Bike-Ride to Australia Wednesday 22nd-February-2012. Pekanbaru to 7km north of the equator. 97 miles. I had a very disconcerting night yesterday! After having a shower, I went down to the hotel bar for a beer. I had wanted a gin and tonic, but I settled for a beer after they didn’t have any tonic.
I sat down with my beer in one of the many booths in the bar to write today’s blog. I’d just started when a woman came up to me. She introduced herself as the hotel’s guest relations manager! Guest relations, really! After introducing herself, she introduced me to the girl from the resident band and a couple of the backing singers. She then introduced me to another woman and left me with all these women! The band had to go and play, leaving me with this other woman who allegedly was the manager’s friend! Friend? Prostitute more likely!
She tried to make conversation as we sat there, but she didn’t speak any English, and I certainly don’t speak Indonesian! She didn’t stay long, which was a relief. Shortly after, the singer returned, and she could speak English. As she chatted away, she kept touching my leg! Luckily she had to go and sing another song. Needless to say, I made a quick exit!
I was flying along first thing this morning and was even thinking I might do 130 miles today! That was the next place on my map that looked as if it might have some accommodation. After about forty or fifty miles, things slowed down. I hit some ridiculously steep hills, not particularly long but steep, the sort we get in England. The road reminded me of cycling in Dorset around Lyme Regis and Seaton.
It was about 5.30, and I still had another thirty miles to cycle. As I was drudging up yet another hill, a man came rushing out from his house. Hey mister, you stay here? He shouted. No thanks, I want to get to the next town, I replied. No, you stay here you can camp in my garden if you have a tent? He was pretty insistent. And after he said it’s uphill for the next 17km, I decided to stay. After all, I’d carried my tent all this way for some reason.
His garden, ha! I don’t think so. It was about 200 yards up the road past a few shops and houses. On the outskirts of the village, in the jungle! After finding a small patch in the thick jungle, I went to his house to shower. Not the sort of shower where you turn the taps, and out comes a flow of hot water. No, this shower was a do it yourself job. I had to fill a bucket from a big trough of cold water and tip it over myself! But it’s so hot and after a long day, who cares! It was very nice of him to take me in, sort of!
After a refreshing shower, I was taken for a tour of the village on the back of his scooter. I think it was more to show me off to his friends! Tour finished. He then took me to a restaurant to get something to eat. After I’d eaten, we went back to his house, and I met the rest of his family. He had a lovely family, and I was grateful for them taking me in. They made plastic flowers to sell from old plastic bags.
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