Friday, January 30, 2009


Again it was drizzling when we prepared for our Day 6 ride to Watampone. The hotel we stayed provided tea and cakes for breakfast, certainly inadequate to start off on our 100 km ride today. The staff informed us of a food outlet that usually opened for breakfast. I have observed
that having breakfast in eateries is not a culture of the locals, unlike here in Malaysia. I think this has got to do with their level of economic prosperity.

So it was a welcome sight when we saw this stall opened for breakfast.

The choice though is very limited - Nasi Kuning. We have no choice. I needed the carbo to fire up my old engine!

The road was slightly wet from the early drizzle. We were ready for a wet ride and had our panniers water-proofed. Fortunately, the weather was in our favor. We came across this colonial-looking landmark of 6 horses pulling a cart. I was unsure about its significance and there is nothing written about it either. So we took pictures and moved on.

Up to this point of my ride, I have noticed digging of trenches on the left side of the road. Hundreds of kilometres had been dug, manually. It was tough work. It was a project to lay fibre-optics across the country. Tractors would make short work of the job. However, one must again remember that Indonesia is a land of plenty - plenty of people. So, manual labor is the way to go. This project helped put food on the table.

This project also explained the lack of internet facility in the towns we have overnighted so far. Today's ride was uneventful and the landscape became all too familiar, padi-fields, maize growing, villages dotting the roads.

We reached Watampone about 4 pm and started looking for a hotel. We passed this hotel WISMA AMRACH but did not know that a Wisma is a lodging house. We stopped at a hotel further up which cannot accept foreigners as their guests. This was my first experience of being turned away from a hotel, because we were were not Indonesians. The receptionist though told us to go to Wisma Amrach. That was when we knew that a Wisma is actually a hotel.

At IR11o,000, Wisma Amrach offered a reasonably clean hotel with an acceptable lobby to relax. It was close to a mosque and we went there for our Maghrib. Later, ACID as usual befriended some undergraduates. Two of them agreed to bring us on their motorbikes to see one of the largest ports in Indonesia. In exchange, we would buy them dinner. Fair exchange.

This port had the longest wharf - 1km long. Unfortunately it rained so they came with a van. First to dinner, then to the port. We could not see much of the port at night though we literally drove "into the sea" on that 1km wharf. The pictures we took was rather disappointing, The drizzle and the wind made the weather cold. To cap the night, the van decided to kaput on us.

It took a while before a tow-truck arrived. We were literally "towed" back to our hotel.

So, we look forward to tomorrow's ride to Sengkang.

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