Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tour of Indonesia 1 : Sumatera - Part 08

So, how do we end this?

I've been on the road for nearly a week.
My only connection to the outside world was with my mobile internet service.
So far, the SIMpati data package had worked out well. But at a cost, it really drains every Rupiah credited to it.
Breakfast is on the house, so, we had nasi goreng at the hotel's restaurant.
The food was so-so, but what made my day, was the good brewed coffee.
Our plan was to explore Dumai with our bikes.

Mohd Radzi, speaking to a hotel staff
Riding off to Bagan Keladi

As far as tourism is concerned, there's nothing much to do or see in Dumai.
And beneath the serenity of being a port town, this place has its dark past. Well, certain parts of Dumai is considered as a red-light district, serving port workers and sailors.
So, single guys like us would be sticking out like a sore thumb. We stayed off these paths and maintained our plan to explore the town.
That said, we rode off to Bagan Keladi.
This is a small village at the outskirts of Dumai where we get to sample the simple life among the villagers.
I found our kids in Malaysia literally spoilt.
The children here still play around their yard, some were spotted fishing at a canal.

Riding to Bagan Keladi
Kids, being kids!
The simple pleasures of life seen here on the face of the local boy
Fish caught to be used as live bait for the big one
Mission: Pulau Rupat...

After riding around Bagan Keladi, we set off to the ferry landing site.
There, a group of guys were manning the place.
They told us the ticket to Rupat costs around IDR 100,000.
An elderly man said we could take the "RoRo" service at a port nearby. 
He told us to head back towards Bagan Keladi.
Here's the thing about riding in a foreign place: try to take note and remember the landmarks.
If you are doing a solo ride, best to carry a notebook and jot down directions and names of important places.
So, we headed back towards the Dumai Dock Market, and right there at the junction, lies a sugarcane juice seller. 
There were people hanging around the area. This is a best place to ask.
While the sugarcane seller was preparing his cool beverage, I went up to an elderly man and asked: "Permisi Pak, Bisa Bertanya?" (Excuse me, may I ask?).
The man responded by acknowledging my query and told me that the RoRo (Roll on, Roll out) ferry terminal is just nearby.
We finished our sugarcane juice and cycled towards the jetty.

A Chinese Medium's house

Sugarcane hot off the rollers

Cooling off with some iced sugarcane juice
The Ferry's waiting area
It turned out that we were just in time for the arrival of the RoRo ferry.
For departures from the mainland, its on odd-hours.
Our ferry leaves at 01:00pm, plenty of time to hang around and wait.
And once it arrived, motorcycles, lorries and cars started to pack the ferry like sardines.
We had to put our bikes on a small lorry.
And the fare to get across from Dumai to Rupat on the RoRo ferry service costs about IDR 10,000 (RM2.67) one-way.
I told Mohd Radzi that there weren't much time and things to do on the island. Our mission was to get to a beach, put on our best Batik shirt for the camera!
It takes about 30-minutes for the ferry to land at the other side of the island and Rupat is no small dot on the map.
It's hugely under-developed and is the nearest point from Indonesia to the Malaysian Peninsular.

Me, riding in Rupat
A panoramic shot from the island
The Malaysian cycling tourists
The ferry is here! 

Back to the mainland...
Packing up the bikes...

After alighting from the RoRo ferry, we rode back towards town.
Since we didn't have lunch, I asked if we could swing by Bakso Lapangan Tembak in town.
Mohd Radzi agreed and we had some Es Buah and Bakso to line our stomach.
The rest of the evening was a treat at Rumah Makan Pak Datuk at Jalan Jendral Sudirman.
With the free time that I had summed up, I washed my bike and bagged it. That's it, no more riding for me.

Es Buah Bakso Lapangan Tembak

A wholesome meal at Pak Datuk

Mohd Radzi enjoying his Nasi Padang.. 
A nite cap!
Summary

With Rupat in the fold, we've done about 279km in total.
It was an interesting ride in a sense that we saw some really cool places.
The people of Sumatera are friendly in general and are willing to help travelers.
We've capped our budget at IDR 2million, which is just about right for nearly a week.
The bulk of our expenses were on hotels, being the most expensive in Dumai. 
During the journey home, the fucking baggage handlers broke my Ashima disk brake lever. I had to get replacement parts for this.. 
The next day, we hired a transport from the hotel to the port and began with our travel documents. 
Endured the three-hour journey and told my cycling buddy that the best way for me to get home was to hire a cab.
It cost me RM60, and I am short of time. Why? Because I need to send my wife to the airport on the same day.
And for the journey, I've done my best to educate Mohd Radzi on the know-hows in bicycle touring and hope that he could pick up some good skills and would be someday a ride leader..
This guy has plenty of potential, he needs to be street-smart and alert. Rather than being a follower, I guess he will rise to ranks of expedition organizer.. At the end of it, I did apologized to him if I had treated him harshly throughout the week-long journey.

Bonus treat: the whole journey summed up in eight minutes, yes, I produced a video!

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