Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beginning Indonesia with Kupang.

Since we had to motor all the way from Darwin to Kupang our main diesel tank started to be seriously low and the first thing we had to do after the entry procedures was to fill up. This was especially true since the weather forecasts for Indonesia show this is a windless country. On the left you can see Napa our agent who took care of the entry procedures and provided the fuel. Of course, no fuel dock here with a nice pump at hand so 10 Jerry cans were necessary to carry the 240 liters we required and since we don't know the state of the fuel we had to filter everything to remove the dirt and water that could be contaminating it but to our astonishment it was fairly clean.
A quick note about entry procedures in Indonesia; basically they are very complex and Danielle has been working on this for three months. The language barrier and the administrative cumbersomeness forced us to use an agent who took care of all the local procedures. We still had to search for info, find an agent, contact him and get the visas. For the visas we got them at the Indonesian Embassy in Darwin. In all, the fees for the visas, the cruising permit, the bond waivers, the agents services and the lost in currency changes sum up to about $860.00, which makes Indonesia the most expensive country in our trip to get in.

There is nothing better to commute than buses. Indonesia not being a car country there is a bus every other minute to take us for a $0.20 fee. Quite a contrast with Australia where the fees were $2.00 and we had to wait sometimes up to 1½ hour for to bus to show up! As expected people here are very nice and patients with us. However, there is something different with the other countries we went. Normally people are used to see white tourists walking the streets and for them we are like the trees; of no interests unless they want money from us. But here people looked at us with a certain curiosity. Some, usually older, would smile at us and say hello but most of them seemed not to know how to behave went crossing us on the street. In those cases all we had to do is to give them a nice smile and say ''Hello!'' to startle them and so they realized we are simply normal human beings. Every time their face would burst into a huge genuine smile indicating their relief. In one case though a group of men behind their street counters gave us the strong feeling they were making fun of us but since we didn't understand anything they said it was hard to get upset. An interesting fact is that even if most of them gave us the impression we came from Mars they all seemed to know how to say "Hello mister!" even the youngest one who had barely learned to talk. We will probably solve that mystery during the month and a half we plan to stay in Indonesia.

As a routine for us now our walks in town usually are aimed at replenishing fruits and vegetables. Kupang being a city of 300,000 it's not the hardest thing in the world to find someone to sell us some. Prices are relatively low but we got tourist priced at some point and, the language barrier not helping, we seriously have to refine our dealing skills.
By the way, for those who are a bit more awake, you may have notice that we are now in Timor, which is a large island in Eastern Indonesia. Timor made the front page of the newspapers at the end of the last century due to the quasi genocide unrolling here. This was in fact East Timor the other part of the island while we are in West Timor who seems to live in peace as part of Indonesia. As for East Timor, if I understood the story correctly, it seemed to have had lived some very sad days when a regime came in place and fought the Indonesian regime with the consequence that 200,000 out of the 750,000 inhabitants of the area got slaughtered by the conflict but mostly by the local regime. East Timor is one of the two places in the world, after the Gulf of Aden, where insurance companies don't even want to talk about boat coverage!