Come morning I was amazed to find hundreds of mossies dead on the floor, yet there were still plenty airborne, where did they all come from. I was so glad to get out of the place. The day was thankfully more rural, but the road remained busy. I suspect there isn't a road on Java that is not busy. But it was flat and exposed, the headwind that has been with me for so long had a clear run which made things hard work, not that I am one to ever complain, besides its only about another 3000km until I turn out of it! I arrived at Jatibarang and just hoped there was a place to stay otherwise I had another 50k to go to Cirebon. Thankfully there was, a gem of a place, cheap, very well kept and spotlessly clean, though I did spot one mosquito. When I went out there was another mass of bats, I could confirm they were bats this time, a constant stream coming out of a building, a tangled mass of them clinging to an outside wall. I stopped to take a photo and the locals thought it was hilarious when they shat on my head (the bats, not the locals!)
The following morning as I was about to leave the guy in the house opposite saw me and came across for a chat, he's a serious cyclist and took me over to see his bikes, he had 4 all like his massive house, spotless. Well that was about the highlight for that day....what am I saying, I made a great discovery, something you could try yourself at home. Being as there is so little sweet food here and I need a sugar fix, I tried a drink that I have seens other have. You take one strawberry fanta, then put some ice in a glass having first added a large dollop of condensed milk. Thought strawberry fanta was sweet enough already? Think again. This is great as the fanta sits on top of the milk and you can mix it to you own desire, then drink with a straw. I tend to mix it lightly, then you get very different tastes depending on how deep you put the straw in, a sort of strawberries and cream. Wow, one of those and I am away! Whooosh!
Looking at the map todays little schedule was slightly shorter, I believed the map, why not? It wasn't, it was longer, though at least I realised very early on when I saw a kilometer stone. The last couple of days I have passed endless adverts for a chain of cafes, they give a countdown in kilometers, so I thought I would try one. Very nice, very good food, very comfortable and pleasant surroundings, very friendly staff, very empty, in fact only me, very expensive. 30p for a coffee, what is the world coming to! I wont use them again, though they took photos of me and asked me to write a few words with a think pen so that they can frame it and put on the wall at the entrance. Gosh fame, it's tough you know, though I am not sure if was fame for being a long distance cyclist or for just being a customer. So a long day was rewarded with a small town with no hotel, oh joy! I asked around and was told there was a Losmen, a sort of B&B though more of just a B. I found it (photo), but I have to say that it is probably the worst place I have stayed at on this trip, though it has some way to go to match the hotels in Ethiopia. The room is tiny, wooden and with plenty of open bits at the top for the mossies to get in, it's pretty grimey too. The showers in Indonesia are generally a large tiled container in the bathroom full of water that you dip a small bucket into and pour over yourself. Here was much the same though shared, but the tank has fish swimming around in it. There are no locks anywhere so I might find I get back and I have nothing left, though seriously I am sure the people living there are quite trustworthy. The outside is like most hotels here, it looks alot better than it actually is on the inside.
Another couple of traffic rules I have spotted. Firstly, you must give way to anything coming towards you on the wrong carriageway. Secondly, the bike is the lowest of the low. One of my favourite manouvers is by truck and bus drivers. They pull out slowly in front of me so that I have nowhere to go, but the bit I really like is the way they are hanging out of the window with a big smile on their faces as the shout out "HELLO MISTER". How can you get annoyed with that? To them it's not dangerous, it's just what they do.
So what about the weather here? Well I seem to have lost the wet season and I now have wall to wall sunshine, no clouds at all. What's more I am getting sunburnt again, that hasn't happened in ages. It's normally about 29-30 degrees when I set off and reaches about 37 degrees as a maximum. I did I say I wouldn't complain about the wind, well I lied. Each morning I set off and it is still and each day I think "may be this is the day of no wind". It never is. At about 8:30 the wind suddenly appears from nowhere, well, actually from the east, where I am heading to. Ok so its not that bad, but I have to work a reasonable amount harder to go about 3kph slower, that's no justice is it? But what I really hate is the thought that if I was going the other way it would be so, so easy.
Tomorrow I head into the mountains proper, hills and wind, I can hardly wait.