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Old 10-19-2013, 06:20 PM   #44
RDT953 OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Kobe Japan
Oddometer: 275
Larantuka to Solor

Iím finally on a ferry to somewhere. Itís a stifling hot day very reminiscent of the build-up to the wet season in Darwin. Another storm in Kupang yesterday so it looks like the wet weather gear will be getting more use soon.
Put the bike cover on PB for the first time.
PB Under cover photo PBGoesundercover.jpg
And then we left Bolok behind.
Leaving Bolok photo R_LeavingBolok.jpg
I forked out an extra 50,000rp for a bed in the VIP Room
VIP Room on Ferry photo R_VIPRoom.jpg
Where the music from the PA system struggled to be heard over the audio from the TV all bloody night. Even with earplugs wedged so far into my ears they were touching each other the noise was incredible. This is something Iíve encountered on all of my previous travels in Asia, what is it with the noise pollution?
Should arrive in Larantuke around 0500 and then taking a small boat to the nearby island of Solor to attend a Koke Bale ceremony at Lewonama village.
I was sitting up on the top deck reading my Kindle, it was much cooler up there as the sun was setting and not too crowded. A group of young ladies all in the same T Shirts were taking lots of pics of each other and in the end all crowded together for a group photo. They asked a couple of locals to take a photo for them but couldnít get any takers so I volunteered. That set off a bit of pandemonium as they all then wanted a photo with the funny looking foreign bloke. Anyway, they were all graduated mid-wives from a Kupang institute on their way back to Flores.
Mid-Wives on ferry to Larantuka photo Mid-WivesgoingtoFlores-1.jpg
Just previous to that Iíd been talking to a bloke (Simon) from the same university who was on his way back to his home island to take part in and record the ceremony I mentioned above. One of the distinct advantages of solo travel is that locals are far more prepared to approach and interact with a lone foreigner than they are with two or more. Looking forward to this it could be pretty interesting.
Arriving at Larantuka
Approaching Larantuka photo R_AppLarantuka.jpg
Ferry arrived on time and unloading was pretty quick, then down to another smaller port for a much smaller boat to Solor.
ME and PB to Solor photo R_MeandPBtoSolor.jpgArrived without incident apart from all the attention PB attracts. Simon kept the crew entertained by telling them all about my trip with PB.
Simon and Crew photo R_Simonandcrew.jpg
Arrived on Solor without incident.
Landing at Solor photo R_LandingonSolor.jpg
We were hosted by Simonís uncle Alfonse and family. This could described as a very humble abode but itís full of love, happiness and laughter. I had a great time there and conducted a few English lessons with the kids, showed some cartoons I have on the laptop (a big hit) and attended ceremony feasts and dances.
Dad and kids enjoying Toy Story
Alfonse and kids enjoying cartoons photo AlfonseandkidsenjoyingToyStory-1.jpg
Simon and his 72yo dad.
Simon and Father photo R_SimonandFather.jpg
I have plenty of video of the ceremony dancing but no still pics. It was pretty fascinating stuff but also a little intimidating. The arak was getting passed around and people were getting into the mood for dancing, the trouble is that there were more than a few dancing with bloody big blades dangling in hands. I stayed until about midnight and then made my way to bed. Iíd set my inner tent up on the porch. Alfonse loved my tent and therma-rest mattress.
The hall. This was built to help unify the various tribes and villages in the area and was what the ceremony was all about. The undercurrent I detected was that there were disputes about land ownership that had been ongoing for some years.
Lewonama Community Hall photo R_CommunityhallSolor.jpg
They danced and sang all night so slept most of the day until we departed on the 2pm boat for Larantuka.
Landed at Larantuka.
 photo PBBacktoLarantuka.jpg
And promptly set off for Maumere, me on PB and Simon on the bus. Simon is visiting his wife and kids here and has asked if I will meet with them.
Found a cheap Hotel in Maumere with the assistance of the local police. It was dark when I got into town and a bit chaotic with traffic. I saw a huge police compound, stopped and asked directions. A senior looking bloke came out and directed one of the younger officers to escort me to my hotel. You canít ask for more than that.
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