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.
And then we left Bolok behind.
I forked out an extra 50,000rp for a bed in the VIP Room
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.
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
Ferry arrived on time and unloading was pretty quick, then down to another smaller port for a much smaller boat to Solor.
Arrived without incident apart from all the attention PB attracts. Simon kept the crew entertained by telling them all about my trip with PB.
Arrived on Solor without incident.
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
Simon and his 72yo dad.
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.
They danced and sang all night so slept most of the day until we departed on the 2pm boat for Larantuka.
Landed at Larantuka.
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.