Please adopt me an Orangutan from the BOS Foundation and help raise money for their preservation and welfare. That's all I want this year.......actually that and a large bottle of Singleton
Malt Whiskey.....aaaand.....no....no that's definitely it!
Many thanks in advance.
PS I don't have a chimney this year but I do have a rather large exhaust pipe so I'll leave your usual on the footpeg!
Jakarta, held some secret gems too. Not least the people. I had to tear myself away although I still find it hard to imagine how there came to be so many passionate and dedicated bikers when riding there just seems like a daily challenge rather than a pastime! 10 million people live in Jakarta and it would seem that 80% of them ride stepthru's! They are not easy to ride through! Perhaps masochism is the answer. More likely, I guess the traffic has to be faced one way or another and so why not do it with some good old biker attitude. Whatever the reason, I take my helmet off to them for their skill in staying sane amid the constant chaos!
From Surakarta I rode to Malang where I was reunited with my GoPro having left it behind in
Jakarta. Luckily the members of the Prides MC jumped in to action with military precision and the parcel arrived before me! Finally I made it up to up to the Volcano which is Mount Bromo. The air here was cooler and I welcomed it with open arms as it refuelled my energy levels. Best of all though was the view as I reached the top of the hill. I got off the bike and looked over the edge to see a vast plain of fine volcanic ash below. I smiled and looked at the guy next to me who was eyeing me up to sell me some coffee and said "Am I allowed to ride on that?" Wide eyed and full of new found energy.
"Yes" he replied, rather unexpectedly. I hadn't actually expected him to speak English!
"Yes" he said and smiled, noting my excitement.
Bromo was just what I needed! I didn't need the coffee but I ordered one anyway by way of thanks, although I don't think it was really down to him!
I rode on the the dark sand tentatively at first. It had been a long time since I had ridden in the dunes of Morocco and I couldn't quite remember how it was going to feel. Of course the trick to riding in sand is to be confident. Give it some speed, don't hesitate and let the bike move underneath you as you stand on the pegs. Don't brake if you can help it and allow your self to glide with the bike.
Some sand is harder to ride and it really takes some conviction to attack it. It's what they call Fesh
Fesh in Morocco. This is really fine soft sand that makes you feel like you are sailing rather than riding. There was plenty of this here as well as long stretches of hard packed stuff. Once I got the hang of it again I was away! I had the bike, I had the playground and I had some really stunning scenery. All that was missing was my music and so I sang really loudly instead! Luckily there was no one around to hear me wail!
The next morning I got up at 4.30am, jumped on Rhonda and headed up some dirt tracks to the highest point I could reach with the bike. This was going to be great! Watching the sunrise in a secluded spot. Just me and Rhonda!
The romantic image was soon shattered as I reached the top of the rocky track only to be greeted by about 30 other people and someone selling tea and noodles! Not quite what I had in mind but it was a beautiful view non the less! Despite this, some of the people there stopped taking pictures of the view and started asking for pictures with me! It was just before 5am! I didn't look my best but I obliged before ordering some tea and finding myself a nice spot to sit amidst the crowd!
Just after leaving Bromo, I hit a big mile stone. Not literally you understand! I hit the 20,000 mile (32,186km) mark. I felt a sudden surge of excitement as I realised this fact and then promptly stopped for another ice cream to celebrate! Magnums are good for every occasion!
Several hours later I was on the ferry and waving goodbye to Java. On the other side I was due to
Jonathan and his wife, Imelda, are clearly very relaxed people and I instantly felt at home. Of course it helped to be surrounded by dogs! This will be my base for the next few days as I sort out the shipping to Australia and prepare for my third continent.
On a final note I want to send out all my love to Askhar and his wife Anis. He was the guy I mentioned in the last post who had broken his leg after an argument with a truck soon after I left his place in Java. Sadly there were complications and Askhar has had to have his leg amputated. Despite this he and his wife are still smiling and are showing amazing courage in the face of this sudden and enormous change to their life. I cannot imagine what that would be like but I am pretty sure I would not be so brave! I am humbled by their strength of character. Askhar told me before I left that his dream too, was to ride around the world one day. Askhar, I have no doubt that one of your "brothers" is converting a bike for you right now and with the determination you have shown in the last couple of weeks, I know you will do a far better job than me! Thank you for showing me what true strength really is. Go for it mate. I am right behind you all the way just as soon as you're ready. This is just the beginning of your next great adventure. xxxxxxxx