The road to

Bogor Travel Blog

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Rice terraces of java

"The president rode it himself and he say's it's good!"

"It has a 50 Km uphill which you can't do"

"It's all Jungle"

"The road is brand new all the way"

"The bit that looks difficult on the map is not difficult anymore"

And mostly "There's NOTHING out there"

That was our info for the day ahead.

We rode of from Santolo beach on the south coast, around 7 am, in order to have a good bit of our day done before the midday heat would start. The day before we'd allowed for a later start and then found ourselves climbing  rediculous steep hills in midday heat. Today the same thing happened inspite of an early start: our midday climb took us 5-6 km inland. As we thought we had reached the top we spotted a road running over the next, very much higher, ridge.

Darenb with a bunch of student nurses :)
Could it be ours?

"It looks a bit small" Daren said. "...and a bit brown" I added ". But "The difficult bit on the map is not difficilt anymore!" our indonesian friend had said that morning...

Well, it was a complete offroad track, it was our mountain and indeed it was very difficult. If the president himself thaught that this was a great road it surely is no surprise that the country is a tad messy! But as said before, it all seems to work because of the people and today was no different as, nicely enough, a man insisted to push the back of my bike as I had to give up about 20 meters from the top. The only other times i have pushed have been in rage over winds and stuff (Twice). I was not angry now but, as a couple of times before on Java, it was simply to step and after a rest i found i couldn't get back on my bike without loosing balance...

Although steep, it was a short pass. We only climbed about 7 km. Not 50! So far most of our carefully gathered advice had been wrong. "Its all jungle" was wrong to, as it was actually fairly deforrested a lot of the way. Deforestation is -as politically incorrect as it may be- very pleasant to ride in as it allows us to see our direction.  This was nice because most of the day we had no idea where, on our map, we were as unexpected villages turned up out of the blue and the ones that should be there failed to do so. Also we mostly forgot were we were going as the name of the palce was about 10 syllables long. But for shure, we were not headed into nothing:

The bridges that took us over wide rivers were very new and i don't think people were used to tourists at all. The villages were poor and often built in traditional straw style and lunch was to be in the tiny restaurent of a huge family. The floor was just earth, no windows but lots of large openings made up the two room house. No toilet and no electricity. Liturally a shelter. Lunch was good though. The fields around us were, as usually, mostly worked by hand, there were a few sawmills in the area, lots of goats being herded and big clumsy water buffalos lying about in the mud. But it was a buisy, friendly and thriving place, not nothing.

The amount of times on this trip we are told by drivers "there's nothing there" is incredible. I suspect it may show that the car creates a barrier between the surroundings and the individual. The small villages and foodstores become nothing as there as always a city or a hotel within reach. For us these places are everything; A rest in the shade, soft drinks, food, water, people talking to us, places to sleep etc etc. So perhaps the "There's nothing out there" is a reflection of how much people take in on their journey or maybe it's just a justification for never going anyway.... Nevermind. We found there was lots. But we also found that all the informationwe had been given on  our road had been wrong. This made the next, more remote bit of the "There's nothing out there"-strech rather interesting...


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Rice terraces of java
Rice terraces of java
Darenb with a bunch of student nur…
Darenb with a bunch of student nu…
photo by: cicie