Day 84, Year 3: Crumbling, Bustling Kupang
Date: Hari Jumat (Friday), Bulan Agustus 1, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Sunny and Windy
Location: Kupang, W Timor, Indonesia

We actually got out about the city today and what an experience. The streets are fairly narrow and there are just hundreds of motor bikes and mini-van (bemos) flying everywhere honking their horns constantly. And the horns don’t just honk, they have some sort of repeating sound system that I think would drive me crazy if I had to live here and listen to it constantly. The waterfront is decorated with flags but when you look past the decoration, you see the crumbling concrete. It looks as if all the buildings along the shore could easily fall into the ocean with just a little push.

After checking in with the Harbormaster and completing our Quarantine process we headed to out of the Sail Indonesia headquarters area and tried as hard as we could to also escape all of the wanna be guides. We really just wanted to walk around the city and see the sights without assistance. But no sooner than we headed up the street, a young man approached us and followed us for a while. We walked faster and he lagged behind, so we thought we had made it. But then an older gentleman who didn’t speak much English started tagging along. We explored a part of the city away from the waterfront and saw lots of uniformed school children who squealed with delight when we greeted them with “Selamat Siang.” We stopped to have a cold drink and our tag-along guide enjoyed a Coke with us. We then walked back toward the waterfront and visited L’Avalon, a really rickedy looking shack by the sea with an owner that is quite knowledgeable about all of Nusa Tengarra. We had read about Edwin in the Lonely Planet and we just wanted to meet him while in that part of town. He has a great website and pointed out some of the beautiful spots on upcoming islands that we should not miss. We then continued down the main street back toward the Sail Indonesia area. We were looking for locks and finally found them in one of the street cart “stores.” After haggling a bit over the price, we successfully purchased eight locks that a little smaller than we wanted, but they will do. I wanted to stop in a fabric shop and look at some the beautiful material, but unfortunately we had not brought enough money to shore with us. We had lunch back at Teddy’s Bar and made a decision to go back up the main street to the bank where we had withdrawn money just yesterday and get seven million more. I love these Indonesian Rupiahs. They make you feel so rich talking about withdrawing millions. Unfortunately, the millions don’t go very far.

We came back to Windbird, after getting soaking wet trying to get the dinghy away from shore in the pounding surf, and in just a bit we will try to return to shore to go to the official welcome dinner. The surf is still running pretty hard against the shore, so most of us out here on our boats are having to wait longer than we hoped to go back in. Someone earlier today actually flipped their dinghy and we are not interested in that kind of activity. Tomorrow we leave by 7 am for our trip inland to Boti village. A young man we met today from Boti told us that it is a very long trip and that we should take headsets to listen to music, lots of mosquito repellent, and at least two memory cards for the camera as there will lots of photo opportunities.

There will be an announcement tomorrow morning about the political situation in which we have found ourselves. We were told late yesterday that an agreement has been reached, but the details are still forthcoming. We think we will be free to leave here by Monday, but I think we are going to need a day of rest before we head out. Evidently there is great internet here but we haven’t had a chance to use it. Somehow we have once again kept ourselves just too busy.

080801 Day 84 W Timor, Indonesia–Jalan Jalan, Just Walking Around Kupang