I couldn’t wait to finish my journey because, after the Malaria, my immune system is weak and I get sick so easily and I am unable to enjoy the journey anymore. I thought that as soon as I reached Java, everything would be easy, because Java is so familiar for me.
Everything went smoothly until I arrived in Central Java and my bike’s crank case broke again. The last time it happened was in Kalimantan and it was so expensive to fix and stopped me for a few days, so I was so scared I could not continue my journey anymore. Lucky me, my bike broke down near to the police station, so I stayed a night at the police station and the next day the policemen helped me fix my bike. They put it on their pickup truck and we set off for the garage. It turned out they didn’t tie it on properly so a few minutes after we set off, my bike fell off the back of the pickup and was dragging along the road. I was heartbroken and I thought that this was certainly the end of my journey. But amazingly, my bike survived and, after a whole day welding my bike and fixing it, I was so happy to be able to ride again.
It was almost Eid Mubarak (in Indonesia we call it “Lebaran”) when I reached Jakarta so I decided to stop and continue later after the celebrations. Almost 80% of the population in Indonesia is Muslim so Eid Mubarak is major holiday. In Indonesia, we have a tradition called “Pulang Kampung” which literally means “return to the village” and, before Eid Mubarak, millions of Indonesians return home to spend the holiday with their family. Usually ten days before and after Eid Mubarak, every highway in Java and Sumatra will be full of hundreds of kilometers of chaotic traffic and traffic jams. I decided it was safer to spend the holidays in Jakarta and wait until the traffic was back to the normal before I continued.
While in Jakarta, I went to a safety riding course and learned a lot of stuff. The trainers there were fun and very friendly. I also did an interview for national television and few local media companies. After the big holiday was over, I continued my journey. I was so excited because Sumatera was the last big island on my journey and also because I would meet my close friends in Padang at one of their weddings.
On the way to Padang, an overloaded truck had got stuck climbing a hill and was blocking the road. It was raining and slippery and the space left by the truck was not enough to drive my bike through. A normal motorbike could get through but my bike is very hard to ride on bad roads and gets stuck so easily. In the end, all the truck drivers got together and pushed my bike around the truck and also helped me to walk through the mud. Afterwards, they were all so happy posing for pictures, and it was so much fun. It was almost dark by the time I continued, so I quickly found a place to sleep.
As soon as the sun came out, I continued my journey. It was around 7 am when I saw a small shop and decided to get a coffee. The shop was located on the right, so I put on my indicators, got into position to turn and then stopped in the middle of the road waiting for the oncoming traffic to pass. A few second later, I was hit from behind and my bike and I both fell into the road. It turned out that two teenage girls were not paying attention and had crashed right into the back of me. I was so shocked and wanted to report it to the police, but the police station was 10 km away and the whole village was on the girls’ side because they are local and I am just a stranger. So I took pictures of the girls and their bike and asked for their parents’ phone numbers. The villagers took the girls to the hospital while I kept calling their parents. Finally, their uncle came to talk to me. He was really rude and didn’t apologise or accept responsibility, so I decided to make a police report. The girls didn’t have a driving license and weren’t even wearing helmets so the law should be completely on my side, even though this is normal in the village in Indonesia and children of 10 years old are allowed to ride motorbikes on the main roads. My bike was damaged, so I drove very slowly to the police station and tried to make a police report. The police said the law is not important because it’s their culture and their village and so it’s okay for the girls to drive their motorbike without a license and without helmets simply because their house is a few kilometers from the school. I was so angry at the police because the accident was entirely the girl’s fault – so many people witnessed the accident and saw the girls hit me from the back. After some time, the parents came with the village head and apologized and offered to fix my bike at the village workshop. I didn’t like this idea, because village mechanics usually do more harm than good. I just wanted my bike to be able to get me to the next big city, Padang, where I could fix it properly. In the end, we all went to the workshop and then found out the mechanic cannot fix my bike because he doesn’t have enough tools. My bearing was broken, my tire was flat, the metal plate attaching my extra wheels was bent, and the mud guard was broken also. We calculated how much it was going to cost and the parents finally paid seven hundred thousand rupiah ($50) because they could only afford that much. At this point, I couldn’t stop crying because I was so upset and angry. Everyone was asking me to go to the hospital but all I was thinking is about was my bike. I was so scared that I could not finish my journey. Upset and angry, I continued really slowly to Padang. My tire was dragging on the broken suspension and so it exploded some way along the road. A workshop near by gave me old tire to replace the broken one and I continued.
Because I rode so slowly, I needed to stop another night before Padang. I stopped at a police station to get my logbook signed and one of the policemen offered me to stay at his house. I stayed in the room with his daughter and we slept in the same bed.
I had put my valuable items on the bed next to us and in the morning, when I woke up the daughter wasn’t there anymore. The mother said she had moved to another room. I didn’t feel anything wrong until I left the house and checked my wallet and realized that I no longer had the seven hundred thousand rupiah that I was given to fix my bike. It was so annoying because I thought that a police officer’s house would be a safe place. I was so disappointed but there was not much I could do.
Finally, I arrived in Padang safely. I went to my friend’s house there and stayed there. I parked my bike outside and decided to fix it later after the wedding. The next day, my other close friend came and we stayed in a hotel room together. It felt nice to be surrounded by good friends.