Thank you New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor and Australia for the people we met, the friendly welcome everywhere, the roads we rode, the food we could taste, the adventures we could master, the experiences we made and finally thank you for all the dust in our faces ;) All the best Kerstin and Sascha, www.RTWbyBIKE.com
Kupang with a “German touch” and our last destination in SEA: Timor Leste – Dili, Cleaning-Marathon
As we mentioned before we had an appointment for a coffee with a German guy in Kupang. Michael spent a lot of time travelling in his life; private and business wise. When we arrived in his place in Kupang where he finally settled with his Indonesian family, we entered through a big gate his: “La Hasienda”! This will be the name of his hotel which he built up more or less with his own hands, taking in his ideas which he got while travelling the world. Now it is in the last stage and soon he will open it. We were invited to move in one of the rooms which he finished already. So we did and after we recovered from the stomach attack we had some lovely days together in Kupang. We highly recommend to anybody staying in that place if you are around. It is a unique place with a great atmosphere and built with attention to each detail. In the restaurant you will get served with delicious German and Mexican food and at the roof top beer garden you have a stunning view over Kupang, the bay and the mountains. And if you are interested you can listen to many interesting travel stories of Michael!
Of course the day was coming when we had to leave. After a tonic breakfast we left Kupang direction East Timor border. It was a pleasant ride over the mountains passing Soe and Kefamenanu and we finally reached the little border town Atambua in West Timor. After a longer search for gasoline and some shopping we celebrated our last evening in Indonesia with a beer.
The road from Atambua to the border was a little adventure. Or let`s say we were surprised about the road size and bad conditions: a tiny little road full of pot holes passing forest and villages with no direction signs – no interest to show the right way here. The paperwork on the Indonesian side was done within a few minutes and we had to drive a few kilometers through no man`s land until we reached the East Timor border. There it was a bit confusing in the beginning; it was not a real obvious structure, just some containers around. But then we did the visa and the carnet in minutes and off we went. Our first meters in East Timor. Was it different? Yes. Much less traffic, people are walking or even driving pushbikes, less infrastructure and the houses along the streets were just out of bamboo and wood. The road which goes to Dili is more or less along the coast and offers fabulous views of the coastline. In Dili we found directly our “Couch” which was a small compound. It was a flat sharing place of two young Australians who were volunteering in Dili and they currently had a free room where we could move in for three nights. It was a perfect place for us because we could use the washing area outside to get cleaned all our things… shoes, boots, tent, bags, fishing gears, clothes, stripes, panniers, helmets… actually everything! The preparation for Australia started!
7 days cleaning marathon: the bike, our gears and finally us for Australia – becoming a little bit melancholy leaving SEA after about 7 month
Dili is an unbelievable dusty city and we had to ensure that everything which is cleaned immediately gets into clean plastic bags. The first 2.5 days we spend cleaning gears in the yard together with the entire woman from the compound. They were irritated to see a man cleaning in the beginning but after some hours they got used to see Sascha sweating and brushing together with them ;-)
We had been incredible lucky one again! We were hosted the first days in this place where we had space to clean all gears and at the same time we got introduced via Joao, our next host, to Antonio who is running the newest Ford Garage in town featured with the best equipment. Antonio invited us to use his facilities and getting support from his team if we need so! What an awesome offer!!! In Dili they have a pretty big Portuguese community due to the history of Timor Leste. Therefor you get many European things in the shops like wine, bread, butter, cheese, olives… just yummy! Joao who offered us his couch for the last days in Dili is living there since 15 years already and he was a great source of information – interesting backgrounds of the history, the current situation and the path forward. Interesting times for Timor Leste.
We entered the garage Saturday morning where we got warmly welcomed by Antonio and his team. In the beginning we gave a base cleaning with a high water pressure cleaner to the bike and then we started to strip it. More and more parts and screws were surrounding us and we got a slight feeling of fear and wondering if we will be able to put everything back in place in the end… We cleaned every little peace and bit, part and screw and cable… until 12am we did not managed enough and Antonio said we should not worry he anyhow stays longer to do some paperwork. Great! He invited us even for lunch and then we could continue… but suddenly it was 8pm and still we were not close to finish. Hmmm… Again Antonio helped us out while offering that we could come as well on Sunday afternoon. WOW!
Sunday morning we packed everything and continued cleaning the “small” equipment. In the afternoon Joao picked us up and brought us to his place and afterwards we went back to the garage. Our hands were meanwhile swallowed scratched completely black and just hurting. No way out – keep going on! Around 8PM we finished – and no screw was left, hurray! Antonio brought us home where we took a shower and left for dinner with Joao. Perkins, the shipping agency told us to bring the bike on Monday at 2pm. Monday morning we went back to the garage for the last polish. The actual plan was to drive carefully to the shipping agency and clean the tires once again in the container. But Antonio and Joao organized that we get the bike on Joao`s Ford Pick-up – with Sascha and the clean covered bike on the back we drove through Dili – COOL!
When we opened the container we were shocked: grass, sand, seats and even a cockroach! Here we are supposed to put our cleaned polished bike inside??? Complaining about it does not really help us… so we cleaned the container at least in the back part where we have to put the bike. We fixed the bike, finished the paper work and then the truck was already leaving to the port with our container. The boat was scheduled for the next day. GOOD JOURNEY BIG LADY!!!
Now we were pedestrians ;-) Still some small things were waiting for us for a cleaning… but the major part was done. We had a drink and afterwards Dinner at the waterfront with Antonio and Joao in the evening. On Tuesday we prepared a little present for our great helpers, a photo collage of the cleaning process as a memory. The minimum we could do as a reward for this fantastic support!
At Wednesday morning, our last day in Dili, we were heading towards the city center to hand over our present. Suddenly we saw a travel bike, BMW, parking on the street. We went into the footstall to check out the owner. We found Rick from Australia, on the road since more than 2 years now. He just arrived and needs to ship the bike as well to Darwin… A pity that we did not meet earlier! After we said goodbye to Antonio and his team we had a last walk along the waterfront and met Rick at the backpackers for beer.
The next morning Joao brought us to the airport – time to say goodbye to South East Asia! We felt a little bit melancholic! We had an amazing time and met incredible lovely people within this last 7 month!!! However now it is time for something different…Australia we are coming!
The view from the plane was striking and we regret that we did not have enough time to explore East Timor. We need to come back one day…
At 1pm we arrived in Darwin and we walked through without having shown anything of our equipment! Hopefully it will be the same when we have to go through the quarantine inspection with our Big Lady. Australia! Back to the civilization… not sure yet if we prefer this more organized structured and clean environment with rules and regulations ;-) We will see…
Our host came and picked us up to his place in Palmerston. He is hosting around 12 people in his house and garden so we are living like in big community cooking and eating together. Our bike we will not get out before Wednesday because on Monday is a bank holiday what we did not know. Not amusing but nothing we can do about it. It is time to organize all other things and perhaps to do some sightseeing in Darwin. Tomorrow we will go out for a boat trip. One of our cohabitants bought a boat and invited all for a test ride. This will be a nice Sunday day trip!