02 August 2008 | Kupang
Friday was spent investigating the various things available plus visiting the Harbour Master for more paper work. Every department wants about four copies of passports, CAIT (Cruising permit, crew list. Yacht registration, and Australian clearance. After all this we are still impounded, under house arrest and not allowed to leave port. We then went to have a bit of a look at the town. Man alive, is it a mad house and so noisy - cars playing loud music, beeping horns, motor bikes everywhere (the most popular mode of transport) and when trying to cross the road you are putting your life in your hands!! Decided to buy lunch and had a look at one recommended place but when I saw flies in the window with the food I refused to eat there! Instead we went to Teddy's Bar for lunch which cost us each all of $A3.60. A bottle of the local beer, Bintang is $A2.75 and they are 620ml bottles and is a nice beer. While ashore we organized our fuel and that is another story. One does a deal with a local who gives you a price for fuel which we have to pay for up front and he brings it in containers to the shore and then one ferries it out to the boat by dinghy. Catala and us did a deal for diesel and petrol for 7500 rupiah per litre - $A.91cents. We paid $A1.41 for duty free fuel in Darwin. Having done the deal it was a major mission trying to get it on the boat as there have been huge swells in at the shoreline as well as where we are anchored, with dinghies being flipped etc. We had to cancel our delivery for Friday afternoon, in fact it was so bad ashore we could not get in for the formal dinner with the Local Governor so were disappointed to have missed that. There were a lot of us that didn't go.
The guy was there early Saturday morning to deliver our fuel but we were going on a bus tour so Te Wai Pounamu took ours and Catala's fuel and Garth and Dave got ours yesterday and what a mission as the wind was even worse and we were rocking and rolling like anything. We are enjoying Kupang but not the anchorage with the windy conditions we are getting.
Our bus tour left at 7.30 Saturday morning and we got back to Kupang at 10pm. We were in a convoy with 12 bus loads of us with a police escort which had his siren going the whole trip. It was a very long day and we went on the most atrocious roads, or rather dirt tracks but we had a great day. First stop was 3 hrs after we left and we stopped at a hotel where we could get a drink and some nibbles for morning tea. We then went to a traditional Indonesian village where we were greeted with children dancing and then to see what was called the Headhunters dance. We were all given a coconut to drink the juice and a few of the local foods which we did not go much on, particularly the weird looking bananas! From there we were driven several more hours to Boti Village, arriving at 3pm where we had a traditional welcome where we were all presented with traditional hand woven scarves (men included), some of which are just beautiful, by the Prince and his sister, the princess. Not sure if they are really or just like the chief of a village. The father was King but has since died but the son is not called the King and he hasn't married either. In this village the men who have been born and bred in the village all have long hair but there is a ceremony for this. When the male is a small child his hair is cut with a knife and the hair is blown to the four winds and this procedure is performed by an uncle. After that, the child never ever has another haircut. Imports into the village have short hair. We then were witness to the killing of a pig with a knife and then they bled the blood from it into a bowl - I immediately removed myself from witnessing that! After this we were all given lunch and by this time it was 3pm! The food was tasty, although the beef was a bit tough. We also had a look at some of their beautiful handcrafts and weaving and watched a weaving display. The looms they do the weaving on are all made from sticks.
Afternoon tea was at 6pm at the hotel we stopped at in the morning and then the final stop was on the main highway to East Timor where we were welcomed in the middle of the highway with traditional dancing etc. and several of us, including me, were presented with the traditional hand woven scarves. The police set up a road block for 30 minuteswhile the dancing took place.
We were served dinner in boxes on the bus but it was a mission to get the food into ones mouth on such bumpy roads and with the driver racing the other buses and we still had a police escort.
Yesterday afternoon after the fuel run Janine, Garth (Catala)and us went ashore and by the time we went the sea ashore had died down so we got ashore quite easily. We had to pay a visit to customs again and pay 50,000 rupiah to get our bondage released and sign some papers and this morning they have been out to the boat to remove the sticker, or rather partially remove it, and we are now free to leave. After visiting customs we met up with a university student from East Timor and he took us to the shopping mall. We went in what they called a bemo (basically a van) which took us to the mall. What an experience, they beep the horn at everything that moves along with the very loud boom, boom, boom from pop music and is so noisy. It really is quite a sight. The loud music continues at the mall as well and some of the shops were huge - shoe shops the size of 10 in NZ put together, an absolutely amazing children's play area.
Last night we had the Mayor of Kupang's official welcome which was free, with a great meal served to between 300 - 400 and once again we were all presented with lovely hand woven scarves. There was dancing and a dancing display by some of the locals. Leanne from Keshi spoke in Indonesian and English on behalf of us yachties. Leanne is the most amazing person, so talented and as well as being a doctor is a great photographer along with her many other talents. She composed a great poem of our trip across the Gulf of Carpentaria with us, Musketelle and Catala. When we get a copy of it I will put it on our sailblog.
By 11pm last night I was feeling not too good and have deli belly so today I am staying out on our boat. By 1am I needed to take some antibiotic and although feeling a lot better than last night am not crash hot so am getting this on our blog and will download some photographs as I have wireless internet here on the boat, although it is a bit slow for skyping and hit and miss, depending on the wind.
We will have a bit more of a look around Kupang tomorrow and plan to leave for Alor on Wednesday.