844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Elusive Pulau Moyo (Sumbawa, Indonesia)

For an updated version of this post, go here.

April 7th, 2009 - Today was an exercise in futility. My morning was spent driving around in circles . . . literally. I was trying to get to a place known as Air Bari. There is a port there and I read that it may be possible to hire a boat to take me to Pulau Moyo, a nearby island to the north reputed to be beautiful. Allegedly, there is excellent snorkeling. 

I wanted to give diving a try but that fizzled (see yesterday’s post). [Author's Note: I later met a Swedish gentleman who confirmed that the island was indeed beautiful and the snorkeling in fact excellent. Damn it.]

So I follow the signs for Air Bari but that only gets me so far (i.e. not far enough). I’d say I took about five wrong turns and made the same loop no less than four times. I did stop to inquire more than once but people seemed to have no idea about what the hell I was talking about (I'm growing accustomed to that reaction). I am having real difficulty making these people understand their own language. How many different ways can you pronounce ‘Air Bari’? Not sure but I think I tried them all (high tone, low tone, with a lisp, etc.). Someone would finally make the connection and say, “Ahhhhhh, Air Bari!” I realize I have an accent but I did not mutilate the name that far beyond recognition….did I?

When I was on the same page the first few people proceeded to give me, what turned out to be, erroneous directions. [Author's Note: Not bloody likely considering my level of Indonesian. However, focusing the blame outward helps build self-esteem.] I am sure it was a result of confusion and not intentional but it left me baffled. I finally obtained 'accurate' instructions and proceeded on my way to Air Bari...or so I believed. The guidebook/bible says it is 15 km away and that it takes about an hour by public transport. I never made it. The road was in terrible, terrible shape. It was like driving down a road cluster-bombed by the US military.

Then again, a couple of well-placed explosives might actually smooth it out a bit. I drove for over an hour, took a few more wrong turns, and then decided to take a break. When I inquired as to the distance of Air Bari I was told I had another hour to go. It seems this area of Sumbawa is home to some sort of space-time vortex. Somebody call Stephen Hawking. As I had the distinct feeling this mission was going to end in severe disappointment either way I decided to spare my bike the rest of the excruciating journey. I turned around and wallowed in my own defeat.

Even if I could hire a boat where the hell was I going to leave my bike? My intent was to make an arrangement for the following day but there was no f***ing way I was going to drive down that road again. Oh no I wouldn't!

On the way back I saw a little girl sitting on the side of the road next to a bicycle. She was adorable so I thought I might snap a quick picture. I thought wrong. She looked at me like I was the devil himself, yelled for daddy, and started to cry. My morning was complete. In addition to cementing my status as the aiti-Magellan I also manged to scare a little girl shitless and make her weep. Way to go a-hole!

My afternoon was no more fruitful. I ran down a few more leads (more circles) but none of them led to anything. I stopped at another hotel and inquired about going to Moyo but they told me it was too difficult. One gentlemen suggested I stay at the Amanwana Resort located on the island. One night there is only $800. I’ll pass.

I also read about some interesting places south of Sumbawa Besar but the roads outside of the main areas are dismal at best. I think it is a bit early to give my bike such a piss pounding. I’ll save that for Sumatra.

Disappointing. Very disappointing. I know that island and some of the small ones surrounding it are worth a trip. That posh resort is there for a reason. If I was really determined I could arrange it but the cost would be astronomical. I guess I’ll save my dough for some other adventure.

So I guess I will drive most of the rest of the way across the island tomorrow. I will probably stay in Bima and then try to catch the ferry to Flores. I'm a quitter.

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim