Friday 6 Jan, 2017. Sape to Bima. 17th cycling day. 4 hours 36 minutes. 51.1 km. Average 11.1 km/h. 579 metres up, 567 meters down.
A good day starts and ends with a good sleep, wouldn’t you agree? Last night I slept terribly so I was a bit of a walking zombie today.
School is back and all the children were very neatly dressed in their brown and beige uniforms walking to and from school, returning home for lunch.
The road was good and there was only a moderate hill climb but it was all very tough going for me. This matched the environment around me which didn’t feel as fresh as Flores. There were some lovely scenes of flourishing rice paddies but there were also plenty that had been left unattended and either dry or flooded. There was also growing, but little evidence of anything else.
Bakso and ice tea for lunch. No fruit to be seen either in or between villages.
Over priced hotels in Bima but I find one with a lovely receptionist, a short man with wonky teeth called, I think Gu Gu.
I wash my bike and swap the back tyre, with rubber worn down under the weight of myself and panniers to the less worn front one.
A much needed afternoon rest in my aircon room after doing my daily chore of washing riding clothes. I may have flushed a sock down the drain way back when, but it turns out I’ve only needed two. In the evenings I’m often wearing thongs, or going sock less in runners.
“Where you going?” Gu Gu asks as I’m leaving the hotel just after 5pm. Food, mate. Famished. He suggests I couldn’t possibly find food on my own and insists I jump on the back of his motorbike.
He explains that Bima looks particularly bad because it’s just flooded. Which I can see. Mud and rubbish line the streets.
He takes me to the night market and a beautiful fish is fried up for me and packed with bags of rice and condiments for 25k. Gu doesn’t order. It’s your standard Friday take away fish and chips, only of course it’s fish and rice. Eat it on the balcony of the hotel and show Gu photos of back home and of my trip.
He brings me a towel and a blanket. Have another wash and go to bed sleeping soundly.
Saturday 7 Jan, 2017. Bima to Manggelewa. 18th cycling day. 6 hours 33 minutes. 81.65 km. Average 12.4 km/h. 664 metres up, 562 meters down.
Gu greets me as I’m leaving and again offers to help me find food. I offer some resistance but he is insistent. I follow him to a warung for a good solid meal and encourage him to eat so I can pay back some of his kindness. He does.
He directs me to follow him so he can take me to the right road. We high five and he turns right back to the hotel while I turn left to continue my journey west.
I was due to stop in a city called Dompu but on the back of a good night’s sleep, a pre 7am getaway, and gentle terrain I push forward to Manggelewa. No hotels on any maps I can find but I’m directed up a street where I find two. Both are new. Neither have any signs and would be difficult to spot without the help of locals.
Successfully bargain accommodation for the first time this trip, 100 down from 150.