One of them drew me a map, very simple and certainly not to scale. I reproduced here his artwork. We must first head for Kalimporo from where we would branch off to Pattongko. He said I would have to pass his Kampong Bua to go to Sinjai. We would cross 3 wooden bridges, according to him. No problem, the road is good he said.So, we said goodbye to Bira. Paid for our 2 nights homestay which included 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners. Cost to us, IR380,000 (RM115). We gladly gave Nur, the lady who cooked for us IR400,000. She was all smiles. In her 26 years in this world, she had not set foot outside Bira.
I had earlier made the decision, that we would take the van to Tanah Beru, about 10 kms away. I wanted to avoid the steep climb at the start of the journey. I sensed that Acid was a little disappointed that he could not attempt the climb - a younger man with a younger heart! I wanted to stretch my safety limit, i.e. not pushing the heart beat too high before giving it a good warming up.
We were dropped off at Tanah Beru after paying IR70,000 for our taxi trip. We asked for direction to confirm the local map. Someone then drew another map for us to supplement the one I got earlier.
As we cycled, on the opposite direction we saw several cyclists on a group cycling tour of South Sulawesi. This group tour was fully supported. They had a Van upfront with a banner telling traffic of the cyclists approaching. They had a lorry at the rear, fully laden with luggage.
One of them, David made a U-turn to catch up with us. Obviously he was one of the stronger riders and he could easily catch up with the rest. David hailed from Melbourne and he said there were 22 of them (I think). They were doing a longer loop than ours. Their trip was close to a month! What made David do a U-turn to greet us? That was because we were the first two guys he saw doing a cycling tour since he set foot in Makassar. We exchanged emails and hoped to communicate upon our return.
As we continued on, the road was getting bad and rolling. We had to slow down. Acid had to be extra careful with the potholes to avoid punctures.
At one stage, we overshot our route and backtracked a few kilometres.
This was a Friday and we planned to do our Friday prayers at one of the numerous mosques we passed. I have never seen so many mosques in my journey in Indonesia, for that matter, even in Malaysia. Here, there are mosques at almost every kilometre interval. We stopped at this one. Initially I thought this mosque was still under construction.
Even nearing prayer time, there were only a handful of jemaah. This could be due to the mosques being at close proximity to one another. So, I really do not see the need to renovate and expand the mosque, as this one.
We exchanged pleasantries with the village folks and continued on our journey. We were getting hungry but could not find any warong. We stopped at a typical retail shop for some roti and drink. As usual, we attracted attention.
The road began to climb from here and it was pretty steep. For the first time, we came across a rubber plantation. I had never seen such a well-kept rubber plantation in Malaysia. Should give credit to the workers of this r plantation. We make it a point to capture this well-kept plantation. We really can't do much justice from this picture. You got to see it for yourself!
While tackling the uphill, I can't help but take the picture of this old bicycle. Neglected and old. It must have served its master well. And the master had no further use and left it to "die". What a sad story.
We reached Kajang. Yes, there is also a Kajang in Sulawesi.
We stopped to ask direction at a shop. Here I was, talking to some local youths.
The conversation with the youth on the right goes something like this:
"Bapak dari mana?"
"Kuala Lumpur di mana?"
"Oh, saya pernah kerja di Subang Jaya. Kawan saya disebelah kerja di Shah Alam, tempat pasang kereta Ford"
So, there you are. You were no strangers to these boys. They went on to say that in Selangor, there's also Kajang, and that there's Satay Kajang. Confirmed, these are boys who used to work in our country.
The group of youths went on to say that in Kajang here, there's actually another Kajang not far away. It's called Kajang Dalam. Kajang Dalam is occupied by a group of Muslim families who are practically living in their own world. They dressed in black, lived in the old ways, no electricity no modern facilities. Outsiders are not welcomed in their community. Reminds me of the Mormons in America.
We said good-bye and moved on. The road got worse and we continously seek direction to ensure we were on the right direction. These are some of the roads we passed through.
These are the wooden bridges refered to by the local who drew me the map.
This is the better one
At some points, we were hugging the coastline and it offers a breath of refreshing change.
By then, we were only roughly 15 kms from Sinjai, our destination for the day.
We were hungry of-course and certainly looked forward for a hearty late lunch in Sinjai. But before that, I cannot miss to take a picture of this M-Studio which provide various services, including "shouting" VCD/DVD.
This is a skill I have yet to learn.