Monthly Archives: May 2012

More bike problems.

When I got on the ferry to Sumbawa, I heard a little grinding from my rear tire.  Nothing too loud, but certainly enough to have me check when I parked the bike.  Damn- oil was leaking out of my final drive hub!  The drive had about 80,000km on it, but the last change was at 100,000km and after Africa- my riding had been a lot easier (in general) since then, so it should have been fine.  Then I remembered that I had it changed by the losers at BMW Morocco… Crap, it probably was going.  Ah well, when I get to some Internet I can check out what I can do myself and if I can get some help in Jakarta or something- for now, I have a ferry ride past a smoking volcano to enjoy!


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Tourists are Bad. I Think.

When I got to Flores I was looking forward to the mountains, volcanoes, and volcanic lakes…  Unfortunately, while the rain held off, everything was carpeted with low clouds and mist.  It was still something to see, but not what I was hoping for.  Sigh.

But, but, but!  The riding was great!  Decrepit roads winding through the jungle, impossibly steep corners, and crazy drivers that had me thinking about charging my heart rent for the amount of time it was spending in my throat.  Everything that makes riding- Riding.  This little stretch from my GPS map gives a good idea (note the scale).

Then, as I got closer to the East coast, the weather cleared and part of what I’d been missing was reveled!

The real treat, though was waiting for me in Labuanbajo.  Primarily a jumping off point for K0modo Dragon viewing (something I had to skip- no bike transport), it was actually a really nice little town.  Enough tourists to have some modern comforts and tourist related stuff (WiFi, a fix for a burger fix, etc), but not over-run with the annoying types trying to sell you things or anything.  A perfect place for a little break.

After checking out the view from my patio,

I decided that a night and a day wasn’t quite enough- 2 nights would be perfect!  That evening cinched the deal and would have had my running back to the hotel to book another night if I hadn’t already.  Great fresh seafood, laid back locals to play pool with, and dinner with view like this…

The next day had me updating my blog, doing some chores, and reflecting on tourists.   I’m obviously a tourist, but in a strange category that very rarely has enough numbers to justify a place changing to accommodate my (our) needs.  Maybe traditional tourists aren’t so bad?  Even a steady trickle brings in more varied food, convenient odds and ends at the shops, and more English speaking locals.  I’m still not sold, but perhaps- just perhaps- I could be convinced that regular tourism isn’t the death of a place…


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Island Hopping

Finishing Sumba worked out perfectly- I arrived at the town where the ferry left from in the late afternoon and the ferry was scheduled for 9am the next morning.  After finding a hotel, I went down to the dock to make sure I knew where to go and buy a ticket.  Unfortunately, things weren’t exactly as they should be…

No worries though- a bit of detective work sent me riding to the fishing dock about a kilometer away where a temporary setup was in place and I was able to buy a ticket.  The rest of the afternoon was left to exploring the town and munching on more wonderful street food.  One odd little find was a traditional village on a little hill…

In the middle of town!

The next morning I got to the ferry early, showed my tickets, and then tried to ride onto the dock to the boat.  No go-  the rather unhappy looking ferry workers would let me pass.  Much arm waving, broken English/Indonesian, and a quick walk to the ferry later I discovered the problem.  It was packed!  There was no way my bike could fit- a little local bike would have made it, but apparently the guy who sold me my ticket hadn’t passed on the information that my bike was on huge side.  So I wasn’t going.  And the next ferry wasn’t for 5 more days. AND they wouldn’t give me a refund!  More arm waving later and I was back on the road to the town I’d started in on Sumba- I’d sold my ticket to a local who wanted to cross, found out that a ferry going back to Flores would leave the next day, and couldn’t manage to stay cranky, despite my best efforts.

Bright and early the next morning all went as planned and I was on my way to Flores, this time with much quieter neighbours…

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