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Old 11-24-2011, 08:35 AM   #46
Reefdog
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hey Big Fella

loving this RR,
Do you have a gps with you and is there any chance you can give us your track logs so we can follow you on google earth,,,,that might have to be a attachment and may not be able to do on the forum page

sent you a pm

reef
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Old 11-24-2011, 01:09 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by overlandr View Post
Really interesting RR, many thanks for taking to the time to post so much detail of this part of the world. I like your writing style. Can you give us an idea of your overall trip route? Just curious why you chose a large bike like the 950 for mostly SE Asia trip where bikes are much smaller. Guess it was just 'your bike'?!
There's not much of an overall trip route plan..... partly because of the rather quick decision to stitch two separate trips together. I was going to Cape York, as happened. I'd also only just booked a ticket to/from Bangkok for mid January to mid March - and the plan was to hook into a commercial trip on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Then we toyed with the idea of stitching the two together "why don't we ride our own bikes to Laos?" came up about the start of July.... and we said "sounds like a plan"

As for bike choice.... I rode a 110cc China Honda (ie a clone - a Zinda) in Vietnam last year. I bought it in Ho Chi Minh City for $400 and flogged it to death, literally, revived it and some 3,000 - 3,500 km later - no speedo by the end - gave it to an expat Aussie who trains streetkids to be mechanics in Hanoi. I grew to love and hate that little bike. It stuffed me around ergonomically.... I'm 6' 6" in my boots and when I started out, 120kg.... and that meant my knees were up near my ears on the bike, and when I rolled the throttle off, the guard would rub the front tyre - which actually provided more braking than the front brake.

When I got back from that trip, I bought an F650 Funduro off a mate... and it turned out to be another ergonomic disaster for me on a trip up to Murwillumbah and back one weekend. I ached for weeks afterwards because it just wasn't big enough in the frame for me. That set me off looking for a HP2 Enduro or the Super Enduro... and the KTM came along first.

I also did the Scrapheap Adventure ride to Cameron Corner at Easter with my eldest son - with me on a Honda 250 and I blew it up on the Barrier Highway.... it just couldn't handle any open road speed. Yeah, OK, it just couldn't handle a miserable 15 minutes at full throttle chasing my son on the MZ250 - but full throttle wasn't that far north of 100kmh.

I toyed with the idea of picking up a 690 or similar for this trip... but there really wasn't time to set it up. I've thought a few times that it would be the better bike... but so far I'm fine with the 950. I suffered a bit on the Cape because I still need to get the bars higher. I've got the highest HDB setup on, and was going to add ROX risers... and tried to do so up north, but the clutch line needs lengthening - so they got sent home.

So - overall route......

Sydney - Cairns - the Tip (Cape York) - Cairns - Darwin - Dili / around and about in Timor-Leste - Kupang via the south coast - Rote - Flores (Larantuka to Labuan Bajo - Komodo/Rinca - Sumbawa - Lombok (and Gili Trawangan) - Bali - Java - Sumatra (maybe) - Malaysia (and maybe Singapore) - Thailand - Cambodia - Laos and maybe Vietnam.

The trip has at least one break in it. My wife is having a hip replacement in early December and apparently it wouldn't be good form if I wasn't there to make her a cup of tea occasionally. I may have to sneak back for a couple of major presentations for some client projects too - but that will only take a week or so.

Weather wise... we already blew that a bit with the delays associated with Andras bike problems. His DR gave him trouble when he was coming through central Oz to meet me in Darwin... which meant I missed the first boat, then it arrived in Darwin on a truck and he missed the next one and I had to wait around another 10 days or so in Timor-Leste. That was all OK, but it meant we got wet in Indonesia, rather than scooting through into mainland Asia before the rains. Then again.... Thailand has been flooded, so hey.... that's life.
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Old 11-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefdog View Post
hey Big Fella

loving this RR,
Do you have a gps with you and is there any chance you can give us your track logs so we can follow you on google earth,,,,that might have to be a attachment and may not be able to do on the forum page

sent you a pm

reef
My brand new Garmin Montana lasted precisely a day and a half on Cape York. They've just given me a brand new one to replace it (after giving my wife the runaround for a while)

I've had the SPOT tracker on for the whole trip - but I hadn't set up the Spot Adventure page to keep the data... it just rolled off after a week. Slack eh?

I do have an interesting track log for part of Flores that I'll post after a couple more updates. Nothing but corners. Lots and lots of corners.
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:23 PM   #49
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bf, awesome RR, keep em coming.

thanks.
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:06 PM   #50
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OK... back to the RR.

It had got to the stage where I needed to do some work on the bike - I'd lost a couple of luggage restraints (cut/burnt through) and the rack needed looking at. Bolts have been coming lose - even with Loctite, but the roads are massively better now we are on the main Indonesian roads.... although the shortcut we took through the mountains to the main Dili-Kupang road was a shocker. The start of the many first gear uphill tight corners.... I've got the bike geared down... but not enough. I had gone down one tooth at the front and up three at the rear for the Cape, but with the wide open roads across Oz, I'd gone back to the original size front. I must drop that down again.

We were starting to worry about tyres. I'd fitted new ones front and rear in Darwin... and they were about 40% worn after Timor. That's a serious wear rate. My rear disk was rattling like mad... I'd noticed it the day I loaded the bike on the boat in Darwin... too late to do anything about it. Even the gear in my bags has taken a hammering. Pill bottle lids vibrate open and you find the pills scattered in the bags its been that rough. The worst of it was a couple of bottles of poison I'd bought in Darwin that vibrated open... I had to chuck some food and other bits that got soaked. It was pyrethrin for soaking clothes in to ward off mossies... and I hadn't got around to doing the soaking.

By the way, fuel is cheap here. Premium is about 50c a litre. $2 a gallon.

I got run off the road by a bus not long after getting into Indonesia - which wasn't an issue... I just went into the dirt and didn't even slow down.... but the issue is the 100% concentration level that is required in order to make sure you don't end up as a hood ornament - and its bloody tiring.

I found that I had to change my riding style - no more looking in the mirrors and hardly ever looking at the instruments... just concentrate on that zone in front.

Speaking of riding style... on the way from Larantuka to Moni, I was riding like a granny.... not enjoying it either.... until I took off my camelback and strapped it to my luggage. It'd been forcing me into a horrible riding position - touching my Giant Loop bag and pushing me forward, but as soon as it was gone, I could ride... The roads on Flores are amazing. Still full of "surprises", but just the most amazing scenery - volcanoes, massive drop-offs, etc. We blasted through it without too many photos on the way to Moni.... Damn near took out a dog on the way... it did a U-turn as it was leaving the road and came back my way and it was "Uh oh" time.

I'd had plenty of close calls with animals... goats, pigs, dogs and poultry... and a couple with kids. I'll collect an animal if I have to... but kids are sacrosanct. I've got two encounters with them etched into my brain. One was in Dili, the other in a village and both times these kids came out from behind a car and were concentrating on something else. They didn't even see me until I'd screeched to a stop.

OK... back to Moni. I didn't have much of an idea of the attractions in Flores, so had asked a few folks who were going the other way. They all said Kelimutu was a must - and we eventually located it on a map... and that's where we were. Met a fascinating Aussie couple here.... hubby and wife - who have just kayaked Cairns to the Tip (Cape York) - then Java to Larantuka (first time its been done). They are doing a visa run and then back to their boats and further east... into the area where they still do traditional whaling. Drank far too many beers with them that night...

Here's their blog http://archipaddlo.blogspot.com/

So, the plan was to get up nice and early... 4:00 am and ride up to the carpark in the dark and then climb the volcanoes. So there we were... I'm all dressed and ready to go... chatting to Andras (we got twin rooms sometimes, separate others) and I eventually asked him if he was going to get ready... "oh, I'm not going... I don't feel well" or words to that effect. Yeah... something had got me in the gut too.... but I wasn't missing it, so... I made sure I had some toilet paper in the pocket (you really, really must do this in Asia... never, ever go anywhere without it) and off I went.

So, I climbed Kelimutu by myself to watch the sunrise over the crater lakes. I was about 100 metres from the top when it first burst through



Justin and Laine were already up there



Plenty of monkeys up there too.






The different colours of the lakes are amazing... although two are currently the same (the three are normally different)... one crater is very active.... and burped some gas while we were looking.... absolutely choked us for a bit. Here's the third lake.



I'll throw the baa baa tourist shot in because it shows the clouds that I'd had to ride up through. Its a fair way up here... well above the clouds.



I ended up having brekkie on the volcano (coffee, couble of cobs of steamed corn and a boiled egg) and then giving Laine a lift back down, while her hubby, Justin hired a bike rider to give him a lift. Laine's first time on a big bike. We got on quite well and I'll catch up with them back in Oz.



Take a closer look at that coffee. Damn its good. I take mine white, but there's no milk to be had here, so...



They pretty much all load it up with sugar for you (which I don't normally have... but with no milk...) Oh yeah... there's no filtering. None at all. Its coffee grounds galore. Just don't drink the last half inch.

My friend that I mentioned called by and we went out and met his wife and one of his kids... then he took us around all the local villages - with him on the back of my bike. The roads were a bit narrower, but still reasonable - for a while



We met all the chiefs, millions (it seems) of kids and lots of other folks. We rode up goat tracks into the clouds.... bouncing around, throwing out rocks, getting bogged and so on, then all the way down to a beach village. Every time we stopped, we were mobbed. One traditional house we were in was 600 years old... and it even contained an elephant tusk that old. We even got into a couple of ossariums (places where they store human bones). Amazing.

Had an afternoon lunch back at Fransiscus' house... noodles with some vine, omelet and rice. I'm not sure we should have been drinking the well water there.... but hey, it should toughen up the immune system eh?



We got the feeling that his prestige level took a lift, because everyone but everyone who went past stopped to check out his visitors bikes



His friendly buff

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Old 11-24-2011, 09:40 PM   #51
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OK... so it was off on tour with Fransis



I introduced him to the concept of a motorbike with power gradually... a 20% throttle hit here and there to lift his feet off the pegs and teach him to hang on.

By the end of the day, I was giving it to the Katoom and he was loving it.

First stop was one of the villages where they still weave the old way.

Raw thread



Making the indigo dye



Spinning



Doing the patterns







... and yeah, I bought a sarong off the old duck - at a fraction of the price that all the tourist traps tried to sell me one for later on.



Here's that 600 year old elephant trunk... its dusty because you aren't allowed to touch it. Something to do with fertility...



... and this is the Chief's wife who invited us in





Under the roof of one of the ossariums. We weren't allowed to photograph inside this one



Gawd we drank some coffee that day.... we must've stopped a dozen times and been given coffee every damn time - and met a million friends.



Did I mention goat tracks?

Of course, they don't look steep in photos, but I ended up grinding to a halt somewhere and had to throw my pillion off so that I could attack the track properly.







We ended the day at the hot springs (we were the only westerners there, of course).... in a pool with 30 locals all lathering themselves up. Men and women bathe in adjacent pools.

Everyone is quite modest... but maybe the local men don't have the same night vision as westerners... because the women seemed to think we couldn't see as dusk fell and they went all National Geographic.

There are photos, of course... not of the ladies.... but everything else.... and yes... the view was lovely.... in the other direction.



Hmm - note the lovely scum around the edges. Toughening up that immune system again.


Here's a photo to show your kids if they whinge. This poor young bloke must've made ten trips or more up the hill to collect fresh water for the restaurant where we were staying.



.... and here's the ladies washing up our dishes from the restaurant... yep, in the gutter, right where we'd washed my bike the evening before



I think they used a bit of fresh water to do a final rinse.... maybe - although if they did, it must've been pretty grotty by the time they finished. The main wash was in the gutter water though.


Here's a bit of the local culture you won't see on the main road. The local ladies had just been down to the creek for a bath and to do the washing (in the bags). The face treatment is something local that they put on to soften their skin, the younger ones use the white... the tougher, older ladies need the yellow.



The body language would seem to imply they weren't 100% relaxed about us taking their picture... but we did ask - and they did, sort of pose

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Old 11-25-2011, 05:41 AM   #52
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Hey BF

Enjoying the RR keep it up!!! Your Cape York report brought back memories, great pictures. I was up there August this year and had a ball!! I was in my 4x4 but Traveled with a group of bikes.

Keep up the great report.
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:24 AM   #53
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G'day Ian

Nice write-up mate. Keep it coming ..

We're back in pommieland .. and have been now for more than a month, but your story is conjuring-up some good memories.

Maybe catcha again next year?

All the best

KEITH [& ELLEN]
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:56 AM   #54
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how im enjoying your trip!!


more and more..
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:40 PM   #55
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Hi Ian, Thanks for the reply. Would be interested to know if you encountered any low octane fuel problems anywhere. Did you fabricate the CF Headlamp bracket yourself? It really looks like a professionally made vacuum bag jobbie. Being invited into the homes of those villagers must have been a humbling experience.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:14 PM   #56
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Thanks guys.

Keith... we may catch up again out there on the road. Thanks again for your generosity in Timor-Leste.

Re the fuel... yep, I did strike one problem with low octane fuel. I had to fuel up from a road-side stall and I couldn't pop wheelies on the throttle with that one load of fuel on. I almost had a brain snap with it on board too... I was accelerating through 140 kph when I decided I'd be a bit kinder to my engine than to sit on the ton with fuel like that and I backed off. Apart from the "no wheelies", that was it.... no other worries and the wheelies returned as soon as I fueled up at a proper fuel station.

Yeah - I made all the carbon fibre bits. I never finished the sump guard, so it will have to wait until the bike gets back to Oz. The headlight piece was a vacuum bag jobbie, but the rack wasn't. I've got a few thoughts on how to improve both pieces - but I'm particularly happy with the rack. Ilia was sitting on it most of the time - 50+kg - and it was fine.

OK... time to finish the Moni report....
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:24 AM   #57
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On our second night in Moni, Fransiscus invited us along to a local wedding.

Note the white face paint on the bride... quite a bit softer than the stuff the ladies had on after their bath. I can't remember the full significance of it, but I'd seen it in Vietnam last year. I'll see if I can dig up the details.



Yep - that's Laine again. We all had to take an envelope to the wedding with the equivalent of $2 in it as a gift... then we had to be introduced to the lucky couple and the oldies who were presumably the groom's father and bride's mother (or some such combo)



They were looking a tad bored after two days of it, but I think the bridegroom was sizing Andras up....



I had to get up and dance when "the scarf" was passed to me.... or I'd have insulted them. I sure got a rise out of the watching crowd. Much laughter. I like the concept though... it makes sure that there's always some action going on.

These guys were actually there from 500km west, Labaun Bajo - they are part of the reggae band that was at our digs there - and we also saw them in that damn hot springs bathtub. Nice guys



Not all the audience looked enthralled



We ate a horse at that wedding - literally.

It'd been a cow (or buffalo) the day before.... but day 2 was horse day. Horse stew, horse sate and fried horse. Not bad actually



The next day, it was back out and about. We asked Fransis if we were going to be on rough tracks again "no, much better"... so we didn't gear up again. Wrong. He was taking us to another hot spring at one stage and we eventually decided to park and walk... and ended up being glad to have done that... This was the climb out.



The roads here are much the same as on mainland Asia. When something goes wrong, it gets ignored.



One of our destinations was this Muslim fishing village - a bit unusual on Flores, which is mainly a mix of Christian with an overlay of Animism.



When we eventually got there... after a very close call with a flock of ducks... we got mobbed, as usual.





... and I found a potential KTM rider



Plenty of fishing boats around





There were actually several adults sitting around in old boats. Quite strange



We went off to another village, this one near Fransis' place and it was where his parents lived. This is the Chief's house... about 300 years old. Unlike the others we'd visited, this one had fallen into disrepair and they'd re-roofed it in iron.



I mentioned the ossarium that we weren't allowed to film inside. We were allowed into this one. The small casket on the left contains the bones of Fransiscus' grandfather... a famous chief who had 32 wives. The middle one was the village hero who saved them in an attack... and the other one, I can't recall.



When we said goodbye to Fransiscus, we tried to pay him for being our guide and he refused. "No, you are my friends". We eventually forced some money into his pocket and told him it wasn't for guiding us, but it was a gift for his kids.

The next morning, we headed west. We blasted down the main road, which was normally pretty good... but, as usual, you couldn't trust it. We didn't hang around in Ende, which is a fairly large town.... and we did get lost in the commercial centre of it. A local saw me turn the wrong way into an unmarked one-way street and came to our rescue. He grabbed us and led us out of town.... and wouldn't take any cash for it. Thanks mate. I hope to think I'd be as generous to tourists in trouble here.

Not far west of Ende we came across a crash. One scooter on its side and about a dozen folks standing around. The girl who'd been on the back had badly barked knees (she'd had an unbuckled helmet on, thongs on her feet and bare arms and legs)... Everyone was just standing around watching her try to get up. We calmed her down until we could ascertain she wasn't too bad... and gave her our water. The others threw her into a minibus and that was that. Her boyfriend had dropped it when some goats ran across in front of them.

About 10km down the road, we ended up in a fast run with a local.... and I kept thinking about those goats. We ended up running with this guy for 60km or more. He was good.... not bad for a guy on a scooter. Talking about it with Andras later, he said "when you decided you were going to get him, you were leaving 20 metre long black strips on the road out of the corners". Hmm... maybe that explains our extreme tyre wear a bit.

Just on that issue... tyre wear... here's an image I've "borrowed" off Keef's blog

(is that OK Keef?... whack in a link to your blog mate, the charity you are supporting deserves a bit more of an airing).



That's a bit further west I think, still in Flores, but it gives a bit of an idea of what we were dealing with. Non stop corners... almost no straights.... although I did find one here that let me snap off a shot of a steaming volcano that was in our sights. Yep, that isn't a cloud there... its steam out the top.



The traffic was always interesting



... and when we stopped to try and (unsuccessfully) find some decent food, we got mobbed again.



I turned my back at one stage and when I looked back, one of these guys had my full face helmet on.... and it went on about 5 heads before I could get it back. Anyone who's ever been in a third world country and watched people sitting in the gutter pulling nits out of other people's heads would know how I felt about that. I'm bloody amazed that I escaped that without a load of nits.

Anyhow... it was back on the road and into it again. I eventually pulled up and told Andras I was stuffed and needed a break. It turned out we were 3km from our destination.... Bajawa.... and after checking out the dump that Lonely Planet recommended, we rolled into town and the Hotel Happy Happy.... a rather nice place run by a couple of Dutch couples.

We chuckled at the rules... Rule #2 "no prostitutes in the rooms" Who'd have thought there'd be sin in Asia?
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:46 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post

Keith... we may catch up again out there on the road. Thanks again for your generosity in Timor-Leste.
Don't forget that it was also our pleasure sharing time with you too. Ellen & I missed you after leaving Dili - and indeed were really hoping that you would show-up down/around Denpasar, Bali, just before we left for England .. especially as you were fairly close by at that time back in mid-October (you were in Senggigi Lombok .. I think?)

PLANS: We just (two weeks ago) pulled-the-trigger on our flight back to Indonesia, and so we'll be down in Bali again on Monday May-14th next year to pick up where we left off. We're planning on spending approx another 10-14 days in-and-around Bali, before we scoot further westwards across Java and Sumatra; finishing this next forthcoming trip on July-12th (2012) in Kuala Lumpur. We might pop down to Sing for a day or two when we're in Malaysia .. and at least take a peek around southern Thailand before we leave the region. So now you know; and here's hoping we can meet-up with you somewhere along the way, if at all possible.

INFO NEEDED: Ian, I'm very interested to learn from you just how, where - from/to - you get/got yourselves (KTM + you) across the Strait of Malacca - i.e. Sumatra~~> Malaysia. Any info would be really appreciated mate, especially regarding logistics and costs. Here's hoping you can oblige.

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Just on that issue... tyre wear... here's an image I've "borrowed" off Keef's blog

(is that OK Keef?... whack in a link to your blog mate, the charity you are supporting deserves a bit more of an airing).


No worries Big fella.

DAMN! .. looking at that image again, boy-oh-boy, those roads were challenging, especially with 'er indoors on board too! .. .. Bloody good fun though all the same! ..

Here's a link to the charity - thanks for mentioning it: Motorcycle Outreach

Take care .. and all the best

KEITH [& ELLEN]

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Old 11-28-2011, 07:54 PM   #59
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Quote:
INFO NEEDED: Ian, I'm very interested to learn from you just how, where - from/to - you get/got yourselves (KTM + you) across the Strait of Malacca - i.e. Sumatra~~> Malaysia. Any info would be really appreciated mate, especially regarding logistics and costs. Here's hoping you can oblige.

You and I both, Keith.

Andras struck the problem with very little time left on his visa extension (I don't know why, but his only seems to have been extended by one month... I got mine extended till Dec 24th - but I'll get to that later - 6 damn visits to Imigrasi to get the extension).

I believe Andras got to the place where the ferry used to leave for Penang (I think it left from Medan), only to discover that they discontinued the vehicle carrying two years ago. Oops. He high-tailed it south and put the bike into storage somewhere on Sumatra I think until after Christmas and got out before his visa expired.

I'm pretty flexible with where I go, so given the problems up north, I'm inclined to just grab one of the ferries from Dumai to where-ever. I've got enough pages in my Carnet to add Singapore to the trip... and I know some people there.

It can obviously be done... as we both met people headed the other way in 4WDs and the like. Here's what Lonely Planet has to say about ferry options... although they make no reference to travelling with a vehicle.


From Singapore
  • Frequent ferries to/from the various ports of Batam (Sekupang, Batu Ampar, Nongsa, Marina Teluk Senimba and Batam Centre).
  • Frequent ferries to Tanjung Pinang and Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi (Bintan Resorts) on Bintan.
  • Several ferries daily to/from Tanjung Balai in Karimun Island.
  • One daily ferry, increasing to two during weekends, to/from Tanjung Batu* in Kundur Island.
From Peninsular Malaysia
  • Daily ferries run from Penang to Belawan, the port for Medan, Sumatra.
  • Daily ferries go from Port Klang near Kuala Lumpur to Dumai in Riau, Sumatra and Tanjung Balai Asahan in North Sumatra.
  • Daily ferries between Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan and Dumai in Riau province, Sumatra.
  • Daily ferries link Malacca with Dumai and Pekanbaru in Riau province, Sumatra.
  • Frequent ferries go from Kukup, Johor to Tanjung Balai* on Karimun Island in the Riau Islands.
  • Frequent ferries link the Johor Bahru with Batam and the capital of Riau province Tanjung Pinang at the Island Bintan in the Riau Islands.
  • Regular ferries also link Tanjung Belungkor in Johor with Batam.

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Old 11-28-2011, 09:45 PM   #60
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OK, so there we were at the Hotel Happy Happy, planning to head off reasonably soon but we got talking to some folk at the hotel and ended up extending a couple of times.

Bajawa has about 40,000 people and is up in the mountains at around 6,000'. It has plenty of volcanos around, the largest being Inerie - a still active volcano.



The hotel had an associated guide... the cook's husband, but he'd been booked for the following day, but he organised us a young bloke to take us out to some of the traditional villages and show us around. We chatted up a nice Slovakian woman who was staying there and convinced her she needed to see part of the world from the back of a motorbike.

First stop was up the top of some volcano near the town that had a telecoms setup on top.



The security guard wasn't going to let us take a look around because they'd had a grass fire and the bosses were coming up to inspect. He wouldn't budge, but $5 later, we were having a look around.

Our guide took a bit of persuasion too.... he didn't want to do a lap of the crater... but here we are



This is the lovely Lucia



and this is the crater that I paid $5 to walk around



Then it was off to some traditional Ngadha villages. The first one was a bit less touristy than Bena, being a bit harder to get to, so was a bit more enjoyable. We did find the main guide from the hotel there and he took us under his wing as well and we got an extended run-through of local customs in this lady's house.



Yep... she's a Betelnut chewer. They don't normally like you taking a photo with their mouth open, but we got on pretty well with her. Betelnut is chewed with mustard leaf and garden lime.... which, over time, gives the teeth a bit of a hard time.

Here's the makings going together. She used a mortar and pestle to grind it all up a bit because she's pretty toothless



... and she's pretty chilled out. It is a mild narcotic.



I tried it when I was up in PNG a while back... without the mustard and garden lime. They chew it raw in PNG, dried here. In PNG it made my lips go numb for a couple of days. Bitter too... but I didn't have enough of it to get this mellow.


Her house, incidentally was the one that is cut-off on the right of this photo. The pigeon house looking things here are clan related. One totem for each clan. The male ones are closest to the camera, the female ones at the back.



We must've sat back here for damn near two hours while the guide, on the right, filled us in on the local culture and the mix of Christianity and Animism. Those clan totems, for example, have animals sacrificed and interred under them during construction.



She shouted us the inevitable coffee too, of course.

Not a lot of folks around when we were there. Mainly old folks and very young kids... and a couple of kids skipping school.



These sort of aid projects are pretty common in the remote villages... we saw them being installed in Timor-Leste... and here they were again. Water.



and local rugrats



It was down some narrow twisties - one car wide, lots of first gear, very tight, uphill/downhill corners.... sometimes hugely potholed... and we were at one of the major tourist villages, Bena. It was interesting to note that the people in the neighbouring less pure villages (from a traditional housing perspective) seemed to be less friendly... not as many responses to a wave, etc. I guess they see the places like Bena making money that they don't get. There's a fee to look through Bena (we gave them $2 each)... but the next village doesn't get anything.



Lucia got acquainted with some dried fish



and a lady who'd made the scarf she's wearing



These stones, out the front of all the places are interesting.



They are effectively the land title for each place. If you want to build somewhere, you erect some stones like that. If, after a period of time, no-one has kicked them over, you can build there.

This is up at the head of the village



with this view over the valley



The view is fabulous, and I've got enough photos to stitch a panorama together... but I'm slack. Must learn how to do it some day.

Bloody big snails over there.



The sacrifice stones are different sizes for different animals





and there's some pretty impressive displays of the left overs



From there, we ducked over to a hot spring that was off the beaten track... a bit of a muddy track to get to it and no tourists.... apart from us. I don't think it was that far from Bena, about 7km, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed the trip on road tyres.



It was an interesting place... the hot stream, coming from the right, is 51C, too hot... but that cold stream on the left mixes in and its great. Pick your temp...



This lady cooked us up some fried noodles while her hubby went about 50' up and got us a coconut each.







Andras and I headed out to the pub that night with our guide, much to the disgust of the woman running our hotel (Remember Rule 2?). I'll dredge up a photo for my next update.
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