Kupang – West
The Indonesian Rally started in Fannie Bay, Darwin
at 11:00 a.m. on 23rd July with the usual 10 minute and 5 minute
warnings before the start hooter. We were expecting a big bang for the off but
it was subdued so a number of fog horns joined in to mark the occasion.
We had an uneventful passage here if a bit slow.
The start of the cruise was plagued by light winds. We chose a rather long route
in the hope we could get a better angle on the following wind but managed simply
to avoid the best period of trade winds when they did eventually arrive. On the
plus side we caught 3 nice Albacore which have provided some excellent
We arrived early on the morning of the
27th and proceeded to negotiate our way through the officialdom. In
total we saw 29 officials. Before we could go ashore we were boarded by 7 people
in a variety of uniforms who gave us enough paperwork to land. We then proceeded
to a room where we gradually worked our way around Quarantine, Immigration,
Customs, Health, Port Control and Fisheries ending up at a Rally table where we
were given a couple of Rally T-shirts and a small holdall to store the
multiplicity of papers. Sadly this bureaucratic passage was not uneventful. We
came to a grinding halt with immigration because Lorraine's “social visa”, which
allows us to stay for 60 days and is extendible, had been cancelled when she
flew in to Bali on her way back to Oz and Indonesian Customs refused to use the
Transit Visa purchased for this trip. The upshot is that we had to buy yet
another visa which is only valid for 30 days but should be extendible for
another month before it runs out. This means we might have to leave the rally
early and there will undoubtedly be a hassle and a wasted day or 2 renewing it.
This all adds to the wild mix of being in Indonesia which is very different and
Anyway we have had a really busy few days since
this irritating setback and have developed a real feel for this country. Kupang
is a city of 300,000 or so and is, I imagine, similar to many Asian
cities...noise, dirt, motorbikes litter, dodgy pavements, smelly sewers etc.
However the people are just delightful. We are welcomed in the street by
complete strangers, who are keen to try out their English. This girl with her 2
siblings and a friend guided us around the part of the town closest to the
harbour where we are anchored.
There are shops and stalls everywhere selling all
sorts of things.
The first day's tour took us around the town to: a
cultural exhibition, a place where we could feed monkeys, a museum with a
delightful director who welcomed us speaking excellent English and a fascinating
We then went to the market to experience
wonderful handicrafts, antiques, all sorts of goods and produce. It was
reminiscent of markets in Morocco but the traders were calm and quiet and didn't
hassle us to buy at all. We bought fresh produce and a rubber bucket to replace
one lost overboard on the way across from Oz.
We were guided by an elderly chap who spoke good
English but with such a strong accent that he was often difficult to understand.
On the way back in the bus he and his beautiful assistant Rode (pronounced
Roday) sang traditional songs to us.
During the evening we had the Regency Governor's
Dinner and Welcome Event complete with speeches and dancing girls. This was the
first of our 2 welcome dinners, the second being held the next night by the
Mayor of Kupang.
All gave way later to live music from rock and
roll to reggae and most of everything else in between. They really could sing,
one woman in particular who was a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Meatloaf!
That went on well past our bedtime but we managed to get to sleep before the
mosque started up at 04.30 a.m.
What a place!