26 May 2010

CYCLING JAVA, INDONESIA - Jakarta to Bandung

29/30 March 2010
Jakarta – Bogor

We seemed to be cycling less and less. The road was congested the entire way from Jakarta to Bogor. Bogor is world renowned for its historical botanical gardens and we could hardly cycle past without a visit to the park. We found accommodation close by at Puri Bali Homestay for a reasonable price and with lovely old spacious rooms. We spent the following day exploring the gardens - and what an impressive haven it was.

31 March 2010
Bogor – Cibodas

We climbed up the volcanic slopes to the Puncak Pass, which took the best part of the day but offered stunning views of the surrounding mountains and tea plantations. Ernest was still suffering from bronchitis and on the downhill it started raining, so we started looking out for a roadside room.

Disaster! As I went up a wet concrete ramp to check on a room I slipped and fell. I immediately knew something was seriously wrong as I went into spasms and couldn’t stop shaking. I sensed that Ernest was irritated by my clumsiness but he still went with me (by taxi) in search of medical assistance. X-rays revealed a dislocated shoulder and two fractures, but the local hospital wasn’t equipped for further treatment so they referred me to a specialist in Cianjur about 20km away. Off we went in another minivan but the doctor was out of town and we made an appointment for the following afternoon.

So I spent an uncomfortable night back in the “disaster-zone room” (which we’d been forced to rent), sucking on pain-killers.

1 April 2010
Cibodas – Cianjur
By minivan

I managed to charter a local minivan to take me, the bike and the bags to the larger town of Cianjur, where I had an appointment with the specialist. All the effort was in vain, as I was again referred to doctors in the city of Bandung about 65 km away. What a schlep, I just hate things like this! Cycling was out of the question, so all I could do was take more pain-killers and go to bed.

As if I didn’t have enough problems, earlier in the day my credit card got stuck in the ATM. Fortunately it happened at a bank which was still open, but it was still a big rigmarole getting the card back – obviously not my week!!

2 April 2010
Cianjur – Bandung
By minivan

It is such a mission to organize things if you don’t speak the language. When I enquired about a minivan to Bandung the hotel staff thought I wanted to exchange money!? In the end I flagged down a minivan, negotiated a fee and set off for Bandung. I could not believe Easter weekend was such a big event in Indonesia (the most populous Moslem country in the world), as hotels were fully booked and one could only get a room at prime rates. There wasn’t much else to do but pay the price and sms Ernest where to find me (he was still following by bicycle).

By this time my arm had swollen to double its normal size and it was on fire. I went to a reputable private hospital in the city, just to discover that there was little they could do but put the arm in a sling and give more painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine. At least the painkillers seemed to working better than the stuff I had up to then.

3 April 2010

There was no doubt that I would not be able to cycle for some time, so I had to make a quick plan. I decided to leave all my belongings at the hotel and fly back to South Africa for a month, while waiting for the silly arm to mend. Fortunately there was a travel agent directly next to where we stayed and in no time at all I was bound for South Africa (albeit a huge credit card overdraft). I bought Ernest a plane ticket as well, but he didn’t seem all that pleased about it (Was it because his trip was being put on hold?) Whatever the reason, he was rather miserable.

4 April
Bandung – Jakarta
By bus

It was another mission just getting to Jakarta airport from Bandung (chartered minivan with bikes from hotel to bus station plus three hour bus ride to the airport) – all this while I was in constant pain and had a splitting headache as well, not even the medicine seemed to help. On top of that we still had 8 hours to wait for our flight which was at half past midnight. Just to crown it all, I puked 2 airsick-bags full before the plane even took off!! Now that is what I call “things not going to plan”.

5 April
Jakarta – Cape Town, South Africa
By plane

Wow, what a long, long day it was. Hours and hours in the air – via Dubai (that’s what happens if you live at the Southern tip of Africa) eventually we arrived in Cape Town where I spent just as many hours chatting to my sisters while drinking numerous glasses of wine. I was, however, more that relieved to be off that darn aircraft and snug in a real home, eating my favorite dish (macaroni cheese) of which a huge bowl was awaiting me as I stepped into Karin’s home.

6 April – 11 May 2010
Cape Town

It was party after party, pizzas galore, and after many good bottles of wine it was time to head back to Indonesia and continue where we’d left off. It was great to see my friends and family again, and even after extending our departure for a week, 5 weeks were just not enough to catch up with everyone. It was a concern that my shoulder was not yet completely right - now really, tell me, how long does it take for a bone to grow on?!

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