in any way dodgy. We shall see. And I've got spares. Also gave Fiona a spruce up. We are heading to another land in the next couple of days. A new island, a slightly new culture.
Did anyone see that article about the devout Muslim in the NW of Sumatra, Aceh, that have just canned and stoned a woman to death for writing against Islam. They also insist on full cover for all women, and women can not sit astride a scooter. They must ride side saddle. All legal. All accepted and practised. Hmmm. I'm not heading that far up the island.
Thanks to Mr Glen Daniels for the updates on the ABs match this morning. Glen, who lives in the Maldives, was watching the Argentina ABs match in Venice Italy, and relayed the scores to me in Jakarta Indonesia. The match was in Argentina. The world has suddenly got really small...that is of course, if you're not cycling around it.