Kupang - Part II

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 17 Oct 2008 16:56

Some what later than I had hoped….here is Kupang part II.


We joined with Hugh & Shaun and Michael & Lorraine of Stargazer & Big Blue for a day trip around the local area of Kupang. This was arranged with Simon, one of the “helpers” we meet on shore in Robins Bar. He was also to be our guide.


First stop the local museum. This was a larger than expected establishment with many interesting exhibits all about Nussa Tenggara. It was a little run down and frankly a bit sad. It was in need of some serious TLC and decent lighting to bring it to life.


This was followed by a trip to a small settlement within what appeared to be a park on the beach. Once again the area was run down with trash every where. One family were living here and making a living by creating an Indonesian version of Fudge cake from the sugar sap from Sweat Palm trees. They climb these trees, and cut a stem which would normally bear fruits, then hang a basket from this point to collect the sweat sticky residue. This they collect this following morning and then over a charcoal fire, in blackened cast iron pots, boil the mix with water for some two to three hours. This is then poured in to moulds and the reduced contents set to form a sort of fudge. VERY sweat, but tasty too.



This family also kept pigs, and chickens and had two simply adorable young children.



Next stop was to another home,  that doubled up as a workshop and showroom for the local 36 stringed musical instrument.



This looked like an extra ordinarily complicated instrument to play. The young chap on the left of the picture is the local expert. He in fact has played for the President of the USA and is clearly very talented. The unit he was playing here was an electric model. We had expected him to play traditional Indonesian music. But they obviously thought we were Australian, because he gave us an opening rendition of Waltzing Matilda! Dad then joined him. Dad was apparently one of the top singers in his day. He did have a lovely voice, but I guess the smoking had taken its toll and so he has very little power in it now.


This was a fully working family. In another “room” of the home, Mum was weaving the local Ikat cloth.



Each weaver has her own unique pattern. The thread is dyed using local herbs and raw materials. The piece of cloth she is currently weaving in this picture will take approximately one month to weave on this hand loom. Around her on the dirt floor, chickens and chicks were scratching the earth looking for food.


After lunch, in yet another wedding parlour,  we moved onto see a local beauty spot, the water falls. Sadly this too was very tacky as the ground was strewn with plastic bags, drink containers and cigarette ends and not a waste bin in sight.  The highlight of this part of the tour were the poisonous spiders………….



This chap was larger than my hand!! Apparently a young boy of 8 years died here a couple of months back when he was swimming and on climbing out of the water, inadvertently put his hand on one of them.  Naturally there were no warning signs ……….. So we were all very careful where we put our hands and feet after that!


Finally we were taken to a park where there are two troupes of Macaque Monkeys.


We feed them on Monkey nuts (of course) and Michael was very popular with his pieces of Apple.



They were very comical and remarkably timid, given that they were an obvious tourist attraction. The one above certainly knew how to entertain himself!!!


After the tour we returned to the boat and got on with all the usual yachtie chores like re-fuelling (from cans lugged ashore) and engine checks and stocking up on essential supplies like a case of Bintang beer etc.


On out last evening in Kupang, the Mayor had arranged for  party for the Blue Water Rally. This started out with local dancers performing a couple of traditional dances, then speeches by the mayor himself. Then a member from each country was introduced to the mayor and we were all given a welcome gift of a scarf make from Ikat cloth. This was followed by a speech of thanks and goodwill by Richard Bolt of BWR. Very good it was too!! There then followed by a sumptuous buffet of local foods. There was masses of food for all the Ralliers and local folks who had come along for the party. After the meal, the mayor moved on, and the band got going. The traditional dancers had stayed on too, and set about reaching us all how to do the local Indonesian dance. They were very patient with us as we fell over our own feet and each other. But it was great fun.


  Robert & I with one of the beautiful local dancers.



Next stop it was to be Flores. What a wonderful Island that turned out to be.


We are currently on passage to Moyo, a village and resort on a small Island just north of the Island of Sumbawa and expect to arrive on the morning of 18th October. 08:04:19S 118:01:89E