November 06, 2002 GMT
Indonesia - 2

Jakarta (19-10-2002) till Denpasar (06-11-2002)

The flight back to Indonesia went smoothly again and back in Jakarta we took a taxi straight to Gambir railway station to take the first train out of this city. The train ride was much more pleasant except for an hour before arrival in Bandung the electricity in the train failed. Not only was it pitch-dark in the tunnels but there was also no air co anymore so we opened the windows and doors. This helped a bit but before arrival in Bandung they told us we could 50% of our ticket price back in Bandung. And indeed we got some money back upon showing the tickets without any problems. That was a kind of service unheard of for us as the Dutch railways not even apologizes when there are delays. We took a taxi to our hotel where we were delighted to see our motorbikes back in a perfect shape.

Route through Indonesia; 19-10-2002 / 06-11-2002
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Route through Indonesia; 19-10-2002 / 06-11-2002

Being separated for 5 weeks from your bike is not easy for an overlander and we rewarded the bikes by treating them with new parts and accessories. Martin needed 2 days to fit all the parts on the bikes and then he discovered that both batteries were completely flat despite being disconnected. We tried to find a car with cables to start our bikes as pushing didn't help. No one had the cables so I went out to buy them together with a security guide from the hotel. We started both bikes and left them running to charge the batteries. We were busy working on my bike when, after half an hour, we heard some sizzling on Martins bike and discovered that his engine-oil was boiling and the exhaust pipes at the cylinders were glowing red of the heat. We stopped the engine immediately and left the bike cooling down for the night. The next morning we checked Martins bike but all the seals were still in tact. The only thing was that the oil-level reading glass had partly melted but fortunately we had one with us and replacing it was a piece of cake. We topped up the oil-level and went for a test ride to a volcano just outside Bandung. The volcano was not accessible anymore (too late already) but the test ride was a success and we were finally able to leave the next day.

We drove east and leaving Bandung was the hardest bit. Our next goal was Pangandaran where Martin had been 7 years ago. We left the main road as soon as we could and were trying to find our way along hardly marked secondary roads. This wasn't always successful and therefore we didn't manage to arrive in Pangandaran before dark. When it started to get dark we asked in a little village at a police post where we could spend the night but there was no accommodation at all so we had to continue to Pangandaran. We didn't like to drive in the dark but we had simply no choice and although it was only 40 kms. away it would take us another 2 hours before we arrived here as the roads were extremely bad, but, luckily there was hardly any traffic on the road. We checked in at the first 'decent' hotel we saw. We only ate somewhere along the road before we went to bed directly afterwards.

The next day we walked around through Pangandaran and enjoyed the local people fishing from the shore. As the nets are set out on sea by boat rows of locals are pulling the nets back to the beach and they hope to find among all the rubbish and the jellyfish some fish in the nets.

Fishing is a teamwork
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Fishing is a teamwork

We walked further down the peninsula into a National Park. Except for monkeys we saw deers. First we were excited to see one but soon we saw a lot of them in the bush and as long as we moved slowly they were not afraid at all. Needles to say that we had an excellent day.

This all changed the next day. After breakfast we packed our motorbikes when we found out that Martins battery was flat again. So we removed all the luggage of his bike but we now had fortunately our own cables and a neighbor was helpful so Martins bike was running again in no-time. But the seat was locking wrongly and to remove the seat again he needed the ignition key so he had to stop the engine. We removed the seat connected the cables again and voila... the engine ran again. Now Martin carefully installed the seat, successfully now. But his guardian angel had left my lover boy that day and now his clutch cable broke. So he stopped the engine for the second time now. He was getting very frustrated but managed to replace the cable. So for the third time the cables were connected and the bike started. This time everything went smoothly and finally we were able to leave. Some days everything goes wrong and this was such an example as we had bad luck the whole day. Just before dark we arrived in Wonosobo and we were completely exhausted. When we arrived in Solo the next day Martin discovered that his rear wheel bearing was about to break again. This didn't came as a total surprise but it was another thing failing on his bike. In a local motorbike shop we spend the whole day to replace the bearing we had with us so we could continue the next day. We were getting in a hurry as the situation worsened as we heard there were riots in Solo because of the capture of an Islamic leader who was transferred to Jakarta. We saw the Borubudur temple and the Bromo volcano only while driving by. We were relieved to finally arrive on the ferry to Bali. We had enough of the horrendous traffic on Java which was absolutely no fun to drive into. Bali was a little bit better but we had enough of all the Asian countries in which we were in for over a year now.

Despite the explosion in Kuta we decided to go there as it was impossible to get somewhere else before dark. Another reason was that Kuta was very close to the airport, somewhere we had to go a couple of times to the next days. Kuta was absolutely deserted and the tourist industry was complaining about the lack of tourists but the general idea was that they would be back during the coming Christmas holidays something we really doubted. The next day we had problems to book a ticket to Auckland as they only wanted to sell us return flights. So finally we ended up at the Garuda Indonesia office where we were told the same but finally Martin made reservations for just a one-way flight.

Now we had to arrange the shipping of the bikes. Sending by sea was no real option as the bikes would travel to Surabaya, Singapore, Sydney or so before reaching Auckland and this would take probably around 2 months. Garuda Indonesia was willing to fly our bikes for a whopping USD 9.18 /kg!!! This was their nominal rate and according the IATA-cargo manual they had to charge us USD 4.28 /kg (for over 100 kgs) which was still a lot of money but they refused this by saying that because the motorbikes were 'Dangerous Goods' they always charged us the nominal rate. Shipping agents had cheaper rates but when we asked for some quotations they ended up around USD 10 - 11 /kg. So next we tried Qantas. These people were really friendly and helpful but they were not allowed to accept any cargo from Indonesia anymore since the bombing. At Singapore Airlines they were very unfriendly to us and when they heard we wanted to send motorbikes they told us they didn't accept any 'Dangerous Goods' at all. So the only thing we had was the expensive Garuda. We returned to the friendly people of Qantas and explained them our problem. According to them Garuda had to charge us USD 4.28 /kg also for 'Dangerous Goods' and after one phone call from Qantas to Garuda Cargo everything was settled and we had our USD 4.28 /kg.

We now had to arrange some crates for the bikes and Joseph, a Croatian salesman, knew a good shipping agent as he was busy here for 20 years and still hadn't found a reliable agent. We agreed about the crates and gave them the (rough) dimensions of the crates. Now we had to clean the bikes thoroughly as we were warned for the notorious quarantine inspections in New Zealand. With help of the local people of the hotel I started cleaning Martins bike as Martin was out on my bike to buy our tickets. Cleaning his bike was a hard job as it was extremely dirty. When he returned the people of the hotel advised us to have it professionally cleaned and they showed Martin where to go to. When he returned the bike was so clean that we decided to have Martins bike cleaned there as well. Cleaning this way was really quick and very cheap as well. Afterwards we did the last spots and both our bikes looked like new.

But while Martin was returning to the hotel with his clean bike the engine stalled suddenly and with a flat battery and no kick starter he wasn't able to start his bike again so he had to push the bike back to the hotel for about a kilometer. We arranged the agent to pick up Martins bike the next morning but they didn't show up at all so Martin traveled to their office on my bike and returned with a pickup. While we pushed the bike on the pickup the pickup started to roll away when the bike was halfway on the planks as they had forgotten to pull the handbrake.

A sad moment
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A sad moment

But fortunately the plank with the bike was sliding with the pickup as well so there was no harm and soon the bike was strapped up on the pickup. When we arrived at their office there was a lot of talking going on and finally we managed to find out that they hadn't arrange a single thing. So after another couple of hours Martin decided to bring the bikes directly to the workshop and explain the carpenters what they had to do. These boys were really nice and this move worked out perfectly and finally after a long and hard day both bikes were in crates.

Ready for shipping
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Ready for shipping

We did it our way
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We did it our way

As there wasn't a safe storing place around we decided to bring the crates to the airport directly but there was no forklift (although promised) available. But Martin arranged 6 boys and they lifted up one end of the crate so the pickup could drive underneath it and then lift up the other half. Another pickup was arranged and soon we were on our way to the airport. Here they had a forklift to unload the crates and the weighing of the crates had an unpleasant surprise as the crates were heavier as expected. They wanted us to pay directly but we said we would return the next morning.

So we did and nevertheless it took us most of the day as well before all the paperwork was finished. Finally we had to pay and we could pay cash only and as we didn't had enough US Dollars we had used the local ATM's for the last couple of days and collected a lot of local banknotes. After we paid our bill we received the Airway bill and then we had to pay an additional storage and handling fee. We refused to pay this as it was not mentioned in our 'all-in' quotation and after a long argument they finally gave in. So finally we were able to leave the cargo terminal and leave the country together with the bikes.

The last surprise the Indonesian had for us however was when we checked in at the airport the next day. The cargo manager was there to meet us but he was only reassuring us that everything was fine and the bikes were already on the plane. But when we checked in they demanded us to show a ticket out of New Zealand as they were getting a severe penalty if we hadn't one. We said we would leave New Zealand by ship to Australia but this didn't help so in the end we had to buy to refundable tickets at the Qantas counter before we were able to check in.

The flight had a stopover in Brisbane where we had to leave the airplane together with our hand luggage. There was a new security check and now I had some problems. They discovered 2 tool knifes on the X-ray machine and they had to confiscate them. I was not accepting this and I made a huge problem. Finally the 'security-boss' was called in and it ended up that they gave my tool knife to the Garuda crew so I could have it back in Auckland. They didn't ask for the other tool knife anymore. OK, maybe it was my fault to carry the tool knifes in my hand luggage but we always do and hadn't thought about them anymore. Also Martin had them in his tankbag as well and they didn't make any problem about his at all. It prepared us already for our future trip to Australia and in Auckland I got my tool knife back without any problems so we were ready to start our next leg of our trip, back in a civilized country now.

Posted by Martin Rooiman at November 06, 2002 03:05 AM GMT

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