Saturday, January 31, 2009

At Last!

Finally I got word, the ferry was to start up again, although I was still skeptical and would only know when I was actually on it, so the night before it was due to leave I camped out at the ferry terminal yet again eagerly awaiting its arrival, come morning there it was docked at the wharf, what a joyous sight, so began a very busy next few days. The ferry from Ende to Kupang saw my final ferry ride, Indonesia has just been one ferry ride after another, this one was not bad, the ferry was empty and the ocean as smooth as silk, but the Indonesians love playing there pop music at maximum volume to a crowd of sleeping people, can’t figure that one out.

What a great sight this was.

I arrived at 1 in the morning, quickly I rode the steed off and found a small bit of land in the shadows of the night to pitch my tent, accompanied by a few pigs and goats rummaging for food, it was not long and I was packed up again at 6am and on my way to find custom to attempt in getting my 1000 US dollar bond back I paid entering the country with the bike. After finding Customs I explained the story to their confused faces, then I rang Bernard the Customs guy back in Belawan to explain to them over the phone, it worked but there was nothing they could do, I had to go onto the border town of Atapupu and get it there, I questioned weather they would have that much money there, they assured me they would. Time was not on my side unless I felt like spending a few weeks in Dili, there was a Perkins ship leaving on Thursday, it was now Tuesday and I had to ride to East Timor, reach Dili, sort out the shipping and also wash my bike, now when I mean wash my bike I mean make it look like it just came off the show room, Australian Quarantine are extremely strict and my bike has to be clean enough to eat my dinner off, it took Dirk 2 days to get his old lady clean, so yes time was not on my side.

Kids with home made toys at ferry terminal.
I set off across the last bit of Indonesia and reached Atapupu by midday, the customs guys could not believe how little time it took me to cover the distance from Kupang, I was moving!! So basically I had to go over the whole story again and ring Bernard from Belawan again to explain it all. I could get my money back but the bank was in a town 30 k’s back and if I wanted US dollars it might take 2 days to obtain or the other option was to take it in Rupiah, hmm I guess it was Rupiah for me, so after some discussion about the rate and the ‘fee’ I had to pay for the express paperwork I got a wad of 11 million Rupiah, 975 US dollars back, I was happy enough, I just had to go. Of course all this took 3 hours to happen but I managed to get across the border before the 4 o’clock closing time.

The friendly customs guys at the Indo/Timor border.

Instantly I could see East Timor was a poorer country or at least the infrastructure has been slowed by its rocky past, the roads were in a bad way, a lot of gutted houses and people living in shacks with straw roofs, I liked it and the people seemed very friendly with huge grins and waves as I rode by. The road snaked along the coast and it was quite beautiful, then it hit me, this was it I had made it to the last country before Australia, I could not believe it, I started grinning in my helmet, I punched a fist into the air, a sense of achievement came over me, I felt I had done it, I even gave the tank a quick pat and told the ever trusty mother ship “well done girl, you got me here, what a machine”. So making the most of my last moments I waved to as many people as I could, it was like they were cheering me on to the line, they had no clue where I had come from.
Of course I am not home yet.