Tag Archives: good food

Day 323 – Lucky peeps

Moment of truth...radiator all fixed up to be welded

Moment of truth…radiator all fixed up to be welded

Overnight, it got cool and our tent was wet in the morning. Either it had rained in the night or much condensation happened. Packing a wet tent isn’t ideal but we didn’t have time to wait around: We had an appointment at 8 am deciding our fate.

We didn’t buy food last night so we didn’t have anything for breakfast. Hoping to find an open bakery, we drove to the mechanic’s place and were half an hour early. Enough time to look around the small town and find something to eat.

Success! This hole has been fixed

Success! This hole has been fixed

The mechanic opened up at 7.50 am and saw us right away. With a long prelude about the risks of welding aluminium, he began to work. The motorbike radiator has small and thin fins so the chance of melting metal accidentally and creating a new hole while closing up the old one is substantial. However, the mechanic managed to close up the visible hole without creating a new one. So much relief. It is hard to tell you just how much relief we felt. To be completely certain that it is closed up now, the radiator was dunked into water and air was blasted through. We all watched out for tiny air bubbles but it was closed. Instead, air bubbles were released from a different location…we had a second hole.

This one was smaller and at the place where it’s fastened to the bike. It might have been created when taking out the radiator but it was still a problem now. Again, he fixed it and the next water bath test didn’t show any bubbles anymore. We could continue! *happy dance*

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

The workshop where the rest of Rocinante had spent the night opened at 9am so it was already open when we arrived. Needing help attaching the radiator back to the bike, staff promised us to make it happen between 11am and noon. Thus, we had a couple of hours to spend in Passau and started with a coffee and baked goods in another bakery. We passed some time at the river Danube but returned at 11 am to see how things were going. Rocinante was good to be clad in her plastic parts already! It took us another hour to fix up the bike, pack all our luggage back onto it and return the rental car. But at noon we were off!

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo's dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo’s dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

From here, we had another 300km to go to Würzburg and we did it in one go. No more stopping, no more messing around, just riding. Well, we kept an eye on the engine temperature just to be safe. The bike behaved all the way to Würzburg, or rather Sommerach, and both Flo’s dad and Silvia were over the moon to see us. We had a quick shower, a snack at the restaurant (so good! With fresh chanterelles!) and then watched the football game at their place.

Returning to the restaurant “Beim Zöpfleswirt” after the game, we had dinner together. Flo proved how much he had missed Silvia’s cooking by not only finishing his giant plate but his father’s as well. So lovely to see family again and be spoilt. 🙂

 

Day 225 – Reunions

One of the great inspiring websites for motorcycle travelers

One of the great inspiring websites for motorcycle travelers

The days get pretty same-y after a while. We have either done the homework we had or can not do it until I am healed up a bit more. That, still, is like watching rice grow. Agonizingly slow (yes, I am aware that one week is not a long time for an injury and it could be much worse – I am just not that good with waiting). I spent a little bit of time following up another potential option for shipping the bike, thanks to Peter.

Luckily, there are two things to keep us in good spirit: Good food and good company. The first one came in the form of delicious Indian food. The naan was the best we had in a long while. Once again the Lonely Planet held true, and judging by the long list for Chiang Mai, we won’t have to settle for bad food until we leave. Ok, well, we did actually, trying to grab a cheap bite before meeting up that night … but that was our own fault. 😉

Leonie and Peter - Amsterdam to Anywhere

Leonie and Peter – Amsterdam to Anywhere

That evening, we were set to see Leonie and  Peter again – plus Chantal (Chick on a chook chaser), who was on her way to Chiang Mai that day. We have last seen her in Dili and followed her trip updates on Facebook and her blog since. Once more, it was a lovely evening. We talked to Leonie and Peter for an hour or so about this, that and everything before Chantal joined us. It is amazing every time how often we meet fellow travelers and it just ‘clicks’ and after only a handful of hours you end up talking about real heartfelt stuff that one normally only shares with good friends.

Chantal arrived and filled us in on her latest exploits. So we hung around, nursing the one

Chantal - Chick on the chook chaser

Chantal – Chick on the chook chaser

drink we all had budget for until we got finally booted out near midnight again. Best of all, we did not even have to say goodbye, since we are all staying another day in town!

Day 141 – Flight mode

In a sudden turn of events, we found ourselves in the same Dunkin’ Donuts outlet having the same breakfast as two days ago. Although this time, I was on the phone sorting out a new credit card (forgot mine at the ATM and the bank did not find it). Glad I am still with an NZ bank, everything is so dead easy.

The remaining distance to the harbour in Tanjungbalai is about 190 km. After a bit of a painful slog through the suburbs of Medan, we hit the overland route down the coast. It seems to be a general issue in Indonesia that traffic is worst in a ring around the city proper. Inside, there are dual lane thoroughfares and arterial roads. But further out, urban growth meets underfunded communities and single lane overland highways get swallowed by urban sprawls, leading to an utter collapse at times.

It once again took almost all day to get there. With just riding and a short lunch break, we arrived in Tanjungbalai at 2 pm. The ride was uneventful but also a bit typical for the last two month. We were either going 100 km/h with little traffic through palm plantations and fields, or breaking as hard as we could to avoid interchangeably overloaded Chinese trucks going 30 km/h or oncoming traffic overtaking on our side (preferably buses). We both started fantasizing about Malaysian motorways.

Nina’s comment: The sheer amount of attempts to kill us on this road were staggering. Cars get stuck behind slow vehicles and if they see only a motorbike coming towards them, they will pull out to overtake while flashing their lights at you, communicating “I am committed to overtaking. If you don’t want to die, better get off the road”. It doesn’t matter to them that Rocinante is as wide as a car…

Flo joined into the frenzy

Flo joined into the frenzy

In town, I went with the GPS coordinates provided by Dean in a thread on Horizons Unlimited. The harbour is in the filthiest area I have seen in my life up to this point. The stench of rotting fish and feces hung over it and it evoked images from Gangs of New York. Overall, Tanjungbalai is probably the rattiest place we have been to, yet. It pretty much never seems to see any bule. Wherever we stopped, people started begging. We could not wait to get out.

The ferry terminal was closed, but we contacted Mr Ade, a local agent / fixer familiar with getting motorbikes through and sorted out the carnet de passage while we were waiting. When Ade did arrive, he was a bit miffed that we had done so on our own and explained there is nothing more to do today. Meet-up at the port would be tomorrow 9 am. He then insisted on getting us to a hotel – tired and exhausted we followed him on a wild ride through town.

Our bike being returned to a sparkly self. It cost us $4 to get it done

Our bike being returned to a sparkly self. It cost us $4 to get it done

The suggested place looked derelict, but we were too knackered. In hindsight, we should have trusted our instincts there. So we checked in to the overpriced dungeon of filth and started our daily routine. After my shower I went to find a place to wash the bike to prepare it for a potential day on deck of a boat. There was one place just across the street – when Rocinate came back, we almost did not recognize her. All sparkly and shiny 🙂

When I was back, Nina casually asked me what all the sand in the bed was about. I got a bad feeling and sure enough moments later I found the first bedbug running from my probing. It was not sand but thousands of bedbug eggs littering the bed. Needless to say, we ran. The landlady tried to move us to another room, which looked even worse, but we were out of there.

Rocinante sleeping in the hallway of our hotel

Rocinante sleeping in the hallway of our hotel

The next hotel was moldy and overpriced as well, but at least free of creepy crawlies living in the mattress, so exhausted as we were we stayed. We even could park our bike inside the hall in front of our room.

With another hour wasted, we only wanted some food and then get to bed to be ready for tomorrow. Just two doors down we found a yard with a bunch of obviously Chinese-run businesses and were warmly invited to have a seat. One of the patrons spoke English very well and we got talking. A cook was called and we got offered some fruit while we were waiting. It was an interesting conversation with a glimpse on the perspective of the many Chinese immigrants in Indonesia. The food was great, but a little decadent. I had fresh giant prawns and a chicken dish, Nina had a deep fried tofu hot plate. So good.

The day ended with a frustrating phone call by the agent and his niece translating for him. The price negotiations were frustratingly one sided. This is currently the only known route for overland bikers and the parties involved know they are sitting on a monopoly. The final price was 40% higher than what the last traveler paid, but it was a take it or leave it offer …