Tonight I depart on the midnight ferry for the island of Sulawesi, about 200 miles east of Borneo. The road from Tanjung Selor (Capital city of North Kalimantan) to Balikpapan (Capital city of East Kalimantan) was probably one of the hardest routes I have cycled. Hills on par with “Los Gatos De Luz” (a super steep almost never ending hill in my home town of Murrieta) encountered on a daily basis, under a magnifying glass like sun in 90% humidity. The Indonesia people however have made the difficult journey rewarding and have treated me with such kindness and generosity that I often felt like family! The Arabic word “Musafir” often comes up in conversation which formerly means “guest” but usually refers to Muslim pilgrims who are en-route to Mecca. I was often offered home cooked meals, with a room to sleep in for the night. Lunch was often packed for me the next day and on several occasions I was offered money. I posed for average of 5 photographs on a daily basis and was constantly greeting by passing trucks and motorbikes.
I do hope the roads of Sulawesi offer some respite from the physical hardships of the last two weeks. But as always I am patient and open to experience what lies ahead. It may be a while until I can post again, but will do as soon as possible. My route in northern Sulawesi will begin in the city of Palu and head south to Makassar. From Makassar I will then head to Java by ferry, exploring Borobudur, Surabaya and Bali before flying to Darwin Australia . I will mostly travel on the newly completed trans-Sulawesi highway so the road conditions should be a lot better than Kalimantan! .