Monday, February 9, 2009


14 Jan 2009

The morning started on a drizzle. We had our breakfast of the usual nasi goreng with tea. Almost all the hotels threw in breakfast, and the breakfast is standard pink-colored nasi goreng.

We would be heading into the interior and into the highlands. Today's ride will be a 70kms ride to Malawa. Malawa is located at the border where Kabupaten Bone ends and Kabupaten Maros begins. Some locals in Bira told me that this stretch has no villages. So, I purchased extra buns in the event there would be no shops along the road. Both of us would bid good-bye to Hatim here. He would be travelling back to Makassar today, on the same route that we would take. But we would take 3 days to reach Makassar.

Before we left Watansopeng, we stopped to capture what is unique in this town - the bats! There were literally hundreds hanging on to several trees at one particular spot in the town. It had become a feature of Watansopeng. The locals do not disturb them. The locals told of an event several years ago when all the bats mysteriously left Watansopeng. Not long after, a fire broke out in the market. The bats later came back.

The first part of the ride was through many villages. We passed a busy market and thus far, we cycled on a relatively flat road. We made good progress.

Hatim later caught up with us after we have chalked 35kms. He was surprised that we were fast. We stopped at a stall for tea together, and enjoyed the spare buns I bought for emergency. There would not be any emergencies as the locals here told us that there are villages all the way to our destination.

We finally said good-bye again to Hatim. From here, he would overtake us and we would meet next only in Makassar, 3 days later. He took several shots and we waved him off.

The road changed from flat to rolling hills, but nothing heavy. By noon, our stomachs were croaking again. We stopped at a sundry shop and we had our maggi mee.

A lady was in conversation with us. Acid commented on her dress and she said she was attending a wedding as one of the "pengapit". Acid was quick to request to digitise her.

As usual, when we came to a junction we would ask the locals for direction.

We usually received friendly attention. These group of boys were very excited to follow us. Amidst their laughter, some would give the common greetings "HELLO MISTER". One would be surprised to note that this is a common greeting we received along the road. And we usually returned the gesture with a wave of our hands, and at times with the peace sign. Occasionally when I came across school-children by the road side, I would offer my hand for a high 5. I would always get a few high 5's.

Acid saw this wooden bridge with a fast swollen river. It looked dramatic. We stopped for a photo-shoot. No, we did not cross this bridge to go to our destination. Posing aje.

After this, the road began to climb and we quickly used up our energies. Aren't we glad when we came across some jagung stalls? The lady owner said she was born in Tawau, but came back to Sulawesi. During the journey, we discovered that many people from Sulawesi migrated to Sabah, mainly to Tawau. They went by boats there and majority had settled down in Tawau.

The road continued to climb as we neared our destination, Makala.
We were on our grannies, and if the road got any steeper, we would be pushing our bikes. To add to the excitement, there were also many heavily-laden lorries occupying the major portion of the road. We were careful.

All the hard climb paid-off. Mutiara Sari welcomed us. It is a beautiful cozy home up on the highland. It is a home, a weekend retreat belonging to a succesful local. He let the rooms out for travellers at IR150,000 (RM50) a night. We reached here at 2pm, early but we were ready to call it a day.

And for that price, this is what you get! You get an open space.

You get this balcony where you relax in the cool breezy weather.

If it is too cold outside, warm yourself up in the living area.

And when it's time for bed, the "honeymoon" suite as Acid dubbed it, awaits your tired body.
How I wished I had an extra day!


aofuad said...

A few of my PERs gang have read your blog. They are interested to cycle with you in Putrajaya and meet up with the person himself.

ARZ said...


It's always my pleasure to meet like-minded people. I'm sure we can all learn from one another.

oops did I just say that? said...

u always stop n makannn