2009-11-16 -6 107
In an outer suburb of Bandung, Indonesia, in a clump of trees in a field outside someone's house.
- Felix Dance - by motorbike.
Well on Saturday morning, while I was still in Pangandaran, Java, I checked the internet to see if there'd be any good geohashes in the next couple of days. There was nothing near Pangandaran, but I noticed that there was one quite close to the city of Bandung, which I would be passing through on train on Monday, the day of that hash. I didn't particularly need to go to Bandung, but it was on the way to Jakarta so I thought I'd give it a shot.
In the morning after arriving at my hotel in Bandung, I searched around for somewhere to hire a normal pushbike. Unfortunately, I was met with blank stares as I was told that people don't get around that way here and I'd need to hire a motorbike. I soon resigned myself to that fate, despite its exorbitant cost, and got one for the day. At least it was yellow.
For quite a while I was a bit freaked out with battling Bandung's traffic (a city of two million people, fourth largest in Indonesia), especially as I only had my GPS to navigate and it was constantly threatening if not producing rain. At one point I was stopped by a horde of policemen and I thought, "Uh oh, here we go. Either I'll get carted off to a cop shop or I'll have to pay a ridiculously huge bribe." But no, they were merely, and politely, informing me that I was traveling the wrong way down a one way street and would I please turn around. Sure enough, a wall of traffic was approaching me like a tsunami. I got out of there pretty quick.
After an hour or so (and well over the 12 direct kilometres) of wrong turns, crazy hand gestures, and hurled abuse I started heading in the right sort of direction for a reasonable amount of time. The crazy city and terrible air pollution gave way to fields, mountain views and unsealed roads. I was soon in the suburb/village of the hash.
Within 90m I parked the bike and proceeded on foot. I had to walk right through someone's backyard and adjoining paddy field. Although I asked in the politest possible manner in the crappiest ever Indonesian if it was okay it still felt sort of colonial of me. There I was blundering straight through someone's real life with my GPS and camera, wanting to stand on a particular part of their property and take photos - without even paying any royalties or anything. I would have felt pretty wrong about the situation if it wasn't for the villagers being so damned nice about everything. Big smiles, lots of waves and knowing chuckles.
As I walked through the labyrinth of walkways, paddies and chicken pens I got that feeling I really love about geohashing - the moment when you realise you're going to get there. This area was in the low-res part of Google Maps so I never really knew if it was accessible at all. I spent most of the ride there just assuming I would have to turn back and waste my time and money, but there it was - right on that mound.
I'd soon taken my photos and headed back - always so much easier than the way there. Or maybe that's just the anthropic principal talking, and that really I just don't remember it as well. I spent the rest of the day using my motorbike going to the Geological Museum and the Bandung Zoo. I kind of got into the random style of traffic they have here.
That's two done in Indonesia. Check out 2009-11-10 -7 110 for the first.
Here's my route.
| Felix Dance earned the Land geohash achievement
|Felix Dance earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
| Felix Dance earned the Ambassador achievement
| Felix Dance earned the Police Geohash Achievement