Cycling Day 5
08.07.2010 - 08.07.2010 30 °C
Although we were by now quite used to the dawn, midday and dusk prayer calls and generally found them quite atmospheric, what seemed like a competition between several amplifier equipped imams awoke us in time to wash and prepare for more cycling. To complete the cacophony, several roosters and a nearby cow joined in. After leaving our slightly unusual hotel, we were picked up by the entire local constabulary who gave a full police escort out of town. The cavalcade included officers on old Dutch-style police bicycles, at least five motorcycle police, sirens, more officers on point duty, and much interruption to local traffic. At the bridge on the edge of town , they stopped the road entirely for a round of photos with the important cycling delegation from Australia. I don't think there was a lot of pressing police business that morning in Sinjai.
After again being treated with far more importance than we really deserved, we continued to climb back up through rice fields, up and down valleys, and up some tough hills. I started to feel like I was on the Tour de France as every, village, town, rice paddy, house, workplace, buffalo and horse and cart seemed to include a voice calling out greetings on top note. We are able to go through the salamat pagi/seang/sore process and received many "hello mister", "blunder" and "bule" calls in response. Occasionally, we also would get "I love you" booming out from some unidentifiable source.
As the temperature of the day continued to rise in this coastal area, we stopped at another warung for some really impressive Buginese cakes and had a complex conversation with the ibu and pak. We also stopped at an area where the main occupation is breaking rocks by hand to sell for rp100,000 (around $12) per cubic metre. We also interviewed some clove and cocoa merchants and chewed the cocoa segments.
The very poor roads and embryonic maintenance procedures were again in evidence as we went on to have a late lunch at a Javanese style warung before finally descending after 104kms to reach Bira.
The accommodation facilities were cliff top cabins looking out at the sea, which was clear and still. We all had a swim which was marvellous at that stage of the day. The cabins were pretty rustic and were surrounded by goats, cats and barking geckos.
Following yoga on a platform area of the "resort" which started in the dark due to a temporary power failure, we all had some beers which were very welcome. Dinner was on a small platform constructed out from the rocks over the sea. It was wonderful food with the best BBQed fish I have ever eaten.
We then retired exhausted after another intensely stimulating day.