Cycling Day 1
04.07.2010 - 04.07.2010 30 °C
This was the first day on the bikes. We left at 5:15 for a visit to the fish market. Although it was still dark when we arrived, the smell certainly let us know where we were. It was fascinating to see the boats coming in and the variety of fish being laid out as the sun came up and the market activity picked up. The sun also allowed us to realise that we were sometimes standing on a layer of maggots. This did wonders for those of us who were already feeling a little queasy from the change in diet. We were something of a curiosity wandering around the Makassar fish market in our cycling gear and there were a lot of photographs to be had.
From the markets, we rode out of the city to a South Sulawesi village museum which displayed the different housing and other cultural aspects of the area and returned to the hotel for a rice porridge breakfast. We also passed a large local cycling event that was travelling in the other direction with accompanying sirens and general pandemonium. After breakfast we rode to the old harbour area where we saw the famous Buginese sailing ships and had some entertaining interactions with a group of Makassar stevedores who were loading sawdust. The boss, who looked about 25, explained through Col how he didn't have any English as he had only attended the "school of the wharves". As the afternoon wore on and the temperature increased, we rode back to Fort Rotterdam which was an ancient fort taken over by the Dutch in the 1600s. A very well-informed English speaking guide gave us a comprehensive tour of the fort and its museums.
Following lunch at a southern Sumatran resaurant where the randang was sensational, we returned to the hotel where Col negotiated with some of the local becak proprieters for us to ride their becaks while they sat in the passenger seat. This was great fun as we completed a city block riding these contraptions with a fairly nervous passenger in the front. Sonia had always wanted to ride one of these and in her excitement zoomed past the rest of us with an enormous grin on her face.
In the afternoon a few of us went for massage or reflexology where Charlie and I managed to confuse ourselves entirely and not-quite fit into the frilly little robes that were provided. After a massage that involved some back-walking, I ended up in a hot and cold spa area and managed to also go through some steam and sauna rooms. While this was going on, Sonia was in with all the blokes having an extended reflexology session.
On the way back to the hotel for yoga, Paul, Charlie, Sonia and I went to a sports and music equipment store where we attempted to buy some yoga mats. After being shown every exercise mat in the place (which were all the same) we bought some and went back for the session. Col responded with, "those mats are absolutely useless" but we managed to proceed with the session. After trying to avoid fits of laughter at Col's comments as we tried to get into the various postures, several of us completely lost it when a coconut fell on the cement beside us all and rolled into the sea.
After dinner at a soup restaurant, we went to a kind of hardware store that sold everthing from industrial cement mixers to motorbike frames where we found the last two proper yoga mats in Makassar.