Day 83, Year 3: Tidak Apa-Apa (No Worries)
Date: Hari Kamis (Thursday), Bulan Juli 31, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Partly Cloudy and Too Much Wind
Location: Kupang, W Timor, Indonesia

The day starts early here with fishing boats plying through the anchorage before dawn and the mosque’s 4:30 am call to prayers. And that the radio traffic starts. Everyone has questions but there are no answers because “we are in Indonesia now.” At least that is what the rally organizers keep saying on the radio. The concept of time as we know it is just not practiced here. Indonesians wear watches but only for looks. The phrase here of “Jam Karet” is translated as rubber time and we have to learn to live this way while here. I don’t know how to say “chill out” in Indonesian, but that is what needs to happen here. The Australian “No worries, mate” is now “Tidak apa-apa.”

So while we were not worrying today the anchorage became real-life bumper car ride. In the early afternoon the winds became wicked and as the tide came in it was like we were in boiling cauldron. Boats started dragging everywhere. And of course, no one was on the boats that were dragging. The cruiser call went out and dinghies converged on the dragging boats and got them under control. This went on for more than an hour and then things calmed just a bit and no more boats were free floating. Mark and I needed to go into town to withdraw money from the bank, so we asked the boat next door to look after Windbird while we were gone. We found a guide that could walk to the bank with us and interpret if there were issues with the withdrawal. Cece (cheche) was our guide and she teaches English to students in junior and senior high school. She hopes to come to the United States to teach English to Indonesians. She became an instant soul mate and we hope to be able to bring her out to the boat when the winds calm down. She really wanted to see what a cruising boat looks like inside.

On our way back to Windbird we were going to stop by Rendezvous Cay to ask about their fuel delivery today. Mark had made arrangements with the same guy delivering fuel to Rendezvous Cay to also deliver to our boat. But when we got there, Marko was just leaving and he motioned for us to come to him. We paid him 3 million 900,000 Rupiah (about $460US) right on the spot and he promised to deliver 550 liters of diesel to our boat ASAP. Well, ASAP isn’t in the language here, but Marko said he would see us soon. This is business as usual in Indonesia. It wasn’t long until he arrived and then the true chaos began. Marko had obviously had a little too much to drink during the day and was a little just a little boisterous, but then this is what you get when you contract for services out of the main stream. If we had arranged for fuel through normal channels we would have paid almost twice this amount, so we just enjoyed Marko’s colorful character and chalked this one up as just one more interesting local experience.

Our evening was also just one more interesting local experience. We went to shore to have dinner and we were met by one of the young university guides that really wanted to take us to a great restaurant. We got in one of the bemos (small mini-van buses) and drove for what seemed like forever to a nice restaurant that ended up costing us much more than it should have. Plus we had to pay for the guide, but the amount we paid will go for his education so we couldn’t feel too bad about that. The bemo ride was quite an experience and made the whole evening worth it for me. When we returned to the waterfront, we stopped by the seaside bar to have a drink and watch some traditional dancing. The women wear the most incredible costumes made of the locally woven material. We also got to watch the men get into the act. They performed a dance where the object was to pick up the equivalent of a dollar bill with the mouth by bending down without letting knees touch the ground, all the while dancing. It was great fun.

We still have no word about when we can remove the impoundment sticker, but “Tidak apa-apa.” Tomorrow we will finish the check-in process and spend some time ashore exploring Kupang.

080731 Day 83 W Timor, Indonesia–Second Day in Kupang