logo Pearl of Persia
Date: 23 Sep 2013 03:58:00
Title: Indonesia

Lat 10:13.7S Long 123:31.6E
It took us 3 nights and best part of 4 days to cover the 450 miles to
Indonesia. We managed to sail for the most part but there was also quite a
bit of motoring. We passed oil platforms and many fishing boats before we
saw Kupang in the distance which was our port of entry into the country.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world but manages to live in
harmony alongside the Christians and Hindu population. Islam is practiced by
most and you hear the call to prayer in the mornings and evenings, but as a
woman you never feel threatened or feel the need to cover up completely.
The people are very friendly and the atmosphere relaxed. The checking in
process was typically 3rd world and chaotic, with lots of forms that had to
be filled out and photocopied. Six officials arrived on each boat, customs,
immigration, quarantine, and spent 20 minutes looking at papers, demanding
more copies and then looking through the boat to make sure we were not
carrying any diseases from Australia. They also ask for 'presents' of wine
beer and chocolate which we were advised not to give. Then back onto land to
see more officials, with more paper and more copies of essentially the same
thing until finally we were given the OK to roam the water ways and streets
of Indonesia.
The highlight of getting here for us was that Oliver was waiting for us at
Teddy's bar right across from where we anchored. Having securing a training
contract with a law firm he has joined us for a 2 week holiday whilst we
cruise the islands of Indonesia. We had not seen him since leaving Antigua
last January so it was fantastic seeing him across the bar nursing his
immense bottle of beer, looking relaxed and happy.
Kupang is the most easterly town in Indonesia and has a place in history. It
was here that Captain Bligh finally landed after an epic 4000 mile voyage in
a small open boat with a few faithful crew. The mutiny...on the
Bounty....took place in Tonga and it is beyond belief that he could travel
so far with all surviving. Walking around the markets was a reality check
that we had indeed arrived in the 3rd world. Having been in Australia for
the best part of 2 months meant that we had forgotten about dirty streets,
poverty and life on the streets . We saw how palm sugar was made, the flower
sap being boiled up in huge pans in smoky village huts and how they dry the
sea water to harvest the salt. Andrew spent 50 pence on a huge bag of salt,
but on arriving back at the boat the salt smelled so strongly of decaying
fish I had to empty it all back into the ocean. Certainly a far cry from,
the expensive sea salt you buy in Waitrose.
That night, there was a party put on by the local tourist board to welcome
us to Indonesia. Local dancing and food were offered which was fantastic.
A group of us managed to visit a local orphanage the following day where 45
boys and girls aged 2-16 share some pretty basic conditions. We managed to
provide them with toys and much needed mattresses to sleep on. It was
humbling seeing the children's bedroom with just a slab of concrete on the
floor, where they slept straight on the floor. There was no toy in sight and
the only free time was spent kicking the dirt around in the yard, so the
toys were accepted with glee. We left the following morning to cruise around
these beautiful islands.
Photos show Local man climbing the palm sugar tree, Oliver trying to copy
the local man and failing miserably
In the market buying some limes and chilli and sampling the nectar from the
palm flower.

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