Next day, Higi organises this minibus and driver to
take us on a cultural tour of the island.
How he managed to see out
of his windscreen is a mystery, like peering through a cave hole!
So many decorations
and good luck charms, I think the driver likes to reflect upon himself!
Second stop after
dropping of some laundry at Higi’s relative’s house, was to one
of the High Schools to try and use their internet facility. Whilst waiting
for our turn in the computer room, we took this picture of Ollie with the 6th
And the girls who had
come in from the Northern part of the island to use internet for their
We were unlucky
however, and not able to get the internet connection to send off our blogs.
Luckily David did have the ‘Telstra roam’ internet connection for
his i-phone, so a few text messages could be sent.
Next stop was to fill
up the jerry cans with diesel, which Higi had managed to borrow from another
hotel for us. This gasoline station had no name up on the canopy.
And the fuel counter
was manipulated manually! At least we knew how much diesel we had delivered,
and Higi soon realised that we had been overcharged by 95,000 Rupiahs, and
ensured we got our change after being charge the wrong amount! (800,000
instead of 705,000 Rupiahs) – cost was 31 pence a litre, or 51
Australian cents a litre.
The government in
Jakarta has funded a huge building project for all Government employees in
Saumlaki, this is one of the main ‘parliament’ building in the
process of being completed
Governor’s house and guest wings
One of the many
Library, not yet open, but should offer internet facilities eventually one
Higi takes us to the
East Cost, to visit the shrine made up to the first Dutch priest to arrive
100 years ago, they
will be celebrating the anniversary next year at this outdoor Church place
Whilst there, a couple
of fishermen arrive to go spear fishing with their home made spear guns, made
out of pieces of rubber, metal and wood. Even their goggles had been cut out
of rubber and pieces of glass fitted to them.
Just inland of the
coast was another shrine which will also be part of next year’s
celebration. It was built just 5 years ago, and is falling to pieces
This is on
Higi’s family’s land. The family were given money by the Church
to build the shrine.
The view from the top
is spectacular. The trees in the middle ground are all teak, owned by
various members of Higi’s family.
This home belongs to a
family of weavers, with the carpentry next to it. It must have been used to
make this lovely teak house too!
We are introduced to
two ladies who are still weaving cloth for use in ceremonial occasions.
This old lady clearly
still enjoying her work, but it must be hard on her back, despite having a
back strap around her
This cloth is made
from Kapok grown on the island, and indigo made from tree sap and the red is
made from another plant sap.
I think the old lady
must have lost her teeth and gums from chewing too much betel nut, judging by
the betel nut spit which was outside their house!
I did not buy any of
the sarongs or headscarfs, as we had no cash left! A visit to the ATM
machine in town solved the problem, as it was finally working again
We had to wait our
turn at the ATM however, but at least it dispensed cash with the MasterCard,
although not Ollie’s Visa card!
The police were in
evidence, as they had just escorted a plane load of government officials up
to the Governor’s house in a huge cavalcade of smart cars and armed
escort each side!
We had lunch at the
Hotel which had loaned us the jerry cans. Fried fish fillets with rice and
noodles and mixed vegetables, very acceptable, and costing only 15,000 Rupiah
each (1GB pound).
These basket weaving
ladies were in another nearby village
They give me this
small basket to try out, in exchange for the bottle of peanuts I gave them to
But this is where the
head band comes in really handy, for carrying heavy loads of wood and copra
As we walk through the
village, we notice newly concreted roads allowing a mini bus to offer local
transport to the villagers. These roads were only made 5 years ago, so not
sure how long they will last the ravages of time!
We are taken to this
home made brew still, where they make ‘SOPI’ which is also known
as RAKI elsewhere in Indonesia, made from the sap of the coconut flower
The flower seen here,
dripping it’s sap into a clear plastic bottle
The sap is put into
this huge drum and warmed up by the fire (doggy feels safe here too)!
A few minutes later,
the distilled coconut flower sap is poured into a glass for us to try –
WOW, that’s very powerful stuff, about 95% proof!, but it tastes good,
so we buy a bottle for 50,000 Rupiah (about 4 GPpounds, 7$ Australian). They
always give Sopi at weddings and funerals, and any other important event, so
all the families must have some at home just in case!
As we walk back, the
kids follow guiding their wheels with sticks on the concrete path, so nice to
see these old fashioned games still in use!
I notice this family
sitting on their bamboo platform enjoying their lunch in the traditional
A bumpy road to the
next village along the coast brings us to this wood carver’s home.
Here with a ‘sampan’
So many people arrived
with carvings, figures and boats, many made from Black Ebony
It all became a bit
too pressurised! We bought a pair of carvings, and said goodbye
A lady was weaving
just outside the house too, a very beautiful sarong, pity it was not ready
The house opposite had
a pig, which Higi told us is also a prerequisite for important occasions,
like funerals and weddings, being given to the brides family by the grooms
We get diverted off
the main coast road to a back village road, due to a funeral. Suddenly the
road stopped! Our minibus had to back up and go back down to the main road
after the funeral procession had passed by
Higi standing with our
carving, chatting with Ollie whilst we wait for the road to clear
David, Ollie and Higi
carry a heavy can of diesel back to the jetty to load up into the dinghy
At the end of a very