Tue, 21 Jan 2003

Lovers bicycle around the world

Laetitia van der Elst and Frederic Duprat, who are traveling around the world by bike, pose with Indonesia's Usmadi, who is journeying across the archipelago by bike, near Cirebon, West Java.

Laetitia, a doctor, visited The Jakarta Post's offices on Sunday, and said that she and Duprat, a computer engineer, had decided to make the journey to discover the world.

Starting out from the U.S. city of San Diego on Feb. 12, 2001, the lovers, who come from Belgium, took a sailing boat to New Zealand before starting out on their bike journey.

Moving successively through West Nusa Tenggara, Bali, East Java, Central Java, West Java and Jakarta, they have so far traveled some 11,000 kilometers.

"We like Indonesia ... each island has its own uniqueness and culture.

"But we're concerned about pollution in Java particularly, as sometimes we could no longer hear the singing of birds," said Laetitia.

They are now on their way to Batam and Singapore, before traveling on to Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Indonesia islands of Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

"Yes, we are making a loop ... back to Indonesia. Afterward, we'll go on to our final destination in Europe, but we have no idea yet when we will finish our trip," she said, adding that they had not been sponsored by anyone. --JP