Currently i’m in Kupang in West Timor. Contrary to the guide books and popular opinion, its not a dump. Although, accomodation is a bit expensive for what you get, unless you stay for free with some random you met on the 12hr bus trip from Dili to Kupang!
Here is an excerpt from the blog post I wrote for GoodReturn relating to the the bus trip:
“The difference in infrastructure between East and West Timor and the impact it has is difficult to describe. I’m not an agricultural expert or meteorologist either but it seems that the near deserted dry and dusty surrounds of Dili and the villages south west of Dili migrate to greener pastures, homes with grass and power, rice crops and population growth as the roads improve over the shared land border with Indonesian West Timor. The sheer lack of basic infrastructure in terms of appropriate drains, bridges, roads, markets, power poles and houses in Timor Leste is over-whelming when compared so directly to West Timor.”
The bus ride was tiring of course, but also gave a sneak peak of the awesome ride I’m going to have getting back to Dili. The road has it all – mountain hair-pins with ancient tree-forests, coastal curves, flat straights, jungle, rice paddy savannah, the works. And I was alseep for half of it!
Arrived Thursday night in Kupang at about 10pm after leaving Dili at 9am. The first 6 hotels I tried were all full and thankfully so, because I ended up in about the same standard for half the price, at the Luvalon Hostel.
Friday I was up early and at the shop given to me by my mysterious shippers in Jakarta. They actually existed and were expecting me, which was a relief. So down the port I went with my new friend from the bus ride, Leonardo. And there she was! Wrapped in cardboard and Hessian.
Once teh packing was undone, I kicked her over and she went first go. Good Girl. There were a few small issues of a broken mirror coupling and a lose hose, but nothing dramatic. Until I tried to ride her out the door. The engine continually cut-out when in gear. This reeked off a safety switch error to me, so I fidled with the most suspect, which was the one connected to the stand. That did nothing. Leonardo and his brother then messed around with the clutch and gear connector for an hour, to no avail. In the end, we loader her on a truck and took her to the new Kawasaki dealership in Kupang (Thanks Siti for the address!)
They had identified the problem and had her fixed in no time. As suspected, it was a safety switch issue, but the clutch safety switch, not the stand. So we eliminated the issue by taping the switch to the handle-bars. Love these kind of fixes.
I mentioned liberally a few times that I had a friend at Kawasaki factory in Jakarta and was doing some promotional work for them. They promptly gave me a bunch of Kawasaki leaf-lets to hand out and charged me only 30,000 IRP for the service. Thats $3 folks. I gave them 50,000 IRP because they did such a good job and even finished in time for me to get to the Timor Leste embassy and get my visa application in!
Saturday night I caught ip with Leonardo again and met his family, including a number of his many brothers. I had an obligatory two dinners with them, went swimming with the local kids and tried to teach them how to do free-style and stayed the night at Leonardo’s. Him and his brother basically drove me around all day Friday, and they were very keen for me to stay. Besides the huge amount of food they seemed to expect me to eat, I had a great time and hopefully they got something out of it! I’m sure there will be some more posts to come on this topic!
Sunday, I took the bike for a good ride into the hills and visited a exclusive waterfall. Nobody there but locals, perfect!