Saturday, January 31, 2009

No dily daly in Dili

I rode into Dili, into a place full of UN cars, some troops with rifles, mad one way streets, and a police presents second to none, it was a different Timor than the rural road I just covered, it seemed weird to me. And expensive, another traveler I met who had just arrived from Australia said Dili is more expensive than Australia, the countries currency is the US dollar, shame it was not bloody Rupiah as I had a truck load of them!!

Wednesday morning arrived, this would be my last day on foreign soil and of course it had to be one of the craziest, of extreme lows and extreme highs. I woke early, so I thought, I was still on Indo time and Timor was an hour ahead so I lost an hour straight away but did not discover this until later. I had to first go to the shipping agent for Perkins to sort out what needed to be done to get my bike on the boat. Also at the backpacker were 2 German lads shipping their bikes as well, they had already been washing their bikes for a day and still had not finished, one of them asked if he could come to the agent with me, so he jumped on the back, we set off and instantly we were pulled over by a cop, as they are just everywhere, what now I thought I have no time!

Then the German guy says to me “I have no helmet” as if he knew that he was meant to have one, argh shit here we go, the cop spoke no English so asked me to follow him to the station, I quickly told the German to get off I will go alone, I did not want to ride into a police station with him on the back wearing no helmet, that would just look even worse. So here I was at the police station, forever looking at the time on my phone, hoping it would not take long. Wrong I was, an officer came into the room and told me that all passengers need a helmet, fair enough I said, very sorry for the mistake now can I pay the fine and go, nothing is ever that simple Robbo! They then had to fill out forms, asking for my license which I produced, then my bike papers which I produced, another problem, they wanted to see my Timor registration papers for the bike, I told him that I was a tourist and that I am just passing through and showed him where customs had stamped the bike in, he could not understand any of this. Now he wanted to fine me for no papers and no helmet of the passenger, this was getting out of hand. I quickly produced my import approval papers for Australia and said “I need to get that bike out there on a ship today its going to Australia”. Eventually he started to see the light of day and agreed to only fine me for the helmet issue of my passenger. Besides it was not me paying, my German friend was getting this bill. So now I had to follow a cop on his bike to another office across town to pay the fine, at this point I question weather the office was open as by my clock it was only just past 7, of course its open they replied pointing to the clock on the wall, it said just after 8, shit I lost an hour just like that and as it stood I had no time! Off to pay the fine, it was 9 dollars, but the system was down and they told me to come back later in the afternoon, I could not but I had to pay the fine as the police were holding my documents and until I produced a receipt I would not get them back, so frustrating. I even tried to give them 10 dollars and let the cop be my witness that I paid the fine and then I go collect my papers, nope they could not see that working, time was passing. They eventually understood my anxious plight and after a discussion they turned with huge grins and said no pay, you can go, my god this was getting crazy now, all this time and to be told I can go, so back to the cop station to explain to them I did not have to pay and collect my papers, they understood and made me sign a declaration saying that the offence happened, I signed it and then got a police escort to the agents office, arriving 2 hours after I first set out, well for me it was 3 as I lost an hour!!

I got the paper work sorted, I needed to have the bike clean by at least 3pm and then get it in the container as the ship was leaving that night. As I went back to my bike the cop was still waiting there, hmm what now I thought, he explained I owed now 20 dollars for the declaration and had to go back to the station, nope this was not an option, I had 4 hours to wash a bike that usually takes 2 days, now weather this 20 dollar fee was for real or not I did not care, it was the German’s money, I gave him the 20 and said I am sorry but I have to go and rode off. What a hectic start to my 2nd and last day in Timor.

I washed and washed, always finding new spots to clean, also there the German’s frantically washed there bikes, I collected my 20 dollars after telling him the story. Eventually I reached the point that I thought would do, the stead was glowing, I just hoped good enough for Aussie regulations. I left the Germans still cleaning their bikes at three, went to the Port, got my customs stamp and immigration stamp out of East Timor, why immigration you ask, I will explain later, then back to the agent with everything in order. I followed a man then to the container yard and road the mother Ship into a container, strapped it down and then got a lift back to the port in a truck, it is at the point that the highs began to happen.

The mother ship ready for its voyage.