11 August 2012
July 31, 2012 Wow! What a culture shcok! We anchored off of the town of Kupang, East Timor, Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The colors, smells, horns honking--all these things told us that we were no longer in Kansas. And if that did not convince us that we were in a unique and exotic place-- then the loudspeakers calling the faithful to prayer five times a day (starting at 4am) really punched it home. Welcome to Indonesia! After anchoring, we waited for the officials to come and inspect our boat for clearance. We cannot leave the boat until we have been cleared in-- and the wait was going to be long. But we were warned by the folks at Sail Indonesia Rally (we had joined this rally and highly recommend it) that to get by in Indonesia you must have patience and a smile-- especially when dealing with government officials. Later, a small powerboat banged along side our boat and five big burly guys came on board and sat in our small cockpit-- at least it seemed small with these big guys in it. Mucho, mucho forms later, five diet cokes and we were cleared in--initially. We were instructed to go ashore and finish the clearing in formalities. We launched our dink and went ashore. They have a group of guys on shore who will help you land and launch your dinghy and watch it all day while on the beach-- all for $40,000 Indonesian Rupiahs. That is about $4 USD-- it is hard to get used to the extra zeros when using Rupiahs-- you basically drop four zeros to get the US dollar amount. When we got to shore we were met by Ayub who showed us to the 'clearing in' room. There were about twenty officials sitting behind tables waiting to clear us in. Health, quarentine, customs, immigration, and finally the harbor master-- we ran the gauntlet in about 45 minutes and were officially cleared in! We stepped outside and went to Teddy's Bar for lunch and a few Bintangs. Bintang is the Indonesian beer-- and it is Yummy! That night we were guests at a big party hosted by the Provincial Governor. We had free great food, dancing by traditional Indonesian dancers, beautiful music, and long speeches. The governor welocmed us and we all drank ALOT of Bintang Beer--way too much fun!