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Old 11-12-2011, 06:42 AM   #16
markwrich1
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Glassing

All quality that glassing, too much sun up that way I reckon
Great RR so far, you can have clay mud all to yourself along with the 950SE, you're a brave man
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:13 PM   #17
FuTAnT
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Great trip report. Really interested in your south east Asian leg too. I've got a bit of a plan but haven't worked through it yet, to do South East Asia, then up to China and back down through India. Getting through the Islands might be the hard part ...

Again, great photos, great stories, top stuff.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markwrich1 View Post
All quality that glassing, too much sun up that way I reckon
Great RR so far, you can have clay mud all to yourself along with the 950SE, you're a brave man
Well, not all quality glassing... the rear rack didn't even get the edges trimmed!

The headlight setup has come out pretty good, but I'd do it slightly differently the next time - I reckon I'd make it a two part affair, rather than the single piece. I never did get to making the trim rings to go over the metal parts of the light tubs - or to the fairing parts, not that they are really needed. The frame for the headlights is all buillt out of vacuum-bagged carbon/Kevlar sheet - thin, light and very tough. The Kevlar is in there so it doesn't shatter if it gets hit (and it sure did when I endo'd the bike) The only mould was for the instrument setup.

The rack has been excellent, except for the blinker attachment setup. I grabbed some LED blinkers at a shop here. I'm on my second set now. What it needs is blinkers without stalks.... something designed for dirt bikes. I'll get some at some stage. The rack had some moulding defects in it, repairable... but I didn't have time to deal with them, so I just slapped some stickers on the defects. When I eventually get the bike home, I'll do a Mk11 version. It needs a better stand-off setup to keep it away from the mufflers and if I add a tube up each side internally, it'll be 1000% stronger. As is, its had 50kg+ pillions sitting on it over some damn rough terrain and its stood up to it.... and the subframe is still intact.

I do like the open-arse end look now



I reckon I might have struck problems with my rego inspection if the bike hadn't been heading to Asia. Speaking of that... I had a very narrow window to get all the paperwork sorted. My rego was expiring while the bike was going to be away.... and the folks who issue the Carnet documents insist that it be rego'd. Dunno why I'm still paying 3rd Party personal insurance for NSW though while the bike is in Asia... but such is the way of the bureaucrat.

Here's the summary.

Rego here means an inspection certificate (the pink slip).... and these are only valid for 42 days (it may be 40... I'm doing this from memory)..... and you can only renew your rego three months before the due date. If you have an interstate or overseas inspection, it has to be from something like a government agency. Too damn hard to organise I reckon... so I got mine inspected and.... left it all to the Missus to do We got lucky - there was a one week overlap period with the pink slip and the 3 months early.... and she got it all done and the bike is still legal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FuTAnT View Post
Great trip report. Really interested in your south east Asian leg too. I've got a bit of a plan but haven't worked through it yet, to do South East Asia, then up to China and back down through India. Getting through the Islands might be the hard part ...

Again, great photos, great stories, top stuff.
Mate... the islands are fun. Getting to that, but first Darwin..... ughh.

Things were slipping time wise. I'd been getting messages that we were being pushed back by Perkins Shipping. I don't really know if it was Perkins or the other guys time horizon that was doing the pushing. I was now scheduled to meet Andras and Phil in Darwin for a late August departure. It was working out for me too I guess, because I didn't have to fang it the whole way from Cairns to Darwin. I checked into Chilli's backpackers and had a horrible night in a stuffy 4 bed dorm with an aircon that made noise but didn't cool.

Next day, I heard back from a woman I used to work with. I knew she'd moved to Darwin 20 years ago and had left a message on her phone while I was headed there. "Ian, great to hear from you, oh btw, my life's gone to shit... I've got a 6 year old daughter now, I got retrenched from my good job, my man's left me for a 22 year younger woman, I've just been released from a mental hospital, there were 8 cops here the other day, I've lost my licence for drink driving.... etc, etc... why don't you come over?"

Silly fool.... me, that is. I went over.

I should point out here, this lady and I were former workmates - not lovers.... OK? Friends without benefits.... So, I rock up at her place. Nice house... pity about the fist hole in the front door. Hmmm. Anyhow, I moved in to see if I could give her a hand sorting things out. Spent a week there while waiting for Phil and Andras.

Phil turned up after a couple of days. Andras was having problems with his DR and being royally stuffed around by a bike shop or two. He ended up getting into Darwin with the bike on a road service vehicle after it sputtered to a halt in Katherine. To cut a long story short... it was the alternator shorting out. He ended up missing the boat.... and so did Phil.

So, our week in Hell scarred me a bit.

I fixed the hole in the door, sealed up the leaky shower, made friends with the daughter, drove them to the shops, took them out and about, did the school run,.... tried to get the stupid woman to cut down a bit on the bottle of vodka a day and 45 cones. Nah. There's not going to be a happy ending there. Phil tried too... and he took a long hard look at the situation with her and her kid and he headed for home. He made the right choice... he's just heading away on a work contract and he's got kids... and he decided the kids need him more than he needed a few months riding through Asia.

I ended up calling a taxi one night, loaded all my crap in the boot and followed him to the Travelodge. Ahhh peace and quiet. Andras turned up the next day, moved in with me there and we set about getting the bikes sorted. I put my bike on the ship and flew to Dili. I needed to escape. Andras got his bike sorted and made the next ship - about 9 or 10 days later.

Getting to Dili, in Timor-Leste is reasonably easy.

No need to crate anything. Just rock up with the bike at Perkins Shipping and then jump on a plane to Dili. Its a week for the bike to get there... and then a few more days stuffing around at that end... and then you're away. It cost me about $380 for the bike and another $45 at the other end. I got screwed on the plane ticket, as I hadn't booked ahead. It was around $450 and another $35 or so for excess baggage.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:14 PM   #19
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I suppose I should post a self-portrait…..



That's me doubling Andras around in Darwin. I ended up being his taxi driver in Dili too, because I had my bike back by the time he arrived there. It was rather crowded on the 950 se the day I picked him and his luggage up at the airport.

So, I flew into Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, having escaped the nutters in Darwin.

Here's a shot I pinched from Keith's blog of Dili, on approach. Keith and Ellen are fellow inmates who had their bike on the same ship as mine - they are riding New Zealand to their home in UK. I'm sure Keith won't mind if I use a couple of his shots, as he's got some of mine....




Just a note to those that follow. Get your accommodation directions well sorted before you get there. My driver spoke no English and despite me knowing where I wanted to go, we drove right past it (I missed the sign) and I ended up at the Hotel Dili, rather than the Backpackers. The taxi driver must’ve been on commission… and it cost me $70 for B&B the first night rather than $10 at the Backpackers. I had “The Richard Carlton Room”… mis-named after the late Australian journalist who obviously liked that room.


I moved the next day. I’ve had decades of 4 and 5 star travel for work… but I much prefer staying at the cheap end of town when I’m on the road. Its warm people to talk to and a bed… rather than a cold, empty room.


What a lovely group of people they are here in the world’s second newest country. Its an amazing place – my daughter tells me its taking over as the tourism hot spot to replace Bali among young Aussies, but I think that’s a long ways off.


The roads are diabolical, you will be scooting along and discover that you just missed a 3′ deep pothole – all the time, or discover that a manhole cover is missing... Kids wander all over the place – animals too… and the UN goons think they own the place. I haven’t seen any of the UN goons doing anything…. other than driving around the place flat out or crowding out the beaches and restaurants and driving prices up.


I travelled east from Dili in a Toyota RAV4 with Keith and Ellen... they generously wouldn't accept a cash contribution, so I covered the fuel costs. Too generous of them.

We travelled around the eastern parts of the island and then back to Dili to wait for our bikes to arrive.


There's plenty of graves from the resistance campaign against the Indonesian invasion (Ford/Kissinger gave the green light for the Indo's to invade, with my old mate Gough in tow - it should never have happened).




Lots of war-damaged houses everywhere. Hard to know if this was from the retreating Indonesians or from the in-fighting between the East Timorese factions. That's still happening btw... and the border was closed a couple of weeks back because some East Timorese groups were shooting at each other. Incidentally, they don't involve foreigners in their squabbles... but with an election coming up, things might get interesting.

These houses were all burnt out



I ended up doing a lit bit of volunteer work restoring one of the burnt out places in Dili with a local guy doing great things for the kids there... but I'll get to that eventually.

Ellen handing our “smilie” stickers. Kids have been mobbing us


and Keith at the same spot




... yours truly



Dozens of them turned up when we stopped there. I'd spotted some WW2 wreckage that I wanted to check out. Next thing.... kids everywhere.

The Japanese are very messy… they left these behind:





This was our first petrol stop – we picked up fuel from the only available place in Com… up the Eastern end of Timor-Leste. A bit of a rip-off, as the old water bottles are 1.5 litres… and they call it a litre when its a bit over half full.




The guy who helped us fill up was “carrying” – a .45 pistol in a shoulder holster. No uniform… just the pistol. Dunno the story.


Here was the next servo. There were bowsers here…. but I guess no electricity. At one place the electricity went off at 3am (killing the fans in the room…. damn it)…. at Com, we had it from 6pm to 8am only.


This guy dipped petrol out of a drum, filled a 20 litre container, then filled the car. 40 litres was $US50. The currency in Timor-Leste is US dollars btw… except for the coins which are pretty basic token like items. Our car only took about 38 litres until it was full, so I gave the last couple of litres to a guy waiting on a bike. He couldn’t believe his luck.



When we stopped in Com, the guesthouses we wanted to stay at were full and the ones on the other side of the road were real dusty – so we whooped it up and stayed at the “Resort”…. best place in town. $20 IIRC… although our bar and food bill was a bit steep. Here’s the “clothes line” at the Resort…. that’s the bed linen being dried at the Resort




The view from my bar chair was a bit better




It seems that the door keys are all the same there, though. A Japanese guy wandered into my room at about 7am… I told him to scoot…. in slightly different terms.

There’s an interesting story attached to the Beach Bungalows at Baucau. We stayed at this place, but in the more western accomodation.



Ramos Horta – one of two key political figures in the country (a former school teacher, who had taught the East Timorese taxi driver we had in Darwin) stayed here during the last election campaign.

His opponents burnt down 3 of the 4 bungalows as a political protest just after he left. Only the right hand bungalow and a guesthouse block remain. Lovely (local) family running it though. I met a local guy from that area and he eventually admitted he'd been there when the bungalows were burnt... but says he didn't do it. It took a fair effort to get him talking about the politics, but its pretty obvious that feelings run deep.

I presume this is their swimming pool….. which is obviously not needed, given the brilliant beach 50 metres away





Keith got up early and took some dawn photos at the beach






Here’s where we went swimming… local kids playing on the rocks. Older kids were 60′ up the coconut palms, collecting them just nearby




The coastline takes a bit of a hammering from the locals in places and this was obviously a good spot



You could go for miles in places and see no-one. Speaking of seeing…. we saw a small whale broach a couple of hundred metres offshore…. no photo though


Typical road hazards…. house owners build obstacles / leave rocks on the road to slow down cars/bikes




... and this one means "bridge out.... find the detour"





Somewhere near here on the way back, we saw a couple of bikes pulled up and half a dozen locals with a young woman laying down. It didn't look at all serious - she was wearing a helmet, but there wasn't any sign of real trouble... no bikes on their side or anything... but we passed an ambulance not long later, heading there. When I came back past a few days later on the bike, there were flowers there.


The mountains we went over to get to the south coast






Here’s what stopped our progress on the south coast road…. about 10 - 15 km south of Lore… and this is the only road anywhere near there. I reckon I’d have had a go at getting over it… if it’d been my vehicle and we’d been closer to help, but we were miles from anywhere or anyone.




No machete… no progress (mine was on the ship... under the bike's seat).

I wandered all through the jungle looking for a way past, but nah…

Here’s the only other vehicle we passed on that road. The woman you can just see behind the cart was swinging a machete and she really did have a mad look in her eyes. I think we scared her.




Oh to have had the bikes there...


Typical housing down that way. No electicity at most of the places, just in the bigger towns and no water…. We saw people carrying water for miles






A different shot of carrying water…. I just missed a massive smile from the girl on the left with this shot.... she's a cutie




One of about 3 road signs we have seen. We stop and ask directions (in Tetun) whenever there’s a fork in the road… same as I did last year in Vietnam. As long as you know the local pronunciation, it’s the only way to go.




Plenty of lovely crap left from the days of the Indonesian occupation though.





Here’s typical public transport.






There's one downside to that btw... somewhere north of 50% of the population have tuberculosis (TB).... and they spit constantly. I rode through the sidestream spray of one big hoik as I was lining up to overtake a truck.

No, I wasn't happy... I had my visor up and got wet.... never again though, when behind these things.


Brilliant beaches






Those two above are Keith's shots btw...


There's fabulous wooden (and grass) boats everywhere







Here is the main road linking the north and south coasts, out east. The roads are going to rack and ruin…. but they are pushing electricity poles out fairly fast – no wires yet. When the Portuguese got pushed out of here in 1975, there were only 20 km of sealed roads in the whole country.

The Indonesians invaded (to stop those dreaded commies) and built plenty of bridges and roads, taking the total to 2,000km…. but nothing’s happened in the decade since they got evicted. Things are falling apart everywhere… bridges down, roads collapsing. The aid focus has been on law and order (which is still a bit fragile), water and electricity. We only saw a few road construction projects in the whole country.






This was fabulous, but I didn't really capture the moment here. Some kids taking wood up the hill to the village. That little wheelbarrow had a worn-out motorbike sprocket as its wheel.





This is one of the better efforts at block laying we saw there. Most are really, really bad. Truly woeful construction



This was one of the local fisherman at Com… who is also the security guy at the resort at night... and he does one of the best massages possible… apart from the sandpapery hands. Honestly... his hands were like rasps until the oil soaked in.




Hmm... this is before I started walking a lot... and losing weight. I wonder who left those damn beer bottles there. Must've been Keith and Ellen





One of our rooms (Baucau Beach) had the very latest technology …. bet you don’t get these in American or European hotels. No tapes to play, of course.



Local varmints. I gave this bloke a soccer ball, but it led to tears eventually with the bigger kids



... and this miserable old bitch, who is that kids grandmother I think, ripped us off....



We got a quote from her for two rooms and both dinner and brekkie. She wouldn't take the money ahead of time. Her daughter's a cop btw... and next morning she sent the son in law out with a bill 50% more than she quoted. Arguing with the cops doesn't tend to produce a result. Don't stay at her rat infested hole in Lospalos. Its called "27a".

Heading back to Dili, we had a quick wander along one of the beaches




This next one is the view down from the Jesus statue… a few kilometres out of Dili. About 680 steps up – and we did it at midday. Mad dogs and Englishmen.... and seeing I'm not English...



Jesus, the statue, was a gift to the locals by the Indonesians.



He's a big fella... 27 metres tall (one metre per the then number of Indonesian provinces)

OK, so it was back to the Backpackers to sort out the arrival of the bike... and to do some socialising. Eva, this lovely young Dutch lady spotted me at the Backpackers and came running up to me, gave me a hug and said "a tall man, at last".... she'd just had a month in Indonesia and was on a visa run to Dili. So, in the spirit of ADV'ers everywhere... its time to socialise





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Old 11-12-2011, 11:57 PM   #20
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Andras was waiting around in Darwin... being stuffed around trying to get parts for his Suzuki DR650. This meant we were going to be another couple of weeks later than “planned” into Indonesia, exposing us to the likelihood of riding in the monsoons.


Speaking of getting in to Indonesia… some kind backpackers left a list of what’s needed to get a visa. I had to have new passport photos taken for the visa…. they must have a red background… and I had to write an application letter describing why I wanted to visit… and so on. Also, they only take 50 applications a day... and, despite fronting at 7am, I ended up at number 57 on the list.


So, it was up at 4:30 am the next day... and when they book finally opened in the embassy gatehouse, I was number 7, but was given a 30 day single entry visa, having applied for 60 days multiple entry…. all thanks to the miserable woman we were sitting with who was bagging out the guy making the decisions while he sat there and listened to her. When I got up he said "you travel with her?" No, said I, but she'd done the damage. A Canadian guy here eventually told her she was a nasty old woman to her face… and that he didn’t like her. He was spot on.


I suffered a bit of dehydration while in Dili. There was a young Aussie doctor-to-be (final year student) here at the backpackers who was wagging her finger at me. I started throwing some more water in and things improved.


So, the next couple of days proved busy – I teamed up with a Portuguese woman and we shared a cab around Dili, doing some exploring – and then we did a one day bike ride into the mountains after I got the bike.


We met Ilia when I brought some red wine, cheese and olives back from the supermarket to share with Keith and Ellen to thank them and send them on their way to Indonesia.




Meanwhile, I was getting around in taxis and minibuses. This bloke struggled in the tight spots a bit, with his young bloke trying to help...





I'd been hanging out behind Keith on this one... but it wasn't the best of looks... straddling him and trying to grip the rain gutter with my fingertips... so when a guy in the front got out... I grabbed the seat





Here’s the two key people at the East Timor Backpackers, Rita (co-owner) and Ellie







and Rita with her partner, Dan... who somehow got his hands on my bottle of Portuguese wine...





I upgraded from the 10-person dorm to a room by myself.... which upped the tarif to $25 a day, but hey....


The exploring…. first, to the Santa Cruz Cemetery – scene of a major massacre during the Indonesian occupation - 20 years ago yesterday. 250+ locals were mown down here by the Indonesian army. Not their finest hour.





Then back into another cab. Not much to see out of this one... I couldn't see a damn thing through that crappy film





.... it was off to the Xanana Gusmao reading room… where we bumped into Zelia, a friend of Ilia’s in Portugal, who has been here working on a project to convert senior college education materials from the outdated Indonesian stuff to a local syllabus. Small world eh?





We met her again out at the beaches for the Dili Sunset and dinner. Pity everyone but me spoke Portuguese....





The sunset was nice. Local fisherman in his outrigger...









It really was nice to get the bike earlier that day… not that getting it was easy - I got the right royal runaround with customs (no... not this office, go to Head Office... get there... no, go to the office at the Port.. where I'd been... back there... )

Note the Dili riding gear!





We’d had no luck trying to steal a car earlier in the day....





This is the sort of crap that lurks just off - and sometimes on - every road in Timor-Leste






Ilia was still talking to me, so we set off to the mountains…. when she finally emerged from the dorm that was (sheesh, I’m the only one around here who gets up at 6am)



We wore heavier gear than around Dili, because it can get cold up there…. But we roasted.









Here’s a view of Dili from a few kms into the mountains… on the way to the Sparrow Force memorial at Dare (Sparrow Force were the Aussie army troops who fought the Japanese here in 1942)





There’s a school at the memorial, built with funds from Sparrow Force survivors





The first traditional house we came across up this way





Then it was off to Alieu for a late lunch. The roads were extremely dusty and we were filthy… There was the obligatory dog under the table. Lunch was $2 each, including a bottle of water. I shouldn't have... but did eat the salad that came out with lunch... and paid the price. Dr Imodium saved me though.





After lunch we checked out the local church (an Ilia thing) and a memorial to Portuguese folks and soldiers massacred by the Japanese





... and headed to a dotted line on the map, an un-signposted “road” that went to Ermera.





We only have that one photo of the good section, because it was a matter of concentrating through the washaways, rocks and the dust holes from then on.

At one stage, it opened up to a lake and paddy fields, but then we didn’t see anyone for maybe 15km and it was really rugged, but the KTM was fine with it… albeit running a bit warm with the slow speeds. We guessed, based on size of the road, at a few forks and eventually got through...








These folks didn't speak a word of English. The kid who took the shot of us below had never seen a camera, but he adapted well.

We never failed to get a reaction from kids and adults all day…. Some young kids ran away, but most smiled and waved and talked (Ilia could communicate with most as Tetun has a basis in Portuguese)









The road improved after that, but it still had its moments…







That remaining piece of road surface was all cracked and failing… and only about 70 cm wide…. And the fall was 20 metres plus (60’+) straight down – and I was double the weight of anything that had been across it. Still…. We made it (I asked Ilia to walk it).


We caught up with a friend of Ilia’s and his girlfriend for dinner when we got back. Alipio runs a Youth Centre (and does a bit of O/S travel talking about it at international conferences – which is good because it helps with funding). His girlfriend works at a women's support organisation, run by Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, the Prime Minister's wife.




We did a little bit of volunteering work with Alipio’s youth group and provided him with some cash to kick off a new business that will help continue funding the centre's activities (by allowing them to establish an internet cafe linked to his centre which will also provide Voice over IP facilities to the locals).


Here we are. Construction Timor-Leste style. This is the second building at the Youth Centre, run by Alipio and a group of young Timorese guys. The main building is a bit more robust… and it has tables and chairs in it donated by some Australian Rotary Clubs and rebuilt computers from Oz for the training sessions.





This is in the Dili outskirts – it has electricity, but no running water…. that’s a few hundred metres downhill and has to be carried up the hill every day.

Not bad construction eh? They were pretty impressed that I could position all the bamboo battens by myself….


The young Doc at the hostel lost a patient on the operating table – an apparently healthy chap (having some relieving surgery on burns scars) - and the nurse also staying at the hostel here had lost one on her first day…. so there were some tears that day. Its a really big issue here…. more on it another time.






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Old 11-14-2011, 09:26 PM   #21
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Life in Dili is pretty relaxed and its well worth eating at the beach BBQ.

Its the cheapest eats in town and we never had a problem with it. Not much over a buck for the BBQ... fish, chicken, etc. and there's Bintang ....



There's plenty of local markets - Keith took a couple of nice shots there before he and Ellen scooted off West









After Andras turned up in Dili, we rode out East to Baucau which was my second trip there, back to Manutato and then up to Lacluba in the mountains… and back to Manutato, then Dili.

Some of the roads are a bit narrow, but it never takes long to get away from these sort of things



Touring the graves of the resistance fighters



Mobbed at yet another stop for Ilia to photograph a church




We were guests of the Pope for two nights… staying in digs at the Cathedral in Baucau after Andras crashed his rental bike (into a 4′ deep culvert that was full of water) – I missed crashing there by a matter of centimetres – I saw the deep water and tried to warn him… but he didn’t connect my signals with the danger and I heard this horrible crunching behind me. It drowned his bike (which we fixed) and his camera - which we didn’t, although it seems to have regained some functions over time. He didn't get pinged for this when he returned the bike... even though the headlight still had about 3cm of water in it.



We were following Alipio, looking for accomodation in Baucau, without any luck due to the Tour de Timor coming to town. Andras was on a rent-a-racer…. the one in the photo above and Ilia, my Portuguese passenger and I were on the KTM. We came down thisstreet and Alipio slowed right down, so I blasted past, across a wide wet area. As I hit it, I saw the hole and just managed to miss it. Alipio followed me and we both were signalling “go right”. Kerr…bloody crash… Andras hit the hole and disappeared… sort of. He smacked his head on the edge of the hole… which was a culvert with the top piece removed. Just one more proof as to why full face helmets are a must.


At least we got a room out of it…. we were out the front of the cathedral… Alipio went in and scored us a bed for $10 each (I claimed the double and left the other two to argue about who got the bottom bunk)… and somewhere to dry out the bike. It took a couple of hours (and lots of KTM tools) to sort out… carby strip, etc.

I puzzled over this for a while... I was thinking some sort of farming tool, but wondered about the stone. Its a boat anchor



This young fella was at the fuel stop heading out of town



And this lady is selling some narcotics. Pretty mild, but narcotic none the less. Betel nut. They dry it here. When I tried it in PNG about 20 years ago, it was the raw, green nut.



We did better with the price for our accomodation the second night…. a $5 bed, from the Pope again, in Manatuto… in the priest’s accomodation. Ilia got shunted off to her own room there while we got to ponder how some of the stains got on our mattress covers - and my bed fell apart at 3am…. whch made it rather uncomfortable

Plenty of smiling urchins, of course



and one of the roadside villages...



typical bridge.



One bridge I saw further East actually had a headstone and grave/memorial on it... but I was with Keith and Ellen at the time and didn't realise what it was until too late... missed a photo.

I just had to take a shot of this. I was really, really praying that the tail wouldn't come up




The mountain trip was fabulous…. All the folks up in the clouds were walking around with a blanket wrap. Roads were diabolical… but no worries on my bike. Had a near call with a herd of goats which appeared on the road ahead of me… panic braked and found a path through – quite a close call. Have it on video too. Met some Aussie soldiers doing it tough… fishing off the rocks from beach chairs (in uniform!)… they were happy to pose for a photo with them and the bike.




That experience was really soured the day after. I heard that another vehicle from that Aussie Army company was involved in a fatal crash up near Baucau - an early morning accident with a local police truck that didn’t have its lights on running them off the road. One dead soldier, one critical – but not these chaps. There was some street talk that it may not have been accidental.


This was up at Lacluba - we'd ridden through some clouds and on some diabolical roads to get here...



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Old 11-15-2011, 01:17 AM   #22
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:34 AM   #23
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I've been waiting for this RR. I'm off to Bali tomorrow to do the a trip East to Sumbawa and maybe as far as Flores if time permits. Gunna sit back with a cold beer and read it..
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:53 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Maggno View Post
I've been waiting for this RR. I'm off to Bali tomorrow to do the a trip East to Sumbawa and maybe as far as Flores if time permits. Gunna sit back with a cold beer and read it..
I'm in love with Flores. Sumbawa was worth seeing... but mate, Flores....

You'll be there by the time I get that written up though... so, here's a teaser from Flores

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:40 AM   #25
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I forgot to throw this photo in earlier... its in one of the smaller villages on the way to Baucau... a rather grim flagpole, highlighting the sacrifices made during the various struggles..




Here’s a shot of Ilia (her name is actually Marilia), which demonstrates why she’s an excellent pillion passenger. You hardly notice she’s there….. but she did have an aversion to hanging on, must’ve been my BO eh?





This little ride with Ilia was so non-ATGATT, it isn’t funny.

Side-saddle, no helmet, thongs, etc, etc…. but is was only a few kilometres (albeit in a city where anarchy reigns on the roads). We'd met in town for lunch and she wanted a lift. Hmmm.





A group of us went to Atauro Island on the Saturday ferry, a 2 1/2 hour trip, after the Brazilian Sunset Market Festival at Christo Rea on Fridays evening. Its held in the car park, out at the Jesus statue. It wasn't a brilliant festival, but because we got a group together, we had a bit of fun. These boys out there were fascinated by the fish a spearfisherman brought in





The sunset was its usual fabulous self



The ferry pulls up to a fairly small wharf out at Atauro






... and we were on local transport out there.





For those interested in traditional agriculture... this is the corn seed for next year's crop being stored up in a tree... not exactly secure.





... and this is a project (based up near Baucau)... a business started by some Australian Rotary Clubs, that is producing these air-tight and vermin proof corn stores... as a means of avoiding local famine




- all they need is $120 per silo to get them out in the districts.


We found, of all things, an Italian restaurant on Atauro...




and an aid-funded project aimed at reconciliation between previously combatative locals that produces a range of individual dolls







Hmmm doll photos on a bikie forum?


We did a bit of swimming and looking around.

The water was so clear that you could see the starfish and coral without putting your head underwater.







... that's pretty typical of the outrigger canoes, which are dugouts with a plank added on top.


... and back to the ferry






Spotted one of those outriggers well out to sea somewhere along the way








We were heading down the road to the shipping company one day (to be told of yet another delay in getting Andras’ bike) when the police stopped us in front of the Presidential Palace. Out came the convoy carrying the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmao. I gave him a thumbs up and the Peace sign…. and he leant right over and flashed a big smile and gave us a huge wave. Great stuff…. but no photo…


I scored at the supermarket. I took the Aussie nurse down to get some supplies. Is a 1980 Bairrada Garrafeira from Portugal good value at $21.00? It sure tasted good.


Saw an interesting thing on the way back with the wine… an old bloke walked out of the local’s market and hurled a rock about half-brick size at the 4WD in front of me. Put a hell of a ding in it too. I didn’t hang around to see what happened. Phew. Pure bloody anarchy. Got the usual reaction from all the locals when they saw my bike.


I’ve got some more photos that I’ll save for the next update – but no photos of the cops chasing us. Andras got pulled over for doing double the speed limit in a village…. and told to slow down. I got pulled over with Ilia on the back – “no helmet”…. I pointed to the shop about 50 metres away and said “just going there to buy one”… and rode over to the shop… but the best was when the ferry got back from Atauro.

The port gates were locked…. so the Doc and I scaled the 10′ high gates…. which all the locals outside absolutely loved. The others decided they didn’t want to scale it…. so the Doc and I walked off to the backpackers. A whole heap of cop cars with flashing lights turned up at the port looking for us… and the others were shepherded away by the locals … “you go quick….”. Oops. We busted out, not in.


OK, Andras got his bike that's it, we’re out of here. Dili is an expensive city, courtesy of all the UN goons. It will be a real shock to the economy there when they pull out.

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Old 11-15-2011, 04:44 AM   #26
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Just checking my notes and here's what I wrote before Andras and I left Dili:

I’ve told my daughter that I’ll give her a ticket to come say hello in Bali…. but we can’t pin a date down until we at least get to Kupang – the capital of West Timor. We plan on heading to Mt Ramelu – the highest point in Timor-Leste (at about 10,000′) tomorrow….. then south to Betano to see if we can spot the 1942 wreck of HMAS Voyager.


Then, its off to the Indonesian border…. where we’ve been told we can’t cross…. but we intend to try. There’s a bridge out on the way…. so its another river to ford… and there’s crocs… but we’ll be rather wary. If we can’t get across, its a very crappy “road” back north… but at least we’ll see Balibo that way.


Then we have to sort out a lot of conflicting info on ferries to Flores. Two a week… or once every two weeks…. hence the uncertainty. Also, we have to pass the world’s most deadly volcano… Tambora, which is threatening to erupt for the first time since 1815… when it killed over 90,000 people and caused the year without a summer in the northern hemisphere.


Meanwhile, we’ve had some wonderful syncronicity going on. I spotted the Prime Minister’s wife in the Tour de Timor…. this is her, Kirsty Sword-Gusmao






... then we had that lovely interaction with the Prime Minister where I gave him the thumbs up and then the peace sign and he leant right forward and across and gave us a huge grin and wave. I was quite chuffed at his response. Very charismatic.


Second one…. have been pondering the issue of micro-financing a bit. Was happy to fund our new friend Alipio to get him some gear that will allow him to establsh both an internet connection at his Youth Centre… and ongoing funding by linking it to a local roadside stall as an Internet Cafe and Voice over IP setup…. to me, a perfect target for micro-financing.


Well, yesterday evening, I got chatting - as sometimes happens - to two lovely young lasses from Portugal….. It turns out they aren’t inmates at the backpackers… just here to use the wifi. They are young (21 & 22 yo) business graduates, out here for 6 months to get the local branch of a Portuguese micro-financing NGO set up. They were finding it slow, hard going.

I dumped a whole heap of ideas on them over dinner and by the end of the evening, I had Alipio at the restaurant….. and they were about 3 months further down the road than when the evening started.


They couldn’t believe how suddenly so many things just fell into place.




.... and here's another of the wine and cheese nights I put on at the backpackers... too many blokes at this one.





There’s a couple of other issues I’ve been pondering too… I haven’t cracked those nuts yet…. but its interesting to see how they are developing. One relates to “bride price”, and I was surprised to find it exists here too in this overwhelmingly Catholic country. Bride price seems to be a major factor in the sex trade in Asia…. but that trade (apart from some Indonesian and Chinese servicing of the UN goons) seems largely absent here.


Here’s the Aussie band B2M. Three lads from the Tiwi Islands, who were over here for a concert and I bumped into them in the street.





So... a very happy Andras gets his bike. That's actually a fabulous ballot box we bought in Darwin that we locked all our non-flyable stuff in as well as our heavy spares. Sort of reminded me of Paul Keating and the infamous ballot box at Bankstown... a local Oz politics story.






... and we were off and that was the last of our internet and toilet paper for quite a while… well, OK, we carried our own toilet paper, because there sure wasn’t any provided where we were…, and we cut through to the south, crossing the island in three days IIRC.

This was our first stop, about 50km or so inland – a small village where we dined on some sort of local bread roll and water… because we couldn't find a restaurant




Then on to Maubisse and a small restaurant where we did manage to get lunch.

This bloke, who is styling himself as a cop (the badge on this shoulder is a Manchester United football club badge… and he had an American flag on the other shoulder…. and a holster with a water bottle in it…. and a weird tattoo on the end of his nose.

Anyhow… he stole Andras’ sunglasses.





I got to cool my heels here for a while – because Andras sailed on beyond the most clearly marked turnoff in the whole of Timor-Leste.





And – on arrival at the Pousada in Hato Builico, the usual crowd assembled. For some reason, bikes don't seem to head into here - they either land in Dili and bolt for Kupang, up the main, paved road... or come in from Kupang and ship straight out. Its brilliant up here. Get out and about guys and girls!






We bought our host, a former teacher and resistance leader against the Indonesians, a beer… or two - which I profoundly regretted pre-dawn the next morning as I almost tasted it again on the climb up Mt Ramelau







While his niece looked on







Its a dog’s life.






We set out at 2:45am to climb Mt Ramelau for the sunrise. 2,963 metres. Ughh. This was our cocky little, fit bastard, guide.
This young bloke was our guide




I made the top just in time, Andras made it about 2/3 of the way and parked himself beside the track to wait for us. It was absolutely freezing at the top. The wind was howling... and I was very thankful for my KLIM jacket.





The village we'd climbed from is down there....




That pyramid shape in the next shot is Mt Ramelau's shadow...




... and of course, the Virgin Mary was up there to greet us (and to relieve me of a dollar)



The other guy is the guard for the telecoms tower... he sleeps in a tiny shack.

It was incredible being up there for the sunrise. Well worth doing... and very fitness enhancing.







I nearly crashed on the mountain on the way back when my climbing guide lost his blanket into the chain – it locked the rear wheel and we speared off towards a 50′ drop, but I got it back.





I gave the silly prick an extra $15 to buy another blanket.


The ride up there at 2:45am had been stupid enough – we’d been told it was OK, but it was very steep, very rocky… loose rocks of 3″ – 6″ diameter, with tight uphill turns – and I had a pillion passenger.


“Irresponsible” said Andras.


I scored a brilliant, if bone jarring massage off an old blind guy afterwards – something I really needed because I was exhausted and sore. We decided to stay an extra night...


Heading south the next day, we had to squeeze past a truck accident that was blocking the road – we didn’t ask about the fate of the occupants, but it couldn’t have been good…. and we had a drop of several hundred feet into the valley if we got it wrong, but the locals helped.







I'll leave it at that for now... but I'll dig out some more photos of the ride back down to the bitumen road later. It was quite interesting and we even had a bit of a run with a couple of guys on mountain ponies. They were pulling a good 35kmh on the really rocky surface.



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Old 11-16-2011, 03:31 AM   #27
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Thoroughly enjoying the read, but some of the pic links are missing?
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:19 AM   #28
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Thoroughly enjoying the read, but some of the pic links are missing?
Thanks. I just had a quick scroll through and couldn't see any that weren't working. Maybe its just my shorthand at times? I've seen a couple of comments that might imply a photo, but there isn't one. I'll see if I can modify my writing. Meanwhile... I've got some photos to process.

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Old 11-16-2011, 04:44 AM   #29
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:26 PM   #30
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All okay for me. Loving the read.
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