Monday, February 2, 2009

DAY 7 - EXCITING RIDE TO SENGKANG

It promised good weather today, though it rained last night. We departed Watampone early after the usual light breakfast the hotel provided us. Again, we were mindful that we need to stop for our carbo-loading quite soon. The road, as usual was still devoid of much traffic as we headed for Sengkang. Leaving the hotel, we passed a clean landscaped road. This area is where the Bupati resides. The Bupati is equivalent to a mayor in our cities. His residence is a huge colonial-looking mansion with big landscaped garden. Thanks Acid for taking this shot.






As we left the outskirt of Watampone, we were greeted by this giant arch with a symbolic songkok flanked by 2 minarets. The arch read "SELAMAT JALAN DI KOTA WATAMPONE. KOTA BERADAT BUMI ARUNG PALAKKA". I wondered what ARUNG PALAKKA meant. There was a light drizzle and it continued on and off, light enough for us to continue cycling.



It is still padi field country here, pretty similar to what we have passed through for the last several days.



We stopped at this shop. Time for bread and isotonic drinks.

I was attracted to the mother teaching the son reciting the basics of Quran reading. The boy was engrossed and Acid said that was how he learnt Quran recitals when he was a kid growing up in Batu Pahat. I never learn Quran recital this way. Must have been the Bugis influence in Johor. After all Acid has Bugis blood. My blood probably "Yunan mari"

The cycling was quite a challenge. This road we took to Sengkang is under heavy wear and tear. The rainy spells did not help either. We were literally avoiding potholes most of the way. So were other vehicles. We soon became experts braking or speeding to avoid being splashed with mud by other road users.




Even the locals prefered to dirty their feet rather than their slippers.



But we must continue to remain positive and enjoy the experience. This is what cycle-touring is all about - you are all the time with the element, the rain, the sun, the wind, the environment, the people, and sometimes the dogs.....loving your sexy calf!


Anyway, our "hardship" was highly rewarded. We came across some girls in a ceremonial attire and gentleman in their coats. A Bugis wedding. A great opportunity to experience Bugis wedding first hand.





As usual, a friendly lot of people. We were welcomed to photograph the wedding. We were welcomed to join the feast, of which we said no. In our rather dirty attire, we were also an attraction even though we were certainly NOT ATTRACTIVE!


So here comes the bride, crossing the road in all its pomp and ceremonies and music. The white-garbed uniform of the boys offered a great contrast to the glittering costumes of the couple. I noted that the bridegroom walked behind the bride. I wondered whether this is symbolic of Bugis woman's superiority over her man. Aiya!


And all these girls in their lovely attire with the "hantaran".




These 2 boys were the "pengapit" and they too were adorned with colorful costumes.




And these 2 lovely "dolls" who were also the "pengapit" and heavily maked-up for this occassion.


As soon as the entourage crossed the road, the bride was "tied" by a representative of her in-law. I am guessing here that the bridegroom is now "tied" to the bridegroom's family.

With so much gold on her, I would tie her up too!


The entourage were first entertained by these young ladies.


Then the guests were seated while the bridegroom paid homage first to the new in-laws. Paying homage took some times as we waited quite a while before the couples were led out for the ceremony.


Finally they were brought out for the bersanding ceremony. We took more photos but we did not want to over-stay the ceremony, nor over-stayed the hospitality. We thanked the host generously and proceeded on.





Amidst all the beauty and fine clothes, we felt very dirty indeed. Indeed we were dirty. I was dirtier tha Acid. My bike did not have any proper mud-guards.



In our mind, we would have a tough job when we checked in the hotel this evening. We had to clean our bicycles of mud before it played havoc with the chains and the gear components. But we were fortunate.
There was a river not far from the ceremony. Running water was pumped from this river and was free-flowing. This place specifically catered for washing vehicles for beyond here, there was no more potholes in the road. A group of kids were hassling one another to offer their cleaning expertise to us. It was difficult for us. We decided to offer the job to the kids holding our bicycles. I had 2 kids holding my bike. Acid was lucky. He had only 1 kid holding his bike. Must be his Bugis blood helping him!

I must say these kids were experts in their profession. We were very happy with the service. They gave a whopping cry when I gave the 2 boys IR20,000 each for the service. One boy who was holding my bike did not expect any payment. It was a joy for him to be able to hold the bike. I gave him IR4,000 and I could see his eyes lighted up with surprise. Surprise turned to joy. For us, it was a joy to give.
We moved on. Very happy with today's journey. Sengkang, Kota Sutera. We welcomed you as you welcomed us. Tonight we will be your guest. Two tired but happy cyclists!


We now await for my friend Hatim to arrive in Sengkang too. For the next 3 days, we would give our bike a rest and travelled with Hatim in a van as we head for Tana Toraja.

6 comments:

azrInah said...

Seronoknya!

4 hari cycling dr kk-simpang Mengayau?! Saya kena exercise dulu la En. Ramli..heee

oops did I just say that? said...

bah, you hinted for a mudguard right?!!!!!!!!:D

ARZ said...

Azrinah,

Apa-apa kita nak buat mesti ada perancangan dan persiapan kan? But it is not impossible, and the reward is immeasurable!

ARZ said...

Yeap Baby. I hope you got the hint. I can't find the right mud-guards here. Dat's why U need to bring home from Dublin!

acid said...

Sengkang, the silk city. Ahh yes, I can still remember the clanking sound as we approach the little village on our bicycles. The stange sound of wood hitting each other in harmony,.. later only we found that the sound actually came from dozens of traditional weaving machine and they do this under their homes. Bugis houses are built on stilts and they have plenty of space below.

ARZ said...

Acid,

U remembered well my friend. And U certainly have fond memories too.