Living an episode of 'Lost'...

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Saturday, September 7, 2013

If you watched JJ Abrahms tv series 'Lost' or for those of a different generation 'The Prisoner' (#6 and all that...) you might get an idea of the predicament we faced today.

As of yesterday and running into this morning there was utter confusion as to whether there was a way of getting off of Rote Island sooner rather than later. Our visa is running out and the Danish couple staying here with us had a flight to Bali at 5pm today from Kupang!

Eventually, our Homestay hosts said 'yes there was a ferry' and then in the same breath said 'but no there wasn't' - smiling all the time of course. Ok we get it - not everybody must speak English, why should they?!

Then when we established that there might on the off chance, possibly, almost certainly will be, if you're lucky, may be not a ferry - it was almost definitely leaving at 7am or 10am and wouldn't be the fast ferry which we had already bought return tickets for - but, then of course it might be.

Therefore - obviously (to them), we were probably too far away, but (then after a few seconds debate between them) maybe not too far away to get to the other port to catch the slow ferry that might or might not be leaving at 10 am.

The rather convoluted non verbalised implication delivered with a smile from our hosts was that we really should without doubt stay longer. But, then if we really felt the need we should maybe not think about staying longer. All very convenient perhaps as it's the end of the tourist season (a drop in tourist numbers and all that...).

Added to this the additional rather skewed advice of another more longterm guest in cahoots with the locals - we were about ready to 'pop'. The 'guest', an overly self important and pompous Bhasa fluent Aussie, who had taken on the role as self elected Ambassador and 'suffering Protector of Indonesian innocence' - "We're in the season of the wind don't you know" a retort which was piously delivered down the nose to the unsuspecting and increasingly frustrated Western audience...

It was abundantly clear to all attempting an escape from paradise that we would be going nowhere really fast!

After another involuntary brush with our head shaven, nose pierced, jingling Ambassador. The individual in question refused to share the telephone number of the port with anybody who wasn't Australian - apparently 'we didn't deserve it...!'

Getting the gist...

We did eventually get a 2 hour Bimo to the 'slow' ferry port from Nembrala - yep it advertised that Jesus was onboard. Had a stand-off argument with the teenage Michael Schumacher driver who thought he was delivering a bunch of ATM machines to the ferry to be milked. He wanted a weeks wage from each us whilst allowing his fellow countrymen off with the secret real price (not much)

The 'slow ferry' which our unelected Aussie ambassador for the island of Rote was convinced we had already missed took another 2 hours to arrive!!

The mayhem that ensued once the ferry had eventually docked was chaos. Men in police and army uniforms (clearly there just to look cool in pilots shades and berets) watched from the side as people who 'might' be working for the port (or just concerned locals) directed in a haphazard and aggressive way massive lorries, squadrons of scooters, and many locals carrying bunches of roosters by their feet onto the Ferry.

We were lucky this ferry was quite new and had relatively clean bunk beds for the 3 and a 1/2 hour journey back to West Timor. We arrived back on West Timor at a slightly different port just up from the fast port we had left from a day or so before and had the (now standard) bartering for a bimo back to Kupang. Not sure if luck was on the Danish couples side as it was a bit late for the flight, but luck was still on our side when we arrived back at the Lavalon Bar and Edwin had our old rooms still available - phew!

Dinner at the lively night market (fried stuffed crepe thing veggie style with chocolate hagelslagh and cheese pancakes) and then some zzz's.
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