March 11, 2007 GMT
Indonesia - Java

I made it from Sumatra to the Puncak Pass in one go and camped with some birdwatchers. What is the deal about bird-watching I asked, and their eyes got big and wet and they licked their lips and… well, certainly bird-watching turned them on. I don’t get it. On a personal note I’m more into bird-listning. Indeed there are many odd sounds around here. E.g. in Sumatra I received a lot of SMS’s – I thought – but it was a bird blaring exactly like a Nokia. Better yet, the second day in Java I was woken up by a rooster yelling the theme song from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Was it for me? I don’t know, but I felt kinda tough when I rode out of town on my iron horse.


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The only structure left on Pangandaran beach
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I arrived Pangandaran, a small beach town the size of Harstad, with a broken clutch cable and a blister on my butt. A few months ago the town was hit by a three meter wave traveling at a speed of 400 km/h and killing nearly a thousand of its people (the second tsunami which they did not write much about in the West). Despite the total obliteration of the seafront I was able to find accommodation a few minutes away, in the garden of an old hippie. Very nice guy! My plan was to finish a case with my studies, and the hippie offered to help. I said thanks but no thanks and explained that BI Nettstudier regard case-writing under the influence of LSD as cheating. Then the night came and I could not sleep because of a frog that sounded like a car that would not start. You know an engine turning in vain, then a two second pause before trying again. Now, imagine this going on for hours… I was praying that the frog would run out of battery. Of course it didn’t.
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Hmm, tough choice
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After a wonderful 400k day along the south coast I opted for a frog-free night in Pacitan, but the guy at the reception was high on something and it wasn’t something good. So I placed my bet on a wildcard; that the day would end wherever fate had in stock for me. I do that sometimes. This particular day the sun set as I drove into Panggul, and I was immediately – immediately as in less than a minute – highjacked by the local doctor. And that is how a two day drinking binge with karaoke, grilled lobsters and beach touring started (to mention a few things). Dr. Suhartono is a hot candidate for the most entertaining man alive. Panggul is yet to be discovered by tourism, but his pioneer friend Flo from Montana is about to change all that by erecting a fabulous guesthouse by the beach.
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Dr. Suhartono, his pioneer friend Flo, and their shy neighbor
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The rumor was that the usual road to Cemoro Lawang, Java’s number one village for volcano spotting, was closed due to a landslide. Hence in Malang I got a tip about a 4x4 trail from the west side of the mountain. After a 2000 meter climb on a bewildering network of narrow and slippery brick roads I found myself in the clouds. Thus I couldn’t see much, so when uphill turned to downhill I was happily unaware of what I was driving into. And bloody hell, the volcano was active too. The moon-like landscape and the ghastly smell of sulfur made me assume a thing or two about my situation, and the oh-shit-feeling didn’t lessen by the increasing wind that erased all evidences in the ash showing a way to a drivable exit.
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The moon
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While I searched for an escape some hefty weather hammered the mountain and - as I later would see for myself - ripped the roof tiles of several houses in Cemoro Lawang. Rain came in buckets, the basin became a pool of mud, and I was about to pitch my shelter on a rock using the bike as anchor when I spotted some vehicles at the edge of the crater. It was a crew of Japanese engineers giving a brand new Nissan the rough ride. They were pretty flabbergasted by the sight of a motorcyclist coming out of the volcano, and they invited me to their end-of-testdrive-party in Bali. Alright, let’s go.
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The new Nissan - soon available at Norbil AS

Posted by Erik Saue at 09:39 AM GMT
March 30, 2007 GMT
Indonesia - Nusa Tenggara

It takes one hour in Bali to realize that the average tourist is a sexually frustrated drug abuser in urgent need of a taxi. At least that is what the Kuta marketplace is all about. Here are the options: You can buy a venereal disease that will kill you slowly. Or you can be arrested for drug possession and get the unforgiving Indonesian death penalty (which will kill you faster). OR you can settle for a taxi ride, but the island is so small that you’ll likely die of backseat boredom before 5pm. Therefore - since the Balinese seem so eager to terminate their visitors - I decided to quickly move on to Nusa Tenggara, the island in the east and the ferry hell of Southeast Asia.

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The happy owner of this pile of junk welded from a Vespa took me for a grand tour around Bima. It was a nerve-racking but memorable experience.
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First ferry was to Lombok. The ticket master asked about the size of my bike. I said it was 600cc. Then he started to argue that it might be 500cc. I could only repeat myself, but so did he. Being annoyed with this seemingly unnecessary discussion I showed him the registration papers. He sighed, then - and not before then - explained that all bikes with more than 500cc had to pay triple ferry price, and now I had to pay because he knew for sure. Yeah, thanks a lot. Two hours drive and Lombok was history, and the ferry to Sumbawa was much cheaper because Balto was suddenly a 400cc. Then the hotel receptionist in Bima said there was no ferry to Flores going the next day, which was some bogus information to make me stay an extra night in their otherwise empty establishment. I didn’t, though the 8am departure was indeed delayed because the ferry was out of petrol (!). It took eight hours for a fuel truck to drive the 40 kilometers from Bima.
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Flores offers some stunning roadside views. Volcanoes are everywhere.
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The first person I met on Flores was a young man offering me a blowjob, something that would be a wonderful gesture of Flores hospitality if it was my cup of tea. Nonetheless being boringly heterosexual I quickly moved on because I was told by the tourist office in Ende that the final ferry to Timor would leave on Thursday. But in Ende there was no ferry, only more boys promoting Flores. Then I got a tip about a departure from Aimere sometime during the weekend, which meant that I had to drive back 150 kilometers. Being fed up with mixed messages I phoned the ferry captain in person to be sure. When talking to the man in charge it seemed needless to ask twice, but I’m glad I did.
“The ferry will leave on Saturday at 8pm,” he said.
“Are you absolutely 100% sure?”
“Yes, the ferry will leave precisely at 8pm in the morning.”
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The ferry left at 10am.
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It was 23 hours of terrified household animals screaming on the deck below. Rust painted water dribbled in because several windows were missing, and at sunrise I woke up by the rudder house rooster (yes, they had one), just to discover that we were behind schedule and someone had poed on my tankbag. But not to worry, Balto and I made it here to Kupang, and we celebrated by cooling down in a hotel with air-con, only to discover that our biggest ferry problem is yet to come. That is, there are no more. The only scheduled shipping route from here to Australia goes from Dili in East Timor (Perkins Ltd.). I had an appointment with them, but the East Timor border has closed due to recent riots and gun fights. The only option is to hitchhike from Kupang with a shrimp boat owned by an Ozzie named Bob, though his engine is kaput and new parts will not arrive before my visa runs out. How shall I get away from here?
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Posted by Erik Saue at 04:05 PM GMT
 
 

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