Kepa to Nikiniki racetrack
Trip Start Jul 30, 2013
23Trip End Oct 26, 2013
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Then the fun started. I don't know if I have had a better days motorcycling but it would be a short list
After a stop at a warung for some sort of rice dish I set off to search for Boti a village visited in 2009 but with the advantage of a guide in the car. I find that if you just stop beside someone on the road, look stupid and say Boti pointing ahead they take pity on you and point the way, which is fortunate as there is no way you could find it otherwise . The road, well that is too good a description, a track really, wind up and along knife edged mountains and is as rough as can be. The Suzuki dirt bike heritage earned its pay this afternoon, very very steep slopes with lots of loose gravel, landslides, washouts and sand and dust gave me a good workout. I began to think that I was a long way from help and if I had a spill it would be a difficult extraction. I remembered that we had a tough time in the Landcruiser on this goat track but after about 90 minutes I finally made it exhausted to Boti. This place is a village that maintains its traditional culture with about seventy famlies living a subsistance lifestyle ruled by a king who works alongside them all in the fields. Liesbeth and I came here in 2009 and I found our names in the visitors book. The women do traditional weavings with hand spun cotton that they grow and dyes made from plants of the surrounding forest. Beautiful work that takes about a year to make a piece the size of a sarong on a backstrap loom. Since it has now been written up in the Lonley Planet the visitor numbers have skyrocketed along with the prices of the Ikat weavings. Just after I got here a group of six Italian tourists arrived with their guide in a 4WD bus and then a couple of Russians and a German. All including me are staying the night in VERY basic huts made of bamboo with low thatch roofs, with really hard beds, no lights and the most basic of bathrooms
I cheerfully took a mandi, which is where you stand on a concrete floor in the small bamboo hut and pour water over yourself with a dipper, soap up and repeat water to rinse off, but the Italians looked a bit horrified at the prospect.Still they were troopers and eventually all gave it a go. We had a simple but nice meal of rice and local veg with a little pork and chicken both very tough then adjourned to the dance area where the whole village played and danced including the king who did a solo on a sort of ukulele. After an early Breakfast the king announced that as I was the first Tourist to ever come on a motorcycle by myself without a guide so must be a "strong man" and as a thank you for the return visit they would present me with a woven scarf to remember them all.
So back along the rough track without problems to Nikiniki where the market was in full swing. Every imaginable thing was out for sale, food, chickens, cloth, hardware, phones, cows and anything else you can think of. As this is a culture that revolves around the motorcycle whenever I stop a crowd gather to look at the bike and ask the usual questions, how much did it cost? how fast will it go? Is the petrol tank really that big? Then a couple of hrs ride along good road where occasionally a local hotshot roars up on his 150cc bike and tries to race me thru the corners. For the sake of Indonesian national pride and personal bragging rights I fang along for a while giving him a good run then let him get away to tell his mate how he bested the foreigner on a bigger bike. Loads of fun all round. Pretty soon I was in Kupang for lunch and as you get closer to the bigger cities the near miss rate goes up, it is always wise to pay constant attention as anything can and will happen. Will stay the night in Kupang and catch dodgy ferry to Flores tomorrow.