We parted with Jeffrey and Maya at the volcano overlook. We were headed to the Borobudur Temple. This UNESCO recognized 9th century temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and originally 504 and 300 of them are damaged Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. But, beware. As beautiful as it is, the walk out of the complex destroyed the image for me. The walk in is fairly straightforward. But leaving? They snake you in and around hundreds of booths with folks selling the same merchandise. How many times can you say no. After maybe 30 minutes of walking trying to leave, the aggravation of leaving far outweighed the beauty of seeing the temple. Next time I’ll look at the thousands of pictures on the internet, and go see a temple not overdone for tourist trade.
The day was scorching hot. After leaving the temple we beelined in the early afternoon for a hotel with air conditioning. Of course the first room they took us to the air conditioner didn’t work. With sweat still pouring off our bodies, we requested another room where the air conditioner would actually cool us. Like I said before, give me A/C, a European porcelain toilet and a bucket with cool water for a shower, and we’re happy.
Later that evening we were contacted by a couple European travelers about an American with a problem getting his motorcycle out of Indonesia. Seeing that we were about 2 hours from the shop where he left his motorcycle, we would visit in the morning to see if we could help straighten things out. All was good on the Indonesian side, but there was a huge lack of communication and understanding on the American side. I’ll keep the rest private, but the interaction led us to making a new friend at SuperMoto Biker. Roby, the shop owner and cross industry businessman, chatted with us then chauffeured us to the Forbidden City. We walked around and snapped a couple photos. Then he took us out to lunch to his favorite restaurant, so we could sample some local cuisine. All I can say about local cuisine is they love their hot chili peppers. My mouth was on fire, again.
Roby put together a ride for us on “The Tail of the Dragon Indonesia”. What a ride! It was an 85 km route from Pacitan to Tenggalek. The tar was great at times and then not so great at times. You just have to pay attention to where it changes. Maybe in a tight uphill corner with a truck passing another truck, in your lane with less than a foot of road for you. Dirt can be your friend sometimes, just watch out for the unguarded cliff next to the road. You get it, don’t you? Butt clenching moments, but Melanie is the best. She still keeps her cool and helps me navigate the shit.
Having a small, single cylinder bike with only one front disk causes overheating of the front caliper. The road are up and down, sometimes 1st gear, lean on tank climbs. Halfway through, maybe averaging 25-30 kph, we keep dragging in the corners. Stopping at a beautiful shade with a view, we check the bike. My muffler bracket had broke causing the muffler to dangle a bit, pushing down on the center stand, which is what was dragging. We stopped at the next town to get some water at an Indo Mart. Across the street is a small family-owned motorcycle repair shop. I go across the street to ask for a piece of wire to hold the muffler in place. They ask me to bring the motorcycle over to them, which I do. In less than 5 minutes they have the slip-on muffler off and whisk it down the street to get it welded. A little bit later it is back and on the bike. Cost for this repair? 50,000 Indonesian rupiah, or about US$ 3.30. Unbelievable. They are so happy just to have been able to help me.
It was hot and late in the day. Just across the road there is a hotel. Melanie runs across the street to see if they have air conditioning and how much for a room. The answer is yes to the air conditioning and the price is US$13. Done! Looking at the map we realize we are about 2 km from the Indian Ocean. As it cools off and the restaurants start to reopen (Ramadan) we take a quick ride to the coast to check it out. There are many Muslims out and about waiting for the same thing as us, sunset and food. We stopped at a popular chicken fast food restaurant and we are waiting for our turn for the food to come out. While we were eating, an excited couple ride in on a Kawasaki Versus 650. He is from Belgium and she is from Indonesia. There names are Yasmine and Marc. They are now married and living in Indonesia. We spent some time chatting before heading back to the hotel room.
The next couple days were spent riding to the ferry port in Kalipuro to get to Bali. We end up riding through an area of destruction caused by volcanic lava flow. Some of the roads have been rebuilt coming off the mountain but you still see many buildings covered with mud and ash. We find a hotel a few kms from the port to get an early ferry. Cost for the two of us and the bike? US $2.20.
Bali next, swimming in the south Java Sea, and to rest my MCL, which I seem to keep reinjuring. I really need to get this fixed someday. 😂
One comment on “Dragon’s Tail, Indonesia Style”
Great write up again Greg.
I hear ya about the overly commercialized tourist sites. That temple is amazing but the pressure to buy shit takes away the enjoyment. Your digs are cheap!! We’re in Marrakech now. Also stinking hot but exciting!