North Pekanbaru > Buatan (63km)

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I’ve changed my mind. The last 10 days, I explained to people I met along the road that I was going to Dumai (which is still true) but I would cycle from Pekanbaru to Duri and finally Dumai. That means I would follow the highway. Yesterday night, when I stopped at the Pertamina station, I was already on this highway which I did not really like. I looked on the map and discover a secondary road heading to the west of sumatra. I still have enough time to make that detour and it must be less crowded than that bloody truck road.

Map.

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This was my set up for the night in the Pertamina gas station. It rained a bit last night so I was happy to have the tarp.

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My personal garden ;-)

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Once ready, I cycled backwards for a kilometre then turn left and enjoy this road. Suddenly no noise, no traffic, so cool! :-)

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Ah, ok, this is why there is less traffic maybe. The road is now a path :-) Nevermind, I’ve got a mountain bike :-)

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The path was short and I’ve reached this road quite easily.

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The road is surrounded by oil palm trees.

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This is the first time in Indonesia I’m cycling on a good road with nearly no one on it.

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My fruit needs is still ongoing. Let’s take some bananas. 8.000 for one bunch, good :-)

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What is that? I did not know that Indonesia was growing plastic trees haha :-)

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As I said, a lot of oil palm trees in this area, a lot!

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This is lunch time. The weather is so hot and I’m happy to stop. I was looking for a place, pass front of this one first and kept cycling. Soon after a turn left there was a downhill followed by a uphill. I thought, well, no, not now… This is how I came back here. This is a classic meal I had several times now. Rice, kind of curry spicy sauce, spinach (I guess) and a piece of chicken or fish or both.


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What are they looking at?

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At this! That truck is slightly in trouble :-) It might be overcharged and tumbled, pouring all its trunk in the bush…

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Wow! what are they doing here? a road made with concrete! I’ve never seen such a thing before. As soon as I stopped, the chef (with the white helmet) and the two guys behind him came to me. They asked for “foto, foto”, ok ok :-)

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building the kind of road might be a cheapest way that using the classic bitumen. Look at the thickness of it. It’s about 40cm thick. I’m not sure is concrete is flexible enough to resist to the constant movement of the ground. It might crack on day or another. Well, they are the pro, I’m not.

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That’s a impressive job and a lot of concrete.

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Endless, and that’s only on side. They got work for a while.

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Hey, some more plastic trees. Looks like there is a local shop over there. I will find out what it is very soon.

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This fruits are guava. They are the one that grow in the plastic bags. I guess the reason is to protect them from the insects.

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Strange looking fruit. Looks like a pear but the outside texture is hard and “bumpy”.

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You cut it in half and take out the centre of the fruit. The rest is crunchy and not very sweet. When I met Winda three days ago and visited his place. He offered some different fruits from his garden, One of them was really similar at this one but this inside was soft and sweet. I could not eat the centre neither. The name of that fruit was “hijau” (means green). I feel it is the same fruit but not ripe yet. But the name is different… Well nevermind…

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This is family I met here.

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Vierana (on the left hand side) speaks english so we could communicate more easily. She lives further away in the next village. On the right hand side her sister she is visiting today.

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The previous family proposed me to stay with them for the night but I had to refuse. I want to cycle a bit further today to make sure I’m still on time and to anticipate any bad weather that could come other without any warning as it does usually here. I’ve seen a lot of buildings like these one the past days. Often, The family own a shop and live upstairs. The white building seems empty. Is the crisis hits also Indonesia? or it’s just a normal situation. No idea…

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Pertamina, I’m going to have a short break :-)

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This time I will try something different. Normally I chose a warung at dinner time and then decide where I go. This time I bought a takeaway so when I’m tired and find a good spot, I can just stop whenever I feel it’s right and have something to eat. This way, I won’t rely on anyone. When I want to sleep I sleep :-) I’ve ordered some sate ayam (chicken) with rice.

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I’m now cycling in Tualang and won’t stay around for the night. I’ve got time to go further.

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Few, that’s a long straight road!

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Huh! What’s happening here. It looks like there is a chinese influence in this area.

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Wow, I did not expect something like this. The map shows a road crossing the river but obviously this is not the case.

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As soon as I stopped there waiting for the ferry to come back, a crowd formed itself around me. I explained that I wanted to cross that river tonight and asked for the price. A guy came to me and asked 50.000. Yes of course, why not 100.000! Fortunately this time, I’ve got an idea of the price because I’ve used ferry twice. And the price was much lower than this. Bali to Java was 8500 and Java to Sumatra was… Ah, yes, I did not pay that time but it might be 20.000 max and the trip was a 30 minutes one. Here it’s just 1 minute or two. So I said 5.000. The guy said 20.000. I said “ayo, this is so expensive, I don’t care I can go back and take another road (well, it would be annoying). I said, 10.000 max. The guy finally said “ok”. I think it’s still expensive for what it is but it’s still much better than the first 50.000 that the guys asked for with a big smile telling me “oh, you the white guy, you have money”. During our bargain, I was talking with one of the guy who show off with his “Indonesian golden rings”. He asked: “Do you know these?”. I said proudly: “yes I know, look” And I got the ring given by the father at the warung few days ago. The guy looked at it and then take off one of his and give it to me. “This one is for you, you give me yours”. Well, this was a gift but I don’t really like rings so that’s okay. The deal was made and soon I was in the ferry.

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Well, the ferry is more like a tiny wooden boat! Hope I get on the other side without having to swim haha :-)

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Few guys hoped in the boat with me and did not pay anything of course. I’m the only tourist who pay for the others again. This is the game…

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 Nearly on the other side! Then I will continue cycling for a while. I want to get to the next crossroads tonight and then turn left towards Buatan. That way I will feel ok and sufficiently on time for my trip.


Good news, I did not have to swim and got on the over side of the river completely dry :-) The road to get to the intersection was kind of boring. There was nothing much to see and I was really happy to do it by night time. I turned on my super light, filled my bottle with water and started riding again! To get to the point where I will turn left there is three turns. The rest is straight but hilly. The traffic is constant but I feel safe. Many time, when a driver slow down behind me, waiting for overtaking me safely, I am cycling and think: “that’s okay you can go now, no problem”. But they don’t, they wait behind until they are sure they would not hurt me. Thank you guys! :-)

I finally reached the crossroads, turned left and found a bus stop where to sit and eat. When I opened the takeaway I ordered this afternoon, I realised that the woman did not really understand what I wanted. When she told me the price I was surprised. It was expensive. In fact, I did not have any rice at all but more than 20 sate sticks and the sauce. I packed everything back and moved to find a warung. The task was easy. Few minutes later I was seating on a chair, ordered some rice plus an ice tea and could enjoy my sate ayam :-)

My plan for the night did not worked exactly as I expected but I was not worried at all. I get used to it now:-) Now I was full, I just had to cycle a bit more towards Buatan and then find a good spot where to sleep. Fortunately, maybe 10 minutes later, a path headed in a palm forest. I had a look quickly and agreed with myself (I like when I’m agree with me haha) that it would be my garden for the night. I walked around to find the perfect good trees. The first pair I tried was too far away from each other so I had to find another pair. This is not a natural forest as they use is for production. So the trees have almost the same distance between each other. For a minute, I thought about going somewhere else and then I tried another two trees. This time it did work, lucky me!

I spent maybe 40 minutes to set up everything. The hammock needs only 5 minutes but the tarp counts many cords and needs a bit more precision to be well set up. Moreover, the ground is not leveled, palm tree branches lie on the ground, the grass is high and to sum up the whole thing, I am in thongs haha. When I decide something, I do it. So it took some time, but at the end I will be sure my hammock won’t look like a bathtub if the rain start pouring in the middle of the night. This is adventure and this is why I’m here :-) I’ll take pictures tomorrow morning because this is obviously too dark now. See ya!

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