After my short bikeless stint in Singapore, I had to get back to the real world and reunite with my motorcycle.
I flew into Medan, Indonesia (on the island of Sumatra) on Sunday, and met up with my buddy Ben and Andrea (who’s riding along with him for the next few weeks). For being so geographically close to Singapore, Medan is incredibly different in nearly every way. Supercars have been swapped out for ~100cc bikes, the sidewalks are cracked with weeds growing through them, the traffic is chaotic, and everyone on the street is smiling and couldn’t be more joyful.
The next morning, the three of us headed up to Belawan to the port, where we needed to pick up our bikes. On the taxi ride up there, Ben and I both kept commenting how the traffic was very Indian-like, and how in some sadistic way, we were excited to ride in traffic like this again.
Once we got into Belawan and onto the narrow streets, we immediately were stuck in a traffic jam. Like India, the streets are shared by pedestrians, street vendors, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, massive trucks, and buses…so it doesn’t take much disruption for everything bigger than a motorbike to come to a halt. Our last 500 meters in the cab took about half an hour, as things were bad enough that even motorbike and bicycle traffic was nearly at a standstill. Surely we could’ve walked much faster, but I don’t think there would’ve been enough room to even open a car door.
We met with our agent and got our paperwork started. Ben and Andrea stayed at his office while he gave me a ride up to the customs office. I took Ben’s passport and carnet with me so they could stamp in his bike as well. After a fair amount of waiting and going from one office to another to get some bit of approval, we had to go ahead to get the bikes.
After riding through an absolute maze of houses, offices, warehouses, and shipping containers, we finally arrived at the dock, and I immediately spotted the boat
The bikes were already unloaded and stored in a warehouse