Saturday, 2 June 2012

96. "Hello Mister!" - across Sumatra with a loose bottom bracket

We arrived onto the very friendly and often quite noisy Indonesian archipelago at the Sumatran port of Dumai and our idea was to spend a couple of weeks doing a short west-east loop of the world's sixth largest island and return by sea to Singapore. The first few days from Dumai were spent in the company of Polish cyclist, Przemek, battling hills, traffic and humidity in the Sumatran lowlands as we cycled to Pekanbaru and then across to the Barisan mountain range and the city of Bukittinggi before turning south and skirting the largest of the sixty-five volcanoes in Sumatra - Mt. Kerinci. After the vertical insanity that are Sumatran roads in the mountains, we dropped down to the west coast only to discover that the rolling nature of the roads continues and makes for energy absorbing days that are well compensated for by the very friendly people who we've been meeting as well as the odd monkey. Yesterday we made it to the one time colonial outpost of Bengkulu where we are having a fairly typical rest day... wash our clothes, wash the bikes, and write a blog (well a short one) and find a quiet space away from the air-horns. We've revised our plans to return to Bangkok overland and instead will continue through southern Sumatra to Java and Bali, from where we'll return by plane to Bangkok in mid-July. Click on the mini slideshow below and be brought to my Picasa account where you can view pictures from the past couple of weeks here in Sumatra. Thirty-two years alive tomorrow, so rather than spend hours online I'll go for some fish with Ellie.

If you're interested in reading more about Sumatra from the perspective of an American political ecologist doing his PhD research on conservation issues in the Kerinci-Semblat national park, I recommend a look at his informative blog that covers everything from tiger conservation to palm tree production -

Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
Pedalled: 62,012 kilometres