Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tour of Indonesia 1 : Sumatera - Part 03


After three hours in the cabin, I peeked out the boat's window and noticed that we were approaching the port town of Dumai in Sumatera.
My last visit to this place was 22 years ago.
The boat's captain had allowed us to snap some shots on the starboard deck.
I can see the shoreline, with rows of fuel tanks and ships anchored off Dumai.
It took about 30-minutes for the ferry to berth, while some passengers had actually disembarked, some were engrossed watching "Captain Phillips" on the cabin's entertainment system. 

We had access to the bridge when the board in nearing the shore

Dumai port
Breaking my own rules..

Never handout money to baggage handlers. 
I did a stupid mistake by giving RM5 to an elderly man who pointed out my bike to me.
He thanked me and walked into the boat. 
I just realized that I had been conned.
So, I grabbed the bike, walked up to the Customs and Immigration booth to get my travel documents stamped.
The bikes had to be scanned by the Indonesian Customs and one of them asked: "Pergi touring ke mana?" (where are you headed to?), I told him that I am headed to Pekanbaru.
We cleared Customs and while we were setting up the bikes, a man approached and asked where we were from.
Seems that very few tourists actually visit Dumai.
I asked him where the ferry service office were and was told to head off to Jalan Jendral Sudirman. 
His directions weren't correct as we took a longer route towards the town centre.

Mohd Radzi with our lunch

A friendly cyclist we met in Dumai

Pak Datuk Nasi Padang, famous in Dumai
Whenever in doubt: ask..

I sensed that we were headed on the wrong direction and decided to pull over t ask a oil company worker.
He pointed us to the right direction and we rode past the town's police station and turned right towards Jalan Jendral Sudirman.
The ferry services office was on this road and I told Mohd Radzi to sort out the tickets.
I also gave him some money to be used for food and accommodation.
At the ferry ticketing office, we met a friendly local. 
He told us that the ride to Duri, our destination takes about two hours and it's five hours to Pekanbaru.
I think this dude is some sort of local Shaman on a bike as I learned that it was impossible to get to Duri in such a short time.
We had lunch at Nasi Padang Pak Datuk. This is one of the most famous makan place in Dumai and should not be missed.

Riding out of Dumai
Just bad roads out of town
Truckers buying their drinks from a street vendor
Getting our mobile internet connection

Dust particles kicked up by heavy vehicles

At the outskirt of Duri
Pushing it and it wasn't Radzi's day...

We rode out towards the route to Duri and Pekanbaru at 03:00pm.
Shortly after leaving town, Mohd Radzi had a flat tire near Bukit Kapur.
We pulled over at a roadside stall to facilitate repairs.
His Dahon Eco 7's rear tire had a flat. And while he was trying to change the inner tube, he realized that it was the wrong valve.
The guy didn't even had a patch kit and speaking of the state of preparedness, ALWAYS ensure that you have adequate recovery tools and the right equipment.
I didn't do much but watch as he put things together.
By the time the flat tire's inner tube was replaced, we've lost at least half an hour on the road.
Our ride resumed on the Jalan Lintas Sumatera and after two hours of cycling, I signaled to pull over.
We were at a mobile phone stall and asked if they had prepaid Data and Voice SIM card.
The stall owner had gladly obliged by selling us the Indonesian SIMpati package.
This is high-speed internet and we needed a data package to work with Google Maps to check our distance and location.
I had my Motorola Moto G for this task and by the time were able to pinpoint our location, we were three hours away from Duri.
As daylight was shorter in this part of the world, I told Mohd Radzi to mount his headlights.
We rode for another two hours before reaching the outskirts of Duri, a town that thrives on Petroleum.
Shortly before reaching the town centre, we pulled over at a roadside stall.
My water bottle was almost empty and we rode in the dark for nearly three hours.
Based on what I read, the distance from Dumai to Duri is roughl about 59km.
But it actually took longer than that. 
My Garmin EDGE 800 cycling GPS recorded 79km.

Broke another rule in traveling..

"Never travel on weekends.." That was my written rule on bicycle touring.
Why? Hotels with vacant rooms are hard to find and rates are usually higher.
We rode into Duri to learn that most of the hotels there were occupied.
I can see the disappointment on Mohd Radzi's face and told him to keep on looking.
Later, we found a Wisma (Guest house) called Harapan Bunda and the rate's about IDR ((Indonesian Rupiah) 102,000 which is about RM32 per night.
Before we commit to renting the place for a night, I told Mohd Radzi to scout the room, see if it's clean.
The lady who offered us the night's stay said there's no hanky-panky at her guest house.
After checking out the place, I decided that it's a go.
We've bunked in for the night and purchased our drinking water from a hypermart opposite the guest house.
After doing my laundry and charging the GPS, it was time to hit the sack and prepare for the long ride to Minas the following day...

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