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Finally it goes on again!

After 6 years since the start of the world tour, 40 countries and almost 140,000 km, I had decided to leave the BMW F 650 Dakar in the Philippines, to fly back to Switzerland to buy a new device from the To have the TOURATECH company rebuilt and then send it directly to Jakarta, where the third stage should begin.

The Dakar had reliably brought me halfway around the world and apart from the normal wear parts, a regulator, a fuel filter and a broken cockpit mount, nothing broke (I attribute the big trouble I had with the shock absorber to Wilbers and not to BMW) . It had always brought me reliably to my destination and it has proven to be robust and reliable in a wide variety of conditions. The only quirk, as it turned out, was the cold start after a night over 4,000 meters. The air was probably too thin and I had to be pushed regularly (or rolled up). The clock shows a total of approx. 155,000 km, the engine has never been opened and all seals are still the first (except for the fork). Amazing, but great of course! As I know I have a second home in the Philippines, I now have a good motorcycle there that should actually serve me for a few more years. Since the damage is guaranteed to come, because everything mechanical will inevitably wear out, and I didn't want to risk being stuck in the middle of the outback of Australia or e.g. in Siberia or Mongolia with a major damage, the decision made double sense. Now the only question was about the successor model. After various test drives on various possible models and after reading test and experience reports, I finally decided on the BMW F 800 GS. 35 HP more power and only a little heavier than the 650, but still not nearly as heavy as the 1200. An excellent choice, as it turned out ...


My new BMW F 800 GS converted by TOURATECH

But first I had to get the bike from Indonesian customs, which was a tricky mission. Sensitive because the officials were a corrupt gang. But one after anonther…

I had contact with a biker via Facebook Jakarta. I was kindly allowed to live with him and his family. He took 2 days off especially for me to help me trigger the motorcycle. It was sorely needed because nobody could (or wanted to) speak English. On the first day we were sent from office to office in order to be back in the first office in the evening. Nothing, absolutely nothing, had moved at the end of the day! Everyone was playing stupid or obviously unwilling to take my case. It was very frustrating. On the second day, Bernard, my companion, said that we would probably not be able to avoid a so-called "moneyshake". A moneyshake is a handshake in which a banknote folded in the palm of your hand changes hands. So we started the next day with a moneyshake and lo and behold, we were immediately sent two steps friendlier to the right office. The next moneyshake moved the man to call his superior and he, in turn, fished out the correct papers after the moneyshake he received. We were even asked to come to the area behind the counters and to a table. We were left there for a while, until the next higher officer had a little chat with my companion (without a moneyshake!) And then in turn fetched his superior (the badges on the shoulder got more and more extensive). Obviously, now with the boss in front of us, he and Bernard chatted for a while about something. Of course, I only noticed the train station. But then suddenly there was movement in the matter. Later I asked Bernard what she had said and why everything suddenly went so smoothly. Bernard only said that he had told the boss that I would drive around the world and would be accompanied and supported by the Swiss embassies. If he did not cooperate immediately, he would have problems with the Swiss embassy and thus political problems. What a fucking rascal! Presumably he was feeling queasy now and he was no longer at ease. He suddenly told one of his subordinates to get a certain stamp. And now he actually asked me in English (the bastard already knew a little English!) What to do with the carnet. Apparently they had no idea how to deal with a carnet. He explained to me that Indonesia is not a member of the customs agreement (although it is mentioned on the back of the carnet). Apparently, Parliament never ratified the agreement. That meant I should receive a separate letter that would provide a temporary import permit. I would then have to hand in the paper when leaving the country (in reality no cock crawled for the paper when leaving the country. The carnet was stamped and the exit formalities were ready). In any case, I received the letter, the carnet was stamped according to my instructions and the boss instructed another employee to go with us to the warehouse. On the way to the warehouse, of course, the guy also took his toll. Another little king sat in the warehouse. His empire was the warehouse and everything danced to its tune. Of course he also demanded his obolus. After the usual question and answer game, he finally instructed the forklift driver to fetch the box from the depths of the warehouse. The officer who was supposed to check the goods took a quick look after opening the box, recognized a motorcycle, ticked the papers and it was good. Nothing, absolutely nothing, he had checked. Not even the chassis number. I could have introduced anything. When I think back to Mexico, where they picked up and checked every single piece of luggage. I guess that's one of the benefits of corruption ...

In any case, thanks to the graffiti and the abstruse story of Bernard, we got the motorcycle out of customs within a day. And since it was already Friday, I was able to save the storage fees over the weekend. But now another exciting part came up to me, namely to circling through the incredibly dense and crazy traffic of Jakarta with a fully loaded motorcycle. While we were putting the motorcycle back together under the curious eyes of around 20 warehouse workers, chauffeurs and ramp workers, more and more members of my companion Bernard's motorcycle club arrived. He called them and told them that it was slowly getting through Jakarta to escort. I mention this because it was an amazing show the guys put on. Their motorcycles, all small bikes with a maximum of 250 cc, were decorated with various light decorations, some had blue lights and sirens like the police and behaved like them. Driving in the middle of the lane, they shooed the cars with hand signals or sometimes also knocking on the roof or fenders, aside and practically drove the oncoming traffic in front of the radiator and stuck their foot towards them, so that they had to evade and we a nice alley of about 2 meters. For me, however - with the side cases and 1.10 m width - it was a pretty compassionate part of it. You have to know that the traffic in Jakarta is an absolute horror, a daily collapse on the streets, hopelessly overcrowded. To cross the city - and we had to - you need almost 4 hours, unless you are out before 5 a.m. Well, our noisy, determined and ruthless parade covered the route in a little over 2 hours. I felt like a V.I.P. But when a motorcycle club is out and about together, that's the only way to get ahead. Obviously, the motorists are used to it, because they (mostly) made room willingly. If not, there was a hoot of horns and blows on the hood and roof ...

Members of one of the many clubs in Jakarta (here at "Monas" the national monument in the center of Jakarta)

After a few more days in Jakarta with Bernard, during which I got to know many other members of various motorcycle clubs, it was time to start the journey. I was escorted to the exit of the city and two bikers even accompanied me to the next stage destination - the city Bandung. Bandung is about 200 km further southeast of Jakarta. The next motorcycle club was already waiting for me there and they also housed me privately with one of the members (and his family). It is phenomenal how many motorcycle clubs there are in Indonesia and how friendly they are with each other. There is something like a network all over Indonesia. Many travel to motorcycle get-togethers and get to know new bikers again and again. The nice thing is that religion is not an issue at all. Muslims (the majority) fraternize with Christians, Hindus or Buddhists and share their love for two-wheelers. What is very impressive is how respectful and friendly everyone is to one another. And how they all welcomed me happily, curiously asked their questions and shot umpteen photos with their cell phones. However, communication was not always easy, as many of the English were more poor than fairly proficient. Because of her large circle of friends, the news of my arrival in Indonesia spread rapidly and I became consistently and on every island up to and including Flores welcomed by motorcycle clubs or at least by motorcyclists who are all in some club. It was just awesome!

I stayed in for a couple of days Bandung and we went on day trips. They showed me the surroundings, viewpoints, volcanic crater lakes, their churches or mosques (which were each also their club bases) and various Indonesian delicacies. It was so warm, attentive and respectful that I was almost embarrassed. What an overwhelming hospitality! Of course, they wouldn't let me go before I was overwhelmed with all sorts of gifts such as T-shirts, stickers, key rings, sweets or other little things. But despite their protests, I had to slowly move on. A few accompanied me for about 50 km on the day of my departure and for the first time I was really on my own. But not for long, because in the late afternoon I was in the next town (Ciamis) already received again. The gang had lined up on the street and just watched me because they were from the brothers in Bandung learned that I was heading in their direction. So I was housed privately again in the evening and the next party was let off the fence ...

It went through like that Jawa, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores. Only in Timor, which is apparently too far away from the pulsating center, I had no contact with bikers. It was the last (and smallest part) of the Indonesia stage anyway ...

A typical Indonesian biker with his souped-up moped

Unfortunately I had bad luck with the weather. For the first 5 weeks it rained almost continuously. Every day I drove in the pouring rain. The rain came up mostly Jawa an immense traffic to it. This required maximum concentration, as the traffic very often came to a standstill due to the mostly very old trucks and only made slow progress, and I was therefore mostly overtaking. Now, of course, the additional horsepower was very useful. The heavy rain and the constant oncoming traffic made the crossing of Jawa quite an adventure and rather uncomfortable. I was in the middle of the rainy season - and the weather stuck to it. The high humidity and warmth also made it very uncomfortable. The outside is packed watertight, but I'm sweating everything soaking wet on the inside, so that I could have just as easily ridden without a rain cover. In the evenings my skin was regularly swollen to the extent that I had been lying in a bath for hours ...

Due to the bad weather, I missed one or the other highlight Jawasuch as volcanoes or volcanic crater lakes. It's a shame, but unfortunately nothing could be done about that. So instead of visiting natural sights, I visited man-made ones such as the famous one Borobudur Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Southeast Asia (built between 750 and 850) or the Prambanan Temple, the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia (built around 850). Both temples are spectacular and well worth a visit.

Borobudur temple

Borobudur temple

Prambanan temple

Prambanan temple

For those interested in more detail, here are the links to more information (Wikipedia)

Borobudur: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur

Prambanan: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prambanan

After so much intense traffic, I decided to leave the main routes despite heavy rain and take smaller back roads. I knew that from Jogjakarta (where the temple Prambanan there is a beautiful coastal road that leads along great beaches (which were highly recommended to me). Fortunately, the weather calmed down a bit as the rain only began to set in towards the end of the morning. That way I could at least be a bit more relaxed in the morning. And as promised, the road along the coast was actually very beautiful and, above all, massively less traffic. Now I was able to really enjoy the ride. Since the weather was really nice on the day I came across the first beautiful beaches, I decided to spend a leisurely day at the beach, the Indrayanti beach meant to spend. I found a great bungalow that I rented for 2 nights. But oh dear ... the next day it rained twine again and I spent the whole day in the hut reading a book. So much for my dreamy first day at the beach in Indonesia ...

Finally good weather - arrived at the first beautiful beach on Jawa

Of course, I moved on again the next morning. The weather god had some understanding and at least in the morning gave me a little friendlier weather, but by noon at the latest it started to rain again. It should stay like this until the island of Lombok ...

The drive along the coast and the beautiful beach beaches, which alternated with rice fields again and again, was a wonderful drive. However, the road soon returned to the main axis. Since I had another destination due to the bad weather, namely the Bromo volcano, in whose crater you can drive, and no other sights, I decided to give up Jawa and come to Bali as soon as possible. I was hoping that the weather would be a little better there as I was told that as I got further east, the weather would get better and better. In three days I made it to the ferry. I boarded the ferry when the weather was acceptable, but in Bali I was greeted again by pouring rain. I was expected by another motorcycle gang in Dempasar / Kuta, the capital of Bali, and so I drove straight down the west coast to the south coast, where Kuta is located.

Since I had an Indonesian SIM card, the phone numbers were exchanged. We also set up a What’s app group, which swelled more and more over the course of the trip. I was constantly accompanied by inquiries as to whether everything was ok and where I was at the moment. So I was watched over. If I had had the slightest problem, help would have been organized immediately. A calming feeling ...

So I had the phone number one of the members in Kuta and called him to report my arrival. We met and he helped me find cheap accommodation. The club was mobilized for the evening and the next party was on ...

Meeting with members of a motorcycle club in Kuta

I met a boy named among many others Mario Iroth know. He's 28 years old and something of a hero. Like so many, he dreamed of a big motorcycle trip. Since he, like most of them, is not exactly a bed of roses, he set up a charity campaign to finance a trip. He raised money for a school for oranges children in Cambodia. He was so successful at it that he even received a motorcycle sponsorship. Then he drove to Cambodia and gave the school a check. He carefully documented the trip, the press recorded the story and he even got an appearance on television. It was a very successful campaign for him and he is already dreaming of his next, even bigger journey. In his dreams he sees himself touring around South America ...

Mario Iroth and his 175cc machine with which he made the charity trip ...

Professionally, he works in a bungalow complex, leases it and is responsible for maintenance. The wages are modest and therefore he is already beating the drum again in order to be able to collect enough funds for the next trip.As luck would have it, on the occasion of an invitation in Jakarta, he had the apparently successful and well-known Indonesian advertising photographer and documentary filmmaker Novijan Sanjaya got to know who happened to be at this event on another matter. The advertising man took a lot of pleasure in Mario’s cause and spontaneously agreed to make a commercial about him and his charity trips. They made an appointment and, as you can imagine, I happened to be there on that date. That's how I learned too Novi, as he calls himself, and know his wife. He speaks perfect English and French (!). He also spoke German quite well. We got along brilliantly - an exceptionally friendly, funny and very interesting contemporary! Of course, he wanted to hear my story too. Since he is also a traveler, he was enthusiastic about the story and invited me to accompany the upcoming recordings with Mario. If there was still enough time, he would like to interview me and take a few pictures of me ...

The next day we drove into the hinterland, away from the hopelessly overcrowded and noisy Denpasar / Kuta and out into nature. In a beautiful, hilly area dominated by rice fields, Mario drove back and forth with his apparently fully loaded machine and Novi filmed and photographed him. As a highlight he had a small, self-made quadcopter (helicopter with 4 propellers) with a GoPro camera mounted on it and made great aerial photos with it.

Novijan Sanjaya with his GoPro quadcopter

The weather held out and so the two of them made good progress with their work. So in the end there was time to do a little interview with me and take a few pictures.

Here is the result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXvwSe6G_To

After a few great days in Kuta with the bikers, I wanted to go slowly to really explore Bali. I was told that Christmas was very nice in Ubud and since we were just before Christmas, I first went to Ubud. This is only about 2 hours north of Denpasar. Unfortunately, I have to say that I didn't find Ubud to be particularly great, as it was totally touristy and was quite flooded by these. Still interesting. The best thing about Ubud, I found, was the many, many private temples. Virtually no house did not have its own little temple. Bali is predominantly Hindu and accordingly Ganesha, Hanuman, Shiva, Brahma and others are honored. Every morning the women draw their symbol and put some sticky rice on a piece of banana leaf along with incense sticks and flowers on the sidewalk in front of the house. Then the house altar is decorated with food, drink, flowers and incense sticks for the gods. It is very nice to see how the women gracefully make smooth movements towards the deity with a lotus flower between the index and middle finger, say a short prayer and then decorate the altar. The same thing happens with the many public temples in the city (and in all of Bali in general). Sometimes I sat in front of a temple and watched the almost never-ending stream of (mostly) women decorating the temples, bringing food, drink, lotus flowers and lighting countless incense sticks. And whole plates full, after all, there are so many gods who want to be satisfied ...

For the first time I realized how many temples there are in Bali. The island is not called the island of a thousand temples or a thousand gods for nothing. Or just the island of the gods. It is dominated by Hindus and Buddhists. Although Indonesia is shaped by Islam, Islam hardly takes place in Bali. At least not obviously visible. Not like on Jawa, where you can find at least one mosque in every village and the muezzin shouting at your ears at prayer times. But here the gods of the Hindus and Buddha clearly rule the island. Accordingly, one can visit ancient temples of all sizes. Very impressive and beautiful ...

What was also touristy, but still definitely worth a visit, was a theater or a temple, where classical, Balinese dances as well as theater performances in which stories of old legends are performed. This also attracts many tourists to Ubud. I had to admit after the demonstrations (I attended 2 different ones) that this is a good reason to visit Ubud. I definitely liked it very much ...

Theater and dance performance in Ubud

In addition to the many temples, the theater and good, international food (tailored to tourists) there is a forest full of monkeys, a few old temple ruins, caves and very beautiful rice terraces in and around Ubud. Three days in Ubud are definitely enough. When I decided to move on, Mario Iroth suddenly called that he and a few friends would come to visit me in Ubud the next morning and would like to take me on a short day trip around Ubud to show me a few sights and just one Riding a motorcycle together for a day. Sure, great thing! So I expect the boys the next morning and we spent a great day together. They took me to a very special temple where Hindus are queuing to do a ritual washing in full clothes. They move from one sink to the next in the large basin and do the "wai", that is, hold the hands together with the inner surfaces at forehead level and mumble a few words of prayer. The temple is called Pura Tirta Empul and is one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations of the Balinese, because the spring water is considered sacred. Then it's off to the main altar to lay down (food) gifts or ritual offerings.

Hindus at the holy bath

After a leisurely dinner, the gang said goodbye and drove back to Kuta late in the evening. I should meet her again after the tour, because we all wanted to celebrate the New Year together. So I hurried a little bit with my trip around and through Bali so that I would be back in Kuta on the 31st. There were 6 days for it. Since Bali is quite small, you can see a lot in 6 days - start early in the morning, check into a guesthouse at noon and spend the afternoon sightseeing. It's enough, because Bali doesn't have so many highlights besides the temples and beaches, even if they are impressive and beautiful.

For example, there is the temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, which is depicted on the 50,000 rupiah note

It is an important water temple and stands in the water of 1,200 meters above sea level. located lake Beratan(Bratansee). It was built in 1616 and is dedicated to Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. This makes it one of the most important temples in Bali. Of course a tourism magnet, but apparently more for Hindus, because I actually only saw a few Westerners. That has to do with the fact that I was out in the "low season" because of the rainy season. However, I have been told that Christmas / New Years is considered to be an "intermediate high season". In any case, Kuta and Ubud were teeming with tourists. Apparently they were so lazy or hungover that they tended to stay in the hotel or on the beach. Of course it should be fine with me ...

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan - water temple

Another temple that deserves to be visited is in Batur. The name of the temple is very similar to that of the water temple, namely Pura Ulun Danu Batur and is Dewi Danu dedicated to the goddess of lakes and rivers. Ulun Danu literally means head (or boss) of the lakes. Originally the temple (as well as the village of Batur) stood at the foot of the volcano Gunung Batur (Mount Batur), but in 1926 the village and temple were destroyed by a massive explosion of the volcano. Only the Holy of Holies - an 11-tier temple tower or shrine (called Meru) - survived. The surviving residents rebuilt their village and temple on the highest and oldest rim of the crater. The temple complex is the second holiest in Bali (after the mother temple Pura Besakih). It contains 9 different temples and 285 shrines and pagodas and was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2012. Very, very nice to look at - especially when there are hardly any tourists in front of the lens. This is the big advantage of visiting Indonesia in the rainy season - you have the sights practically to yourself ...

A ceremony in full swing at the Pura Ulun Danu Batur temple complex

Actually, I also wanted the largest and most important temple complex, the so-called mother temple Pura Besakih, visit. It should be the prettiest, or at least one of the prettiest, and it's not far from Batur. A stone's throw. But the day I wanted to visit him, the sluices of the sky opened again and ruined the atmosphere in the most profound way. It just wouldn't stop, so I decided to take a day off at my accommodation and try again the next morning. But the next day, too, it rained incessantly. I was frustrated, packed my bags and drove down to the coast, hoping the weather would be better there. And actually, hardly back at sea level, the weather improved and I enjoyed the drive along the north and east coast. My new destination was Amed, a small village on the peninsula in the east of the island. I had heard that this should be a beautiful area with great bays. However, it is also one of the up-and-coming tourist areas of Bali. And this is how this stretch of coast presented itself. Many resorts with bungalows right on the water, cheaper guesthouses set back on the other side of the coastal road, many diving schools and even more restaurants with international menu cards testify to a brisk tourist flow in the high season. And again I benefited from the low season by being able to choose from a large selection at low prices. I moved into a very luxurious bungalow for half the price - and enjoyed living a little luxury and comfort. Since I could easily drive back to Kuta in half a day from Amed, I decided to spend the remaining 2 days / 3 nights here, as the weather was still very unsteady and rainy. So I went on day trips in the surrounding area. The nice thing about the coast of Amed is that it has no real tourist center, but the offers stretch over many, many kilometers along the coast. However, not continuously, because the road leads again and again into the mountainous hinterland and back to the next bay. From village to village, from bay to bay. Hotel boxes, McDonalds or other nasty chains are still not spoiling the beautiful coastline. No idea what it looks like in the high season, but since the offers are so far apart, the tourists are spread over a long distance and so it should be quite pleasant even in the high season. The mountains begin just a few meters behind the beach. Since I was motorized, I was able to do very nice day trips into the hinterland or mountains. A narrow, but (mostly) paved road winds up to the highest point and offers a magnificent view of the coastline. You gondola comfortably through forests, cross small farming villages and discover smaller temples again and again in the forest or on the edge of the village. Except in the villages, I hardly met anyone on the street. Gorgeous! I enjoyed it, without luggage and without a fixed destination, just chugging on the little streets back and forth through the mountains and along the coast ...

Surroundings of Amed

After two and a half comfortable days, I cleared my relatively luxurious bungalow and made my way back to Kuta to meet my biker friends again. One last wonderful drive along the coast brought me back to the main road and into the traffic, which became more and more difficult the closer I got to Denpasar. Denpasar is like a smaller version of Jakarta in terms of traffic collapse. How does that look like in the high season? I don't even want to know, because I'm in a bad mood in the endless, two-lane tin avalanche and sweat in front of me. I try to follow the countless motorcyclists and force myself to squeeze past the cars and trucks on the left side of the road (and beyond). But since I keep getting stuck in too narrow places with the two suitcases and thereby also block the flow of the slim, small motorcycles, my mood is not particularly lifted despite the gain of a few meters. I have to hold out. And then comes the blow in the neck, which completely lets my mood rattle into the cellar: a flat tire! That was just missing! I curse to myself, drive to the nearest forecourt of a shop and look at the damage. My first flat tire during the 3rd stage. At first I thought that I was lucky because there was a tire repair shop just two doors down, but I was told that only car tires would be repaired. But I was still lucky, because diagonally across from the workshop, on the other side of the four-lane road, there was actually a small, dirty hut whose owner was repairing tires. Ok, of course I could have repaired the tire myself, but if there was a small workshop nearby, I would rather leave that to the experienced tire repairer. In addition, it is always an experience to see how they work and it is also dirt cheap. I was allowed to remove my rear wheel on the forecourt of the tire repair shop. Now came the trickiest part of the mission, namely to cross the four lanes with the rear wheel under the arm. The traffic doesn't stop for a pedestrian, not in Asia. So you have to take your heart in your hands and sprint through the gaps in the traffic avalanche. Fortunately, the road has a narrow green strip in the middle, so that I could make a stop there and wait for the right moment in the flow of oncoming traffic. The four or five noses who were around the hut had their great pleasure in watching me fight my way to them. It was obvious that I wanted to see them with my bike under my arm. They received me with appreciative laughter and one of them immediately took my bike from me and went straight to work. They could hardly speak English and so we just smiled at each other at first. Of course, her curiosity soon outweighed the shame of barely knowing English. And like everyone else, they wanted to know everything, where I'm from, where I'm going, what kind of motorcycle, etc. It's very easy, even without great language skills. You ask: “American?” I say: “No, Suisse”. You: "oh, Suisse? Very good! Beautiful! "You:" you go where? "Me:" Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor, Timor-Leste, Australia ". You: "Ahhhh, ooooh, very far!" And smile impressed. And while we try to do small talk, the third person repairs my flat tire in no time at all. He shows me the reason for the flat tire: A tiny shard has "eaten" its way through the rubber over time and tore through the inner tube shortly before Kuta. The repair cost me the equivalent of CHF 2.00. The patch still holds up today ...

In the evening I met the guys from the biker gang again. It was New Year's Eve and we all wanted to toast the New Year together. On the beach of Kuta there was a big show with bands, dance performances and of course fireworks. The guys really wanted to show me that. Everything was done magnificently as the sky grew darker and darker. Although the organizers should have known that we were in the middle of the rainy season, they failed to put a roof over the stage. So it came as it had to come - the show literally fell into the water. The band gave their best and the girls defiantly continued to dance, but the rain got so heavy that it no longer makes sense. All spectators hurried away to escape the rain in the nearby shopping temple. The show was over, and it wasn't even 10 p.m. So we left a little disappointed and looked for a cozy restaurant where we celebrated together until after midnight ...

New Year's Eve was something like saying goodbye to Bali and the boys, because 2 days later I went to Lombok, the next island.

On the morning of the departure, I was just packing my motorcycle, suddenly 5 guys from the club showed up and explained to me that they would escort me to the port. Wow, I was totally flabbergasted because we hadn't made any of that. It was also pouring rain once again. After all, they had rain jackets and trousers. But only flip-flops on the feet and of course no gloves. I really felt sorry for them and therefore begged them to forego their plan. I would appreciate your intention and thank you for your kindness. But it didn't help, they insisted. And so we drove the two-hour route with six of us ...

I arrived in Bali when it was pouring rain and left when it was pouring rain. Once again I was hoping for better weather in Lombok. But the island is too close for the weather to be any different. So Lombok received me with rain.Of course the guys in Kuta had announced my coming to their friends in Lombok and accordingly a three-man delegation from a motorcycle club was waiting for me at the port. After the first warm welcome over a cup of coffee, the three escort me to Mataram, the capital of Lombok. One of the boys, named Eka, works in a grocery store. Since his boss is also a keen motorcyclist, he immediately agreed to put me up with him. He has a couple of rooms in the back building behind the shop that he rents out. But Dado, the owner of the shop, greets me very warmly and puts me in one of the rooms as his guest. He and a few of his friends are avid motocross fans and therefore own reputable motocross machines like Yamahas, Kawasakis and Husabergs. Everything from 125 to 450 cc was included. He invites me to go on a tour of the countryside with your group next Saturday. They would provide me with a motocross machine. This is of course awesome! To rummage through the dirt without a heavy machine and without luggage is of course a dream. I am happy to accept the offer. And so I experience a great day in the dirt, on which I have to go mercilessly to my physical limit. After a few hours, which were mostly standing up, my legs and arms were already burning like hell and I had to ask for breaks at ever shorter intervals. In the afternoon I was completely exhausted and for the next few days I was plagued by severe muscle soreness. But it was wonderful to go off-road with such a machine for a change. What a different world! It was a lot of fun and luckily everything went well ...

In the northwest of Lombok there are three small islands called Gilis. The largest of these, Gili Trawangan, is known as the party island. Many backpackers go to the island because there are no police on the island and alcohol and drugs flourish there. Party every night! Luckily I was there in the low season. There was already quite a lot of people on the island, but still cozy and far from crowded. But I could very well imagine what was going on there in the high season. For party goers great, for people who want it more comfortable, more of a horror. The even smaller neighboring islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air are more suitable, because they are much quieter.

A friend of Eka's works in a guesthouse on Gili Trawangan. A phone from Eka to him and I was sure of a cheap room. The only problem was that I had to leave the motorcycle and my luggage somewhere in the small harbor. The problem was also solved immediately, because another member of the motorcycle club has a small office right at the port where he develops websites for businesses. A web designer. When I arrive at the port, he is waiting for me and I am allowed to leave my motorcycle and luggage in his office. And so I drove straight into his restaurant and parked next to his desk. Totally uncomplicated and extremely nice of him. I stayed on the island for 4 days and finally enjoyed the sun and the beach, because the weather had finally improved. To be honest, I also enjoyed the international cuisine that Gili Trawangan has to offer. Nothing against the Indonesian cuisine, it's really delicious. But after weeks of that, three times a day, I was grateful to finally have a pizza or good spaghetti again - one of the few advantages of a tourist center ...

The island is small, with a bike you can go around the whole island in about 1 hour. The main occupation is snorkeling, diving and sailing. Of course, in addition to partying, relaxing hangovers and lazing around. Max, who had found me a good and cheap room, took care of me touchingly. Although he worked at a resort, he always had time to show me something or just keep company and chat. A very nice guy, Max! One evening off, he invited me to his home and introduced me to his wife and two children. I invited the whole family to a restaurant. We spent a fun evening and so once again I made a tiny contribution to international and religious understanding, which is always very interesting, instructive and entertaining ...

After a few comfortable days on Gili, I drove back to Mataram and was again allowed to set up my base camp at Dago. The following days I made one or two day trips to the north, east and south of the island. Lombok is quite a small island and can be explored relatively quickly.

A day tour took me to the south coast, where I am on the way to the surfers paradise Kuta wanted to look at. I can see why now Kuta is traded as an insider tip. Very beautiful, wide beaches and high waves. In addition, by no means messed up, i.e. no McDonalds far and wide, but cozy wooden huts and simple stone houses in traditional style. The beach was almost empty, but as I said, I was out in the low season. The few people I saw in the village were either locals or they carried a surfboard under their arm. A great place, still fully backpacker-like and very cozy. But I'm afraid that in a few years the cosiness and the reasonable prices will be over. Bali is a daunting example of this. Lombok is far from being overrun by western tourists, but it certainly has the potential to become a second Bali one day. Gili Trawangan, in any case, is it already ...

Another place I wanted to visit on the south coast was the so-called "Pink Beach". It's on the southeast corner and luckily it's not very easy to get to. There are hardly any signposts and so you have to ask yourself. When you have found the right junction, you have to drive several kilometers on a rather questionable unpaved and sometimes muddy road, then at the very end of the road you have to drive a steep, about 200 meter long ramp down to the beach. The road is unsealed and therefore criss-crossed by water furrows. Downhill it's a bit tricky, uphill you ride motocross moderately upright and it's fun. At least the locals have noticed that this beautiful beach has tourist potential, because an entrance fee has to be paid at the top of the ramp. The beach itself didn't seem quite as pink as it is called to me. However, I am assured that the effect relates to the early morning and evening hours. With a little imagination, however, you can spot a pink cast. Never mind, the beach is actually very beautiful and, above all, practically deserted. I am counting a group of 5 young foreigners who have also found the beach, plus a few locals. There are two or three crooked kiosks where you can buy drinks from the ice box and snacks ...

The "pink beach" in Lombok

After visiting the pink beach, I continued to follow the coast on small streets, through idyllic villages and very beautiful, hilly landscapes. Despite an extensive tour through the south of the island, thanks to the small size of the island, I easily reached my base camp in Mataram before it got dark. It was a very nice and interesting day tour. I even got through without rain, which was almost a novelty, since it had rained at least once a day almost every day ...

After another day with Dago and Eka in Mataram, it was time for me to get back on the road. I wanted to explore the north and northeast on my way to the next island. So I drove north and soon I left the main road. I drove up to the volcano on brittle side roads littered with potholes through beautiful and densely overgrown landscapes "Gunung Rinjani", the highest and all dominating volcano on the island. Unfortunately, I could not go all the way up because the area around the volcano has been declared a national park and is reserved for hikers and climbers. It's a good thing, but I'm too lazy to hike and if I can't get up on my motorcycle, then I'll just let it go. There are of course exceptions, but the weather was rainy again and therefore did not trigger any desire for hiking in me ... Instead, I visited a traditional village whose inhabitants still live as their ancestors did for centuries. I felt like I was in an open-air museum, which it actually is. Because the tour providers and probably also Lonely Planet praise it. Since the road more or less ends at this village, you can't miss it. I noticed that the whole area around the volcano was very advertised and suddenly there were large numbers of guest houses. They all advertised trekking tours up to the volcano. And of course with the traditional village. I only found out later because I just followed the road and ended up near the village. As I said, it was the low season and I was almost the only long nose in the area. In the village itself I did not see a single other white man. In the high season it will probably have to be very busy. Even so, I felt rather weird in the village. A stupid tourist, although I don't necessarily look like the typical tourist in my motorcycle clothes and my fully packed motorcycle. In my case, the few residents I met also had some interest. That's it again: the motorcycle as a door opener! It always benefits me. And so I was invited to a couple of men to drink some homemade schnapps. They were probably not Muslims ... One of the men was a tour guide and therefore could speak some English. So we were able to have a reasonable conversation and answer our mutual questions in an understandable way. It turned out to be a fun afternoon ...

The traditional village of Seranu (with modern satellite dish)

I had to vehemently resist drinking more glasses of their brew, as I had to get back on my motorcycle and look for a place to stay ...

The next day I looked for the smallest streets that lead as close as possible to the volcano in order to have the best possible view of the proud mountain. But no, the weather didn't play along again. The clouds hung low and blocked the view of the peaks. At least it wasn't raining (yet) and I was able to enjoy the drive through the countryside and through the villages ...

One of the beautiful valleys around the volcano "Gunung Rinjani" with picturesque villages

When I came back down to the plain on the other side of the mountains, it was only a stone's throw to the harbor, where the ferry to the next island - Sumbawa - takes off. Since the ferries leave every hour, I didn't have to wait long before I was on my way to Sumbawa. I liked Lombok very much, almost more than Bali. The main reason is probably that there were massively fewer tourists (except on Gili), much less traffic but more wild nature. That would become even more pronounced as I got further east ...

In Sumbawa I was again expected by a motorcycle club. One of the members got my phone number through a friend in Lombok, so he kept texting me and asking where I was. When I wrote him that I was on the ferry, he rounded up members of the club and drove a little towards me. The first big city Sumbawa called Sumbawa Besar and is the main town on the island. Actually I wanted to explore the west coast after arriving, but the weather didn’t cooperate and once again spoiled my mood. So I drove straight in the direction of Besar. I met the gang about 20 km from the city. They escorted me straight to a hotel, which saved me from searching. Unfortunately, they spoke very poorly, hardly any English, and communication was therefore very difficult. I took her over for a Coke and we tried to chat a little. It was getting late to evening and so we all took photos of each other and then they said goodbye.

Members of a motorcycle club from Sumbawa Besar

The next morning, in mixed weather, I drove the 350km Bima, the second largest city on the long island. Bima is in the east of the island. Between Besar and Bima you mostly drive through landscapes characterized by agriculture, which is dominated by maize and rice. From time to time you come through small villages. It looks pretty empty Sumbawa. The Australians donated a new road to Sumbawa as part of their development aid in Indonesia. It was built 2 years ago and is probably the best road in all of Indonesia. At least that's what the islanders say. But the road is in perfect condition and based on previous experience, I can certainly agree with this claim. It is pure pleasure to finally ride a gondola on a great road and at the same time admire the landscape without being surprised by a nasty pothole. I take my time and enjoy the wonderful journey to the full. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere I stop at a little hut that sells drinks. I want to take a break, have a drink and have a smoke. The woman who runs the shop even speaks a little English. She is delighted with my visit and is about to get the family together. I am invited to a typical shelter where I am served coffee. Of course it's a farming family and they proudly show me their maize field, which starts right behind their house. A few corn on the cob are boiled and eaten together. I sit with them for almost 2 hours and patiently answer their questions. A very cozy, beautiful and spontaneous encounter. Once again, the extraordinary hospitality of simple people is evident ...

Break with a farming family on the way to Bima

Of course, the motorcycle colleagues had off Besar notifies her friends in Bima that I'm on my way there. They also passed on my phone number and so I was constantly from Bima contacted me and asked where I am. As I approached so slowly, they also drove towards me and caught me about 30 km from Bima. I was overwhelmed because about 20 motorbikes came towards me and made a huge circus. They escorted me to the center of Bima, where we lined up and of course took a lot of photos again. They helped me to find a reasonable hotel and in the evening they showed me the few sights of Bima, primarily the local mountain, better the house hill, from which one has a beautiful view of the city on the one hand and the tomb of the last sultan is on the other. We spent a fun evening with Pick-Nick in the park and homemade schnapps and beer. Incidentally, they are also Muslims, but obviously don't take it very seriously either ...

A motorcycle clique drives towards me and escorts me to Bima

The troop that received me in Bima

The next stage took me to 50 km away Sape, the easternmost village and where the harbor for the ferry to the next island, Flores, take off - well, would take off if the weather would allow it. The sea goes crazy in the rainy season and accordingly the swell is often too high for the ferries to leave. As a result, I was doomed to crawl into a hotel and wait for the waves to drop below five feet. This is how I spent the most tedious and boring time in Indonesia. Sape is a very simple village with no opportunities for entertainment or any sightseeing, except for a beautiful mosque. I checked into a simple hotel right by the harbor, which luckily had WIFI, albeit a pathetic slow one. It should take 11 (eleven!) Days before the next ferry left. That was my home for the time:

Every now and then backpackers came who also wanted to continue to Flores. Since they only had a rucksack with them, they all turned back and took a plane or did without Flores altogether. But of course that wasn't possible for me and so I had to persevere. There was, however, another option. Fishermen offered me to take me over there with their wooden messengers for far inflated prices. When I looked at the boats, it was clear to me that that was out of the question. I should have circled over onto the boat on a wooden plank and then endured for at least 8 hours through the high waves and prayed that we would arrive safely. No, no ... not with me! I preferred to wait ...

The first few days the weather wasn't that bad and so I took a small boat tour to the offshore island, where I went snorkeling with a young German backpacker and spent the day on the beach. On the third day I went on an extended day tour and looked at the area. But due to the constant downpours, the dirt roads were totally muddy and dangerously slippery. So I restricted myself to two main streets, which were also falling apart badly, but had more stones than mud and were therefore more or less passable.

On the fourth day, a guy spoke to me who could speak good English. He said his name is Siraj and that he is an English teacher at a school somewhere in the backcountry and that he would like to invite me to visit his school.That was of course very convenient for me and was a welcome change. We agreed to meet next Saturday and in fact he was on the mat punctually at eight in the morning. He had a small moped and I followed him into the countryside. After about an hour's drive on a rather adventurous road, we arrived in the small village where the school was. We were received by the school principal, the teachers and a large and loud crowd of children. First I was directed to the director's office, where there was tea and biscuits. Then of course we played the question and answer game again. Siraj was busy translating back and forth. Then came the classroom tour. All age groups are taught at the school, from 7 to 16 years old (estimated). There was of course a big hello in every classroom. Siraj introduced me and explained to the students why I am here and what I am doing. They were allowed to ask questions, but were much too shy to do so. They were just amazed to see a Westerner who had traveled so far.

Before we left in the morning, we bought in Sape