15 June 2012
We are in Ende to grab the ferry to Kupang in Timor where our new swingarm awaits (courtesy of Ural who also paid for the shipping). Unfortunately this is not to be. We get diferent answers from each person that we talk to. Ende has three ports and each one is autonomous, no connection or information with the others. We make the rounds to all three to sort out the situation. This is frustrating. The answers range from "yes, it is coming tomorrow" to "no, there was never a ferry from here to Kupang". Eventually we figure everything out with the help from a visiting doctor from Jakarta (we were really glad to meet someone from Java again). One port has a ferry to Kupang but it doesn't take cargo or vehicles. The second port used to have a ferry to Kupang but a ship sank there near the dock over a year ago, blocking access to large boats. The third port does still have ferry service to Kupang and it takes vehicles but.... the boat has been broken for the last few weeks and no one is sure when it will be repaired. So, we're boned. We'll just have to drive the rest of the way to Larantuka on the Ende of Flores and get the ferry that still (hopefully) goes from there to Kupang.
Anna decides to take a vacation to Thailand and we'll meet up again in Timor. This is fine with me since I won't worry so much about my precious cargo and it will be less stress on the bad swing arm.
I decide to tune up the bike a bit. Playing musical spokes draws a large and smiling crowd, amused by the wrench banging on the spokes like a glockenspiel.
There are very very few foreigners in Ende. We did meet an Aussie guy that is bicycling his way across Timor and Flores. His calf muscles were ginormous. Going up and down these hills is hard on a powered vehicle, I can't even imagine how difficult it is on a bicycle. This is his "vacation". I feel like a wuss just thinking about this guy.
Took a sunset ride along the coast. After all the recent shit I really needed this. It's relaxing and beautiful. It reminds me why I love to ride. It's been such a slog, I haven't felt that in awhile.
We met Doddy, an ethnic Chinese guy (they seem to be over represented in Indonesia's business world) from Jakarta. He owns a small restaurant and his brother has a bakery across the street. His English was excellent. I don't know exactly why but I really enjoyed his company and came back several nights just to chat. It was nice to conect with someone.
We have a very difficult time in Ende. We wince everytime we have to go outside or walk down the street. Something is wrong with many of the people here. We feel like circus freaks. People constantly shout at us, follow us, stare at us, touch us, making strange whooping noises and bounce around like monkeys when we pass by. Day or night, there isn't a moment of peace when we are in public. When we need to go to eat or to the harbour, we mentally prep ourselves to run the gauntlet. We've had issues in other cities but it reaches it's peak here. Walking down a market street we reach a limit and can't cope with the rude attention and noise anymore. We walk back to the bike. We're both feeling a bit emotional and trying to talk each other down. Then some guy with a flower pot on his head who has been staring at us from across the street walks over and stands closer for a better look, maybe 3 feet away. He just sits there and stares at us with a slack jawed face. Anna shouts at him to f-off and go away. He doesn't get it, he just stares stupidly. We're not humans to these people. We're some kind of species or freak show. None of the normal standards of conduct or decency apply to us.
I've had a revelation about all this recently. Will have to do a more detailed post on the subject later.
Sunset on the black sand beach near one of the ports.
Sunset on the black sand beach near one of the ports. I was amazed that this guy managed to launch that little canoe through the rolling waves.
Soccer on the black sand beach.
It was a real pleasure to talk with Doddy. A normal guy amongst jackals.