Kupang, Indonesia (S 10 deg. 09.57: E 123 deg. 34.50) – 25/8/2006
We arrived in Kupang around midday on 22/8 after 3.25 days at sea. The crossing was excellent, with calm seas and light winds (0-15 knots). We motored 2 of the 3 nights, and 1 whole day, but we still managed to do the trip a day faster than in Kia Viti 4 years ago, which we think is excellent. I managed to play some guitar and read a couple of books. Night watches were wonderful. No moon, so star shine was brilliant, as were the sunsets.
Terry got his wish and discovered what it was like to clear into Indonesia without using an agent (which we don’t recommend). This wasn’t planned, and basically we were conned by a person who had it in for Napa, our agent. When we tried to contact Napa on the VHF he didn’t reply, so when we were told he was no longer available we believed it. We were told the immigration man was waiting for us on the beach, so Terry and Kim left at around 1300 hrs to do the clearances, leaving Jill and me on Alpha to share a bottle of champagne to celebrate our arrival on a foreign shore. When the boys weren’t back 4 hours later I started to worry. They eventually returned just on dark (1730 hrs) and brought 3 customs officials with them. The officials were casually dressed and looked about 25, although we know that one was actually over 40 (he had CUSTOMS printed on the back of his t-shirt). Terry dropped Kim off with us girls on Alpha and took the officials over to inspect Ridgee first. Kim briefed us on their afternoon. It didn’t sound good. The ‘immigration man’ turned out to be the quarantine man. He was trying to upset the system and put Napa out of business. Jill and I immediately lost the euphoria of the bottle of champagne. However, to cut a long story short, it wasn’t all that bad, just time consuming and frustrating. We should have made more enquiries about Napa. It cost us about the same anyway, and we would have had less stress. The customs guys really had no idea what it was they were supposed to be doing. This part of their training obviously flew over their heads. They asked about guns and drugs, then about booze and cigarettes. Terry gave them a can of Fosters each, and they asked if they could have some lollies and an apple, which Terry happily gave them. They didn’t get to see where we kept our food or main booze supplies because they didn’t ask, and Terry wasn’t about to volunteer this information. On Alpha the story is a little different because the whole portside cabin of their cat is a walk in pantry, so all food is out on full display. They immediately wanted everything they could see. When Kim and Jill wouldn’t let them take a packet of savoury biscuits each one of the officials opened a packet and immediately started eating them. He was obviously very hungry because he stuffed full biscuit after full biscuit into his mouth. Kim did give them some cigarettes and a bottle of home brew to take away, which made the customs boys very happy. Welcome to Indonesia. The customs officials were not happy that we didn’t use Napa or have another agent acting for us. They said they would investigate the quarantine man for misleading us.
After our clearing experience we were unsure what to expect once we got ashore. However, we needn’t have worried because most things were still the same as last time we were here. The people are still friendly and the atmosphere is still great. You either love or hate Kupang. We love it for its uniqueness. The people love noise, colour and flags. The bemos (small buses) constantly blast their horns trying to attract a fare, and they have their boom box music cranked right up trying to out do all the other bemos. Music stores also have their music turned up loud in an attempt to attract customers. The Indonesian flag is flown everywhere, as is brightly coloured bunting. It is full in the face after being at sea for 3 days!
One morning, around 1100hrs after a long walk, we stopped at Teddy’s bar (which wasn’t there 4 years ago) for a quick drink. We got to talking to some other yachties and the time just flew. The bar girls (Nyra and Rita) offered to show Jill, me and Maria (another yachtie) the night market once they knocked off work. So, at 1700hrs we all piled into a taxi and took off, ready for a good night out on the town without the men. After about 30 minutes drive (cost approx $2.50) we pulled up at this big shopping centre, which looked very much like any Westfield back home. Jill, Maria and I just looked at each other and laughed. We couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t what we were expecting. I guess things got lost in translation, lol. Nyra and Rita were very embarrassed and full of apologise. We just thought it was rather funny. We had a quick look around and ate a soft serve ice cream while we waited for the return cab. The boys were still at the bar when we got back, and were doing a fine job of holding it up. Or was that the other way around, lol? How we managed to get safely back to the boats is a complete mystery, as is why neither of them had a hangover the next day. Must be good beer here in Indonesia!
Dog was a bit overwhelmed by all the smells and sounds of Kupang so opted to stay on the boat and guard it with Woof. However, we will try and encourage him to come exploring with us next time.
Hope all is well with you and yours. Please write back soon. Until next time, take care. Jan and Terry