15,289 km so far.
I think the heat and the traffic and the sheer busyness of Southeast Asia are finally getting to us. It’s hard to get up in the mornings, hard to keep pushing ourselves forward, and hard to remember why we’re even doing this in the first place.
Stephen’s note: I think it boils down to neither of us wanting this to be over, and thinking that maybe if we don’t get out of bed and ride, if we never make it to Bali, it won’t have to end.
It doesn’t help that the last two days I’ve had questionable stomach pains. Minor food poisoning? Dehydration? Water-borne illness? When one of us is sick, the burden of everything – every decision, every transaction – is suddenly thrust upon the other partner’s shoulders. This is every bit as exhausting as being the sick one.
Piled on top is a mounting lack of sleep. Our hotel last night would have been fine if it wasn’t for the noisy group in the lobby, late at night and early in the morning, the practically next-door call to prayer in the wee hours, and the upstairs neighbours dragging heavy wooden furniture across the marble floors with a deafening screeeeeech.
My earplugs were no match for any of this.
Stephen’s note: Don’t forget the mosquitos.
It was a sleepy and disheartened duo who left the hotel this morning.
Thank god for the huge mercy of a quiet country road which would take us the entire 75 km today.
Grasshoppers and the Ants
Ramadan is just a little more than a week away, and in preparation, harvest season is in full swing.
The fields are swarmed with people working just like ants to get the rice harvested, threshed, dried, and bagged before it withers in the heat, and before they are unable to eat or drink during the daylight hours.
This industry provided us with gorgeous views and interesting things to look at as we slowly (even more slowly than usual) headed towards the next town.
Watching everyone working working working the day away, laying by stores of food for the long days to come, I start to feel like the grasshopper in the fable, playing and enjoying the sunshine, only to find myself ill-prepared for the winter. Luckily, unlike the grasshopper, I still have some stores of greenbacks laid aside to spend when the heady days of summer end.
I will never get tired of the enthusiastic shouts and waves we get along the roadside.
This is what they say in Indonesia, with a championship ‘r’ roll tacked on the end, which follows us on the air as we keep pedalling down the highway.
I will also never get tired of the astonished looks on people’s faces as they see us pass by. There are three main facial expressions we see over and over again:
- What ARE you?
- You guys are my heroes!
It’s always fun to smile and wave in response to any of these, and see if we can get a smile to light up the faces of the people we pass. We almost always can.
Another Night, Another Town
This must be how it feels to be a travelling salesman. Our interest level in each little town we bunk down in for the night is waning the longer our trip goes on. We feel like we’ve seen it all by now, and the novelty of rocking up to some forgotten grimy hotel in an equally forgotten town has worn off.
Tonight we had exactly one hotel to choose from on the beautifully named road, the Mojokerto By Pass. Hotel Sekur has seen better days, and is in need of new housecleaning staff, but for tonight, it is home.
It is time to set our sights for whatever’s next, whatever comes after this adventure. Still, even though I know the end is near, I wouldn’t call it all off tomorrow. Because, you see, there’s a volcano I’m longing to see…
Soundtrack: Snoop Lion, Reincarnated | Wilco, A Ghost Is Born | This American Life podcast | Neil Finn, Dizzy Heights ♥
Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS.