Reaching Kupang

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
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Trip End Sep 11, 2011


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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 24 2010. Another day off, this time a chance to explore the local town of Ende. The guide book didn't offer too much in the way of things to see so we thought we would take a walk to the harbour area anyway. The internet connection at the hotel wasn't operational and as the latest blog needed publishing, we went searching for anywhere with a link to the outside world. We say this because our 'phone hasn’t been able to pick up a network that works with it. Have we felt a little cut off – not really!

The first place suggested to us was closed; the second was one of the telecom operators, but there was a problem here too. We descended towards the harbour (quite a steep hill) for the third suggestion and must have missed it. However, we did come across a life size model of a local village: small thatched pagoda-like dwellings arranged around a larger building in the centre. Two people were weaving traditionally and seemed so intent on their work that we decided not to interrupt them. Next to this area were some fine gardens and walking through them we were hailed by an older gentleman. He introduced himself as one of the local priests and was willing to show us around his museum. Again inside a traditional building, it housed many exhibits devoted to educating the local children about the sea, the life within it and its position in the world’s eco-system. There were many cabinets displaying shells, molluscs, shellfish, fish, whale bones and a large sea-cow. We were to learn that Father Gabriel had built up the museum and gardens himself with only a little help from the Government. He had plans to plant a forest on his home island of Lembata Island, Indonesia with 6million trees (he has more support from the Government for this particular project). He is also instrumental in raising donations to support a group of orphans attending university.  A busy and enterprising man, who is close to celebrating 40 years since his ordination.

Together with him we visited Ende’s Cathedral and after which he took us what turned out to be the third internet place we had been searching for. It was no surprise to find that they also had no connections – we gave up trying after this and went in search of the harbour front. It was a pity to find the area strewn with rubbish, and in particular plastic bags, possibly due to its proximity to a local market and the way retailers freely doll out plastic bags.

By this time mid-day was well passed and the heat was quite intense. Time to find a café/restaurant  - in short supply but we did come across a chinese establishment that supplied us with a good lunch and a cool drink. More Europeans arrived, so it must have been on the tour guide’s list of places to eat!

Eventually we found our way back to the hotel (up the steep hill this time!) intending to cool ourselves down in their very welcome pool. However, on trying for an internet connection we found it worked so set to to publish the blog, check for hotels in Kupang and Darwin, the weather for tomorrow’s journey and also to book the flight out of Darwin.  We hadn’t wanted to do this too far in advance, just in case our schedule had been put back for any reason. The cooling dip would have to wait.

November 25 2010. Our last full day flying in Indonesia. The normal routine to get us to the airport for 0800, paid up and ready to go in good time. There was a very large number of ground handling staff and security men wanting to see us off and to have their photos taken. Fortunately though, not many questions to answer mainly because language difficulties are more of a barrier here. Consequently we were ready by 0830 so we were happy to leave early before the clouds really built up. Flight time was going to be just about an hour and all over water as we crossed the Suwa Sea to Kupang on West Timor. Not much to see or report, a little cloud dodging on two occasions but otherwise a straight line between the two airports. Radio contact was patchy in the middle but the aircraft we had seen and heard at Ende when we arrived was doing the same run and was happy to relay and even to chat for a small time. This relieved the otherwise silence on the radio.

Time to descend by Rote Island and towards the Bay of Kupang. Sitting in the Bay was a lovely little island looking like a jewel in the coral green waters surrounding it. Sandy beaches all the way round and what looked like a small resort. A place to be cast away at maybe? We wonder whether this is where Captain Bligh ended up following his parting company with the Bounty crew.

In for a tail wind landing. How is it that the only tail winds we find are at the airports?? Stand No 1 was allocated and after shutdown the normal multitude of visitors approached us for their photos.  As this is our last stop in Indonesia we are required to clear Customs and Immigration but as they are both now stationed in town, we were surprised to find that we would be cleared outbound today and not tomorrow – maybe our proposed early departure had something to do with it. This all happened fairly quickly and we were able to refuel and even do a little bit of maintenance before leaving for the hotel.

This time we did manage a dip in the pool but only just before a cloud burst and thunderstorm passed overhead.

Question:

The Island of Timor is divided and Kupang is in the West. What is the capital of East Timor
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