Monday, November 21, 2011

Gunung + Sawah + Matahari Terbit = Death

Let me start by translating the title so you have a slightly better idea of what this post is about.  "Mountains + Ricefields + Sunrise = Death"  Ok so you may have to read a little farther to figure out what even that means!

Just as sure as my legs were throbbing and my eyes were burning from sweat pouring into them I knew I was going to write this post and share this experience with you. 

It all started last week when I finally got my main mode of transportation... a bicycle.  I was excited because now I could get out and ride around town and pick things up if need be or just go exploring if the desire struck me.  "What better way to start learning my way around town than to ride around with two older, more experienced riders?", this thought was my first mistake.  So the guys I was to ride with tell me to meet them outside the main campus gate at 5:30am.  I normally only get up that early to go fishing, but hey when in Rome right! 

5:30 rolls around and we all show up at the gate and we take off.  Now when we take off I am expecting to ride around town and kind of learn the area and where things are.  We were on an actual road for maybe about 8 minutes before we left pavement and/or concrete.  I know it was about 8 minutes because I remember looking at my watch thinking "Yeah I have kept up with these guys pretty good so far!"  It wouldn't be much longer before I was gasping for breath and they would be waiting on me to make up the 200-300 yard gap between me and them. 

Anyway after about 8 minutes on the road we turned off onto this tiny trail that cut through knee high grass, and we proceeded to follow it until we came to a clearing.  We paused only for a moment in the clearing to soak up the early morning sun with a view of square, lush, green rice paddies with a gorgeous mountain range as a backdrop.  Then we took a little muddy trail that went along the edge of these rice paddies, and I was ok until Sid yells back at me not to go off the trail because it is a good three foot drop to the bottom of the paddies. 

Now up until this point we had mostly been going downhill or so the two guys I was with said, I still don't know if they were lying to me about it mostly being downhill or if my legs were lying about it being uphill.  We eventually turn off the little trail through the rice paddies and cut through a tiny little village out in the middle of no where.  By this time my "permisi" ("excuse me")  had begun to turn into a gasping "capai"("I'm tired") as we passed Indonesians along the way.  It wasn't much farther until we stopped again and Sid asked if we were ready to head back, this was slightly devastating because I was already secretly hoping that we were on our way home to a warm shower and a cozy bed. 

As we head back my legs are beginning to feel more and more ragged.  Toward the end of the ride we had to take what seemed to me HUGE hills, but the two older guys just conquered them like they were nothing.  So most of these hills resulted in them waiting for me at the top as I tried to catch up.  It probably didn't seem like it but I was trying my hardest to keep up, I was pumping my exhausted legs as hard as they would go and even though I had my bike on the lowest gear ratio I felt like I was pulling a stubborn mule up the hill behind me.  I also feel the need to mention that my gasping "capai" as we passed people had now turned to a barely audible, doggedly exhaled "sangat capai" ("VERY tired"). 

I have never been so relieved to see the "Hati-Hati" ("careful" also meaning slow down in this case) sign sitting in the road in front of the school telling me that I would survive to write the post I had envisioned through stinging sweaty eyes.  As completely spent as I was after that ride I am excited to recover and go out with those guys again because I am so far convinced that this is the absolute best way to experience the beauty of Indonesia.

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