Monthly Archives: August 2013

2nd Week in Indonesia

Mum in July 2011

Mum in July 2011

After hearing the sad news about Mum we sat for a day wondering what to do.  I had already told my sisters if Mum passed away while I was in Indonesia I wouldn’t be able to get home but now it had actually happened I wasn’t sure it was the right decision. Our only options were motor to Bali and I could fly home from there, but I wouldn’t be able to get back into the country for a month and it would probably take quite a few days to get there, or continue with our cruise and go home end of October as planned.  After a long struggle I decided on the latter.  I had flown home for a short visit while we were in Darwin when Mum first became ill and we all feared the worse but she had seemed to be recovering so I returned to Aus but the infection in her heart was too much for her body to cope with.  I console myself with knowing I had seen her one last time.  I think she would have liked me to continue; she always enjoyed getting our postcards to see where we were.  This photo was taken when I went home briefly in 2011 before her heart troubles started.

Bill on the back of the motorbike

Bill on the back of the motorbike

Tuesday 6th August we left Kupang with our friends Norman and Sara to head south to the island of Roti.  We had a couple of lovely overnight stops before arriving in the town of Ba’a.  We landed in the dinghy and were met on shore by a bunch of lads from Sail Indonesia on motorbikes offering us a lift into town.  Our first thought was no but life is very slow here and the roads are so bad you can’t go fast if you wanted to so we jumped on.  I’m sure our boys would be horrified after I’ve told them so many times not to do the same thing.

Shopping in the market

Shopping in the market

 

 

They took us to the local market where we were able to buy some fresh veggies.  The fascination continued with us and everyone wanted their photos taken with us.

Sara with our interpreter

Sara with our interpreter

 

 

 

 

 

It was useful having an interpreter although I’m sure the prices went up but when you’re only paying a dollar or two we certainly didn’t question them.

The turtle was gone so fast

The turtle was gone so fast

 

 

While walking through the market we noticed a turtle laying on the ground in the sun, at first we thought it was dead but then we realised it was alive.  Norman asked what they were going to do with it to which they replied ‘Eat it’.  They keep animals alive so they remain fresh but this poor turtle was clearly suffering so Norman asked them how much did they want for it.  After some bartering rp200,000 about £14 was agreed.  It was carried to the beach and put down onto the sand, as soon as it realised it was free it was scrabbling to get into the sea.  A wave picked it up and it was gone so quickly I could only get this photo with it’s little shell just showing in the middle of the picture.  Hopefully it will remain free.

Back on the bikes

Back on the bikes

 

 

 

We jumped back on the bikes and were taken back to the dinghy further down the beach.

Delicious bananas

Delicious bananas

 

 

 

These are the bananas I bought in the market for rp20,000 about £1.40, they taste so sweet here having only been picked a few days ago.  I also managed to get some beans, carrots, spring onions and tomatoes, but no other salad and no apples.  I don’t think we’ll see apples for a while.

Norsa being 'rescued'

Norsa being ‘rescued’

 

Saturday 10th we decided to leave Ba’a and sail around the corner of the island to Nemberala.  Unfortunately Norman’s anchor got hooked around a bommie (coral head) and was jammed.  We asked our motorbike friends if there were any divers that could come and help.  They sent out the local dive rescue, which consisted of a couple of guys in a canoe with a snorkel mask between them!   With a lot of shouting forwards and backing after several hours Norsa was free although Bill thinks Norman probably freed her himself but the boys were trying to be very helpful.  We arrived at Nemberala just as it was getting dark, which was a bit tricky as we had to pass through a reef but all were safely in by 6.30.

Lots of boats in anchorage

Lots of boats in anchorage

Pretty church

Pretty church

 

 

There were quite a few rally boats in the anchorage and the next day we all headed into the village to look around.  I found this pretty little church tucked away and this…..

Local petrol station

Local petrol station

 

 

 

 

…is the local petrol station.  All of these bottles hold a litre of petrol, just enough for a motorbike tank.  It’s decanted from a large drum of petrol usually with the use of funnels and tubes and sometimes while the guy is puffing on a cigarette!  I kid you not.  These ones have proper lids but we’ve seen them with little bits of rags stuffed into the top.  Words like cocktail and Molotov come to mind!

Hut on the beach

Hut on the beach

 

We walked along the beach and saw several huts like this that have people living in them.  Can’t imagine what it’s like in the rainy season, maybe they live somewhere else then.

Sue having a pedicure

Sue having a pedicure

 

 

 

 

We walked right to the end of the beach and found a lovely resort with a spa, Sara and I treated ourselves to Pedicures.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

 

 

 

 

 

We found it was serving cold beers, something of a rarity in these parts as many people don’t have fridges let alone the electricity to power them.  As you might expect the other cruisers had also found the place and it became our favourite spot for Happy Hour.

Cheers!

15

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Our first week in Indonesia – Kupang

Rally yachts in the early morning mist

Rally yachts in the early morning mist

Thursday 1st August we finally got checked into Indonesia.  There were 70+ boats to check in over 3 days so it took a while but the Sail Indonesia people were brilliant.  They organised for the customs to board each boat in turn to do the quarantine inspection, which entailed filling in forms and stamping them with our ships stamp that we had bought before leaving the UK.  It hadn’t been used very much but when the Indonesians saw it they all wanted a stamp on their forms.  We jumped in the dinghies to go ashore and complete the formalities.  There were a fleet of boat boys on the beach ready to pull the dinghy up the beach as soon as we landed.  The Sail Indonesia people had arranged for all the government officials to be in one room so it was just a matter of going from table to table to fill in and stamp yet more forms and hand over countless copies of our passports, C.A.I.T., ships papers, etc.  Indonesia is very bureaucratic.

Fish in the night market waiting to be cooked

Fish in the night market waiting to be cooked

Once we checked in we went for a walk around the town.  Kupang reminded us of Honiara in the Solomons.    There were lots of shops but all selling the same thing, none of which we wanted to buy.  Every thing seems very cheap.  In the evening we went to look at the night market.   There were lots of stalls selling food but we decided not to eat there.  This fresh fish looked ok but the oil they were frying it in had seen better days.

This lady is doing the washing up.

This lady is doing the washing up.

 

 

Also the washing up didn’t look very hygienic!  Some of the cruisers did eat there and sadly several of them were poorly the following day.  We still have western stomachs.

One of the workers in the sewing rooms

One of the workers in the sewing rooms

 

 

 

Alongside the market were lots of sewing rooms with very old singer sewing machines making quite nice clothes.  This is one of the workers.  They were sewing into the night.  The flash on my camera made it look quite light in there but it wasn’t.

These ladies provided the musical accompaniment.

These ladies provided the musical accompaniment.

 

The next day Friday 2nd August about 50 or 60 of us went ashore early and got into 3 buses.  The air conditioning was the open windows!  We were taken about 100 miles or so north into the Timor countryside.  The driving was madness!  Bill and I sat in the front seat behind the driver and Gary and Jackie of Inspiration Lady sat on the other side.  We had ringside seats to the overtaking on bends, motorbikes overtaking, many without crash helmets on, and general chaos.  How there aren’t more accidents I don’t know.

These children greeted us with a traditional dance, note the military statue behind them

These children greeted us with a traditional dance, note the military statue behind them

 

After 2 1/2 hours we arrived at our first destination.  It appeared to be some sort of military square which had been prepared for our arrival.  All the way along the route we had been greeted with waves and smiles and now, as we got out of the buses, cameras were clicking from all directions.  It felt like we were celebrities.  Everyone was shouting ‘Hello Mr, Hello Mrs’ and wanting to have their photo taken with us, it was bizarre.  These children welcomed us with a dance and gradually moved backwards as we advanced forward.  Note the military statue behind them.

Elders dressed in traditional costume

Elders dressed in traditional costume

 

There were speeches from these elders dressed in traditional costume and also from the formal looking gentlemen in uniform.  We weren’t sure what was going on because it was all in Indonesian but finally we were presented with beautiful hand made scarves and invited to watch more dancing.

I joined in with the dancing

I joined in with the dancing

 

 

 

Afterwards the children came and asked us all to join in which we did.

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This is Bill with one of the lovely scarves that was presented to us.  His hat is from Australia and is made of real kangaroo skin.

 

 

 

 

 

Paddy fields growing rice

Paddy fields growing rice

View from the top of the hill

View from the top of the hill

 

 

We continued on our journey through rice paddy fields and started going uphill.

 

 

 

 

Our bus

Our bus

 

The midwife

The midwife

 

 

 

We turned down a dirt track and drove until we came to a traditional village.  The first hut we came to was the midwife’s house.  Babies are born here and don’t come out until they are 4 days old.  I asked what the infant mortality rate was and they said none but I don’t believe that.  It was very dark inside and the open fire had blackened the inside of the roof.  It was very hot and oppressive.  I don’t think I would like to have a baby in there.

 

 

Inside the midwives house

Inside the midwives house

Modern house

Modern house

 

 

 

These are the type of houses the government are encouraging them to build but the people said they were too hot inside and prefer to stick to their traditional houses.

 

 

Traditional house

Traditional house

Outside kitchen

Outside kitchen

 

 

 

 

This is the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

17

Bill and Norman drinking from the coconuts

Bill and Norman drinking from the coconuts

 

 

 

A young man was sent up to get coconuts; he made it look so easy.

 

 

 

 

Bill and I with the elders of the village

Bill and I with the elders of the village

The children are always so happy

The children are always so happy

 

 

We had a wonderful time looking around the village and seeing into their world.  I don’t think they dress like this all the time but I certainly believe they live there permanately.  They were such happy people.  Time came for us to leave and the children as usual were laughing and singing.

 

 

The royal family of the province of Soa

The royal family of the province of Soa

Inside their sitting room

Inside their sitting room

We continued on our journey to the home of the regional royal family.  They seem to have lots of local kings, queens, princes and princesses.  We had a wonderful lunch in their grounds and were then invited to see inside their home.  It seemed very grand compared to the village but compared to a western king their home was very modest.

Chinese dragon dancing

Chinese dragon dancing

Interesting hats!

Interesting hats!

 

 

Saturday 3rd August we had a relaxing day until we went ashore in the evening for the Gala dinner, the highlight of our visit to Kupang.  As we arrived in the dinghies the throng of people were there to take our photos.  I’m beginning to understand how the celebrities feel now.  We were bused out to the outside of town to an open air venue.  As we arrived they had Chinese dragons dancing.  Wonderful food was served and then they had lots of local dancing, these young ladies had very interesting head dresses on.

Sunday we spent the day planning our trip through Indonesia and trying to decide which route to take.

During the evening I had a call to say that Mum had lost her fight for life and had sadly passed away.  While we had been in Darwin I had flown home to see her in hospital and had hoped she would recover but sadly she hadn’t.

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