North and East Kalimantan: A cyclists overview

There is no disguise even in local attire, (Maybe its the Notre Dame jersey). I am close to twice the size of the locals!

There is no disguise for me even in local attire, (Maybe its the Notre Dame jersey). I am close to twice the size of the average Indonesian!

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! .

Indonesian Durian Instant coffee (4 in 1)

Indonesian Durian Instant coffee (4 in 1)

 

My hosts in the village of Kelay

My hosts in the village of Kelay

The largest Islamic center in Asia, Samarinda City

The largest Islamic center in Asia, Samarinda City

Gaby loaded on another speed boat destined for the jungle

Gaby loaded on another speed boat destined for the jungle

Local Bob Marley Van. People love Reggae here!

Bob Marley Loire. The headlights even had Marijuana leafs painted on them!

Indonesian dragon fruit

Indonesian dragon fruit

Es Campur, Indonesian roadside desert. Ice, tapioca, coconut milk, fruit and bread

Es Campur, Indonesian roadside desert. Ice, tapioca, coconut milk, fruit and wonder bread

Ever seen a dragon fruit plant?

Ever seen a dragon fruit plant? These were growing all over the roadside, and I never would have guessed had I not seen the fruit. The plant is actually a type of succulent.

Line of cars waiting at a remote jungle gas station

Line of cars waiting at a remote jungle gas station. Some people had been waiting in line for close to 4 hours to fill up!

DCIM102GOPRO

My Indonesian hosts in the city of Samarinda. I asked the gentlemen on the right for directions at a busy intersection he then invited me to his home and invited me to lunch with his family. He gave me a sarong when I left.

 

"Gado Gado" lady. She walks around the city of Balikpapan with this tray on her head making fresh peanut sauce, with rice cake and vegetables

“Gado Gado” lady. She walks the streets of Balikpapan with a large wooden tray on her head making fresh peanut sauce, with rice cake and vegetables to the owners of small businesses.

6 thoughts on “North and East Kalimantan: A cyclists overview

  1. Julian, I am still loving your posts and have started to share them with my “friends” on FB. I am wondering…..is the music yours as well? Love it. Stay well.

    • Hey Buttons!! I am glad that you liked the video and happy to hear that you are sharing them with friends. Some of the music is mine, but most is from Indie artists I find online. The last song was from a band called “Vetiver”. I will be in Java on Monday and probably in Bali by mid May. I did not hear back from your daughter but please let me know if you have any contacts. Take care!! -Julian

  2. Hi Julian,

    Sounds like some tough peddling. I recall the relief on Sulawesi is pretty severe. Did you get up to the Toraja Highlands? The burial customs of the people there are pretty interesting. Hang in there on the tough climbs; when you get to Bali you can chill-out on the beach with a tall one..

    My best,
    Chuck

    • Nice to hear from you Chuck!! I am so impressed by your knowledge of the places I have traveled!! But to tell you the truth the hills in Sulawesi were a breeze compared to Kalimantan, even the steep mountain climb to Toraja seemed flat compared! The burial customs were definitely interesting, but I found the landscape and Feng Shui more profound! Sulawesi is officially behind me now, and will begin pedaling Java on Sunday. Will be traveling to Borobudur, Bromo volcano and on to Bali before heading to Australia. I will be back in the states for my Mums 60th in late July, maybe we can finally get that beer! Take care and thanks for following, Send my love to Freddy! -Julian

  3. Hi Baba Ju,

    Sounds like you’re having quite a trip in Kalamantan and Derawan. That government boss seemed like a total trip. Glad you were able to hang out with alot of bubbas.

    I’m thinking about you and wishing I were there to do the classic arms spread out pose in pictures. I’ve been back on my bike for the past two weeks, bike carefully.

    Love you!
    Baba Lu

    • Thanks for the comment Lu, and there will be plenty of time to do “arm spread out” photos when we cycle Canada. BTW have you done any research as to what where and what route we should take? -Julian

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