Easter Island, 28 February 2015: Cycling on a “Road in bad condition”


The Magical Island

Friday, 20 February. This is my third day on Moorea, the cute heart-like shaped island next door to Tahiti, French Polynesia. The first two days I felt virtually brain dead because of the heat. I still suffer a bit, especially now, at 3pm, when the sun is unbearable and there is no wind to cool me down, let alone water (it is bathtub warm). Don’t get me wrong, this place is beautiful! The volcanic mountains that soar behind me, covered by deep green rainforest. The turquoise blue water that I’m looking at right now, the waves breaking on the reef at the horizon. The tranquillity. The smell of trees and fresh fruits. However, all I can think of right now is an ice bucket and how much I’d like to empty it over my head… Look at the “Feel” section: Screenshot_2015-02-21-10-57-37-1

One hour later: I think I’ll have a cold beer now…

Three hours later: It is cooling down, sort of…

So what have I been doing so far? I’ve done some serious hanging out. I don’t mean reading a book or anything. I mean SERIOUS hanging out, doing nothing, thinking of nothing, waiting for the day to pass by. I flew in from Auckland – I stayed there just for the night (thinking how much I’d loved to stay in NZ). I probably was a bit wistful. I left Auckland on Wednesday morning, 18 February. Now here’s the weird thing: I landed 4h later at Papeete airport, Tahiti, on Tuesday, 17 February. Crossing the date line really is bizarre. I still can’t get the days straight. It was pouring with rain when we left the plane over the gangway. After all, it’s still rainy season. But the rain vanished as soon as it came and it hasn’t been raining ever since the first day. Europeans get their own line through the passport control and no stamp in their passport. Feels strange to sort of entering the EU so far from home (technically, French Polynesia does not belong to the EU, but its citizens are French, so it is EUish).

I caught the 5pm ferry to Moorea, Tahiti’s “little sister” and am now staying at a Family B&B, meaning that the guesthouse is on the same ground and next door to the owners family and his brothers family. Even though  M. , a Canadian guy staying here, and me crave for spending some time in an airconditioned room at one of the beautiful (but very pricy) resorts once in a while, I am glad to stay where the real people are and to get a glimpse of how they live (surfing at the reef is a very important part – apparently there are some of the worlds best waves breaking along the reefs surrounding the islands).

Yesterday afternoon I took a bike ride along the road. The newer parts even have a bikeline, but the crappy parts have no tarmac and countless potnoles.20150219_17350920150219_17190120150219_174517 The people are incredibly friendly. They remind me of the Malawians in that they waved at me, shouting a happy “Bonjour” along my way.

This morning we did a 4×4 tour with the owner around the island:


The water is not as turquoise where I am staying, because there is no sand, but at least we can see the sunset from here.20150220_183053

Tonight, we’ve had fresh Mahi Mahi from the local fish market (actually its just a small shop) for dinner. Luckily M. rented a Vespa – it is quite far and there is virtually no public transport.

DELICIOUS! 20150220_19453120150220_200039

Cycling through Sydney – the Rocks to Cogee return

My butt hurts! No wonder, I have been cycling through Sydney for about 5 hours and I haven’t been cycling in 3 months… it was great though! I rented a well maintained 21 gear bike at ” Bonza bikes ” in the heart of the Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney, which is located btw Opera and Harbour Bridge. The YHA Harbour is the only budget accommodation in this pretty area and offers superb views from the rooftop terrace. I took off rather late (12ish) and started the tour by driving along the coastline, passing the Opera House and the Botanical Garden, riding along Woolloomooloo Bay, Bushcutters Bay, Double Bay and Rose Bay  (the latter three with countless yachts) 20150206_125126and then cut through to Bondi Beach20150206_134339, which is large, but not all that appealing. It took me a while to accept that riding on the coastal path south wasn’t such a great idea. It wasn’t that crowded, but there are plenty of steps and although the bike was light it was annoying to carry it up and down.20150206_144955 Making my way round on the streets, though, usually meant that I had to go further uphill… Hell, yeah, Syney is hilly!! Passing through Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, Waverly Cemetary, Clovelly Bowling Club 20150206_145455 (Bowling? It looked like boule with bigger boules! On the grass! Three fields! Crazy.) and Clovelly Beach I finally stopped at Cogee Beach, which is quite big, but not as bustling as Bondi. Instead of joining the sunbathers on the beach I decided to take a dip in Wylies Pool20150206_171405, a saltwater rockpool at the southern end of the bay.20150206_155119 It was magical! I took five rounds surrounded by a few locals and couldn’t believe my luck. 20150206_163049So refreshing in every sense! I must have spent over an hour there before I headed back to Bronte, cutting through to Queens Park, Centennial Park, down Oxford road and through Hyde Park, ending up at the Opera House20150206_192346. It’s weird, but as a cyclist I feel so much more like a local. It made me feel like I belong here and know my way (well, thankfully I’m able to read a map). What’s true, though, is that by cycling through a city you get to see a lot at the right pace and definitely a lot more than the ordinary tourist. I really wouldn’t mind staying here for a longer while. I LIKE this city!