2009-11-29 -3 102
Quite far from Bengkulu, Indonesia, but I got the day wrong and went somewhere closer.
- Felix Dance - on the back of a motorbike.
Well, it was just a couple of hours ago that I was sitting at this very internet cafe, in Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia, checking out the geohashes when I noticed that one was actually extremely close by - only 7kms or so.
I had actually decided that I'd just veg out for the afternoon, reading 'The Day of the Triffids' by John Windham and decided to abandon the hash because of the difficulty of taking public transport there. But on my way back to the hotel a guy on a motorbike looked at my expectantly and I thought, "What the hell" and went for it (this was also influenced by the fact that the hash here a couple of days previously was just a few metres too far out to sea to reach).
I bargained the guy down to 30,000Rps for the 2 hour trip and clearly the guy had no idea of where I wanted to go.
Firstly, I thought he'd hand the bike over to me, but no, that wasn't the deal - he was riding it and I was sitting on the back. The first of many communications hurdles.
We started off, me counting down the kilometres from my GPS and making arm gestures. Getting through the town proper of Bengkulu we started heading to the outskirts. This is where things turned confusing. My rider slowed right down to a crawl and looked more confused than I've ever seen anyone. I kept pointing towards somewhere that no tourist should be interested in and he kept trying to take the bike towards the nice beach in the other direction.
After circling the point a fair bit, and forcing even more perplexity on this poor old dude, we zoned in on the point, me using the entire stock of Bahasa Indonesia to count down the metres so he'd know roughly what was going on. My rider kept stopping to ask locals if they knew English.
After a few wrong turns and frustrated "Tidak! That way... no tidak! Aha! Bagus! Bagus! Ya ya"s we got within 50 metres of the 'hash point'. I walked across a small creek to get there, it was right in the centre of a vacant lot between two houses - what's the chance of that?
I took lots of photos, which should appear below unless this connection cuts out again and I give up in disgust. A family came out to watch me and talk to my rider about what a weird guy I am. I tried to explain the intricacies of geohashing to them, but it's a bit outside my language ability of "Yes", "Hello" and "Thankyou". I'm getting better.
We rode home via the beach - which was where my rider really wanted to take me in the first place, and checked out some elephants and things. I got back to the internet cafe where I started after about two hours (good estimate) and paid the man.
When I logged on to document my glorious achievement I realised that during these long flowing days I'd completely lost track of time and visited the previous day's hash instead of today's. It's a bad feeling, after feeling so triumphant. Sumatra will have to wait for its first successful geohash I'm afraid.
I'll keep you posted.
Time of hash: About 4:30pm. I don't have a route map to give you because Google Maps doesn't show much detail for this city. So I was pretty much in the dark when I attempted it.