Wrong Way To Kathmandu - A Sidecar Misadventure - Part 2 - Indonesian Island Hopping

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bokad, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    25 June 2012
    --------------
    Kupang, Timor

    I got the swing arm from DHL today with only moderate hassle.
    In the space of a few hours I had swapped it out with the old one. This involves removing the final drive, shocks, and a bunch of other stuff. But I managed it by myself in the hotel parking lot. Pretty proud of that. Now if only I could a place to celebrate with a drink.

    I give props to Ural for footing the bill and express shipping the part.

    Ran in to a traveler that I had already met in Bajawa on Flores. Small world. Not alot of tourists in Kupang so we stand out to each other.
    Also met a couple of other nice guys and shared fresh fish dinner at the nightly street market down by the coast.
    One of them was German. I'm a complete Germany fan boy and I'm sure he felt a little awkward. Sorry dude!
    I'm sure it's happened to you too, when you meet that guy that just wants to gush and gush about how much he loves your country.


    Also Anna will return from Thailand soon and that makes me happy.

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    Swing arm replaced all by myself!


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    Night market food stall.

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    Pick it.

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    Burn it.

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    Eat it.
    #41
  2. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    27 June 2012
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    Kupang, Timor

    Anna came back!

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    I think she prefers Thailand.
    #42
  3. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    28 June 2012
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    Kupang to Soe, Timor

    We submitted our visa request to the East Timor embassy in Kupang and headed up the road to Soe to kill a few days while it was processed. Soe is a mountain resort kind of town with lots of traditional villages in the area. It's cccccold up there! But once we get out of Kupang traffic (F you smoke screen dump truck!) the road is nice, smooth, and mostly empty.

    There was only one real incident. In general I've gotten used to people acting like complete retards around us. It's like they see us and bodily control goes in to some kind of brain bypass mode. But every so often some asshat really outdoes the rest. It's common for people to shout at us as we drive past to try and get us to stop, flag us down, or to box us in on the road so they can stare or take pictures or whatever. At first I would stop because I thought they wanted to warn us about some road danger ahead or something falling off the bike, etc... But actually they were just idiots that wanted to whoop whoop alot and wanted you to pull over so they could make noises and bounce around. Anyway...this one guy with a kid on the back of his scooter on the way to Soe is really persistent. He starts by tailgating us. Then speeds up to pass before slowing down in front of us and boxing us in. I'm having none of it, I'm pressing forward. So he starts to riding beside us, dangerously close so I don't have room to maneuver. He's making some funny hand signals and I'm just ignoring them. Damn he's persistent. This has been going on for 15 minutes now. Finally he gets the idea to try and run us off the road, start at our front quarter and gradually squeeze us over to the edge. I escape it the first few times but on the third try he's extra pushy, there's no room to maneuver and its either pull over or ram him. So I pull over, thinking "wow, this must be really important for him to endanger our safety and his own, I hope everything is ok". He runs over to us gesticulating wildly. "Photo photo photo photo photo". It's so hard not to punch this smiling idiot in the face. It wouldn't do any good though, he wouldn't understand why I'd done it. To him there's nothing wrong with running someone off the road to take a picture.

    I'm sure I sound like a dick. We've been run off the road before with larger vehicles but it was always an 'accident'. They were busy staring at us instead of paying attention to the road. But for someone to do it on purpose? To put us in danger for a petty picture? Could I have pulled over earlier, sure. But it happens so often. If we pulled over everytime someone flagged us down, we'd never get anywhere.

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    Pleasant path from Kupang to Soe.

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    Pleasant path from Kupang to Soe.

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    Pleasant path from Kupang to Soe.

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    Asshat!
    #43
  4. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    29 June 2012
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    Around Soe, Timor

    There's a bunch of traditional villages around Soe. Each one of them "famous" for their own thing. One of them was supposedly the last headhunters of Timor. Fierce, ever victorious warriors, That was 50+ years ago though and now they just look kinda sad and squalid.
    Instead of making traditional clothes for themselves now they sell them to tourists and for that price can buy 10 sets of modern Chinese made clothes.

    Still, there were some interesting aspects.

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    At each village you should give a gift of betel nut, pepper, and lime to the head honcho. Cash donation still required as well though.

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    A good reminder to wear a seatbelt

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    Small town store.

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    A traditional hut. People still live in these, prefer them to more modern dwellings.

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    The king. No really, that's his title.

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    The king's homies.

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    Processing corn. Separating the kernel from the husk. Pretty interesting to watch actually.

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    Wild cotton.

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    Cotton made in to yarn.

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    In one spot you can see wild cotton turned in to yarn for clothes. The first person runs it through some rollers that take out the hard bits. The second thwap thwaps it with a bow to make it all puffy, then the third stretches it out and rolls it on to a spindle. Pay attention, you made need these skills after the (probably Zombie) apocalypse.

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    In one spot you can see wild cotton turned in to yarn for clothes. The first person runs it through some rollers that take out the hard bits. The second thwap thwaps it with a bow to make it all puffy, then the third stretches it out and rolls it on to a spindle. Pay attention, you made need these skills after the (probably Zombie) apocalypse.

    [​IMG]
    In one spot you can see wild cotton turned in to yarn for clothes. The first person runs it through some rollers that take out the hard bits. The second thwap thwaps it with a bow to make it all puffy, then the third stretches it out and rolls it on to a spindle. Pay attention, you made need these skills after the (probably Zombie) apocalypse.

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    The result is dyed, dried, and turned in to stuff.
    All natural process, even the source of dyes, etc...

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    The result is dyed, dried, and turned in to stuff.
    All natural process, even the source of dyes, etc...
    #44
  5. Crash-n-Skid

    Crash-n-Skid WileeeCoyote

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Alabama
    Keep up the report. It's great.

    "I'm sure I sound like a dick."

    ... You sound like me actually.
    #45
  6. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    29 June 2012
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    Around Soe.

    This is the "headhunter" village.

    I thought headhunting meant there would be numerous skulls on display, shrunken and otherwise.
    Actually it just means that they cut the heads off their dead enemies. Then they gave them as a gift to some regional king. Why? What did the king do with the heads? They don't know.

    Behold the descendents of fierce warriors! Well, I guess the gimmick gets you in to the village and raises a little money.

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    The traditional huts don't have any ventilation so when a fire is going it's a little uh 'smoky' inside.
    By a little I mean it's like sticking your head in the funnel of a steam ship.
    Anna and I made about 10 seconds before we ran outside with our eyes burning.
    These little huts are notably bad for their residents health but they still prefer them to the government provided modern houses.

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    The traditional huts don't have any ventilation so when a fire is going it's a little uh 'smoky' inside.
    By a little I mean it's like sticking your head in the funnel of a steam ship.
    Anna and I made about 10 seconds before we ran outside with our eyes burning.
    These little huts are notably bad for their residents health but they still prefer them to the government provided modern houses.

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    The village

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    descendent

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    I feel super thankful that I wasn't born in to a rural village with a very dim future.
    I'm serious. Be grateful for where you were born.

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    His mouth is red from chewing betel nut.
    In the old days the soothsayer would use this location and stick to determine if now was the right time to go in to battle or if they should wait.
    If you could get your arms around the stick the answer was yes,
    But they always used the same stick and the same soothsayer so uhhhh.... But through divine intervention, the length of the stick (and the result) would change depending if conditions were favorable or not
    #46
  7. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    29 June 2012
    --------------
    Around Soe.


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    CHICKEN donut. WTF?!

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    Intercity bus. They run 'em full. Even down the highway there are people on the roof, the ladder, hanging out the doors. Colorful, some of the enst looking vehicles on the road.

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    Beef rendang, rice, curry sauce, and I forget what the green stuff is but I like it!
    #47
  8. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    1 July 2012
    --------------
    Kupang

    We're back in Kupang to pick up our East Timor visas.

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    Dinner at the fishy night market again.

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    You can have your fish barbecued or fried. Actually, that's your preparation choices for much of Indonesian cuisine.
    #48
  9. luckychucky

    luckychucky Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,566
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    Looks great, would you buy another vehicle like that?
    #49
  10. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    A sidecar yes. A Ural, no. Not for any sort of heavy use or distance touring anyway.

    #50
  11. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    2 July 2012
    --------------
    Kupang, Timor to East Timor

    We're excited to be moving in to a new country. We've been too long in one place. It will feel great to cross a border, even if it is still the same island. Feels like progress.


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    Long line of Bemos (private mini bus) in line at a gas station.
    The stations here often don't have gas and when they do there is an hour long queue.

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    Long line of Bemos (private mini bus) in line at a gas station.
    The stations here often don't have gas and when they do there is an hour long queue.

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    Soldier statue at an intersection
    The Indonesian military is based in a very disperse away and there are small garrisons every few streets or miles.
    #51
  12. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    3 July 2012
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    Crossing in to East Timor (Timor Leste)

    The border crossing is dusty, middle of nowhere, low hassle. No problem or corruption leaving) Indonesia or getting in to East Timor. If I didn't insist on getting all the Carnet documents at East Timor we could have just driven through. It feels fantastic to finally be here! To be in a new country after 3 MONTHS in the same one! To reach a geographic terminus. Can't drive any further East than this! This is the end of one road, a leg of the journey completed! We celebrating by stopping by the side of the ride and gorging on a watermelon we brought. It's good to have all the sidecar storage space. I'm surprised to find that it is yellow inside but it is delicious.

    Sometimes the road is fine. sometimes it is missing! I wish they would at least spend a dollar to get some orange tape and mark the parts that might kill us!
    oddly enough there are often warnings for small hazards but never for the large ones.
    This is definitely not a place to drive at night. Come around a corner in the dark and you just might disappear. And this is the main highway!

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    Celebrate the border crossing in a proper way.

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    Sometimes the road is fine.

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    Sometimes the road is missing. This on the main highway between East and West Timor.

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    Lonely coastal drives are always super pleasant.

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    Looking for food in the mud during low tide.

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    Finally arrived in Dili, the capital.
    #52
  13. Manneke

    Manneke Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Thailand Bangkok
    Hi,

    I'm in and very interested as I plan to ride the Indonesian Archipelago in 2 years :evil
    I would like to ride and dive on most of the islands.
    Ride one day , dive one day etc ....
    I plan to do that in 6 months so I could ask you some advises very soon :D

    Ride safe

    Fred
    #53
  14. Mr.lien

    Mr.lien Behind the line

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    65
    thats a casava leaf, :lol3

    enjoy ure road in there, :D
    #54
  15. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    3 July 2012
    --------------
    Crossing in to East Timor (Timor Leste)

    We passed a large trench cut out from the earth and spotted some kids playing football inside. Great photo op. It only lasted a second before they realized that was going on and all ran, clawed, jostled, and squirmed to be the closest to the camera. We had to hold them back a bit or they would have had the camera up their nose.
    Nice action photo sequence.

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    #55
  16. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    4 July 2012
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    Dili, East Timor (Timor Leste)

    Dili has an aid economy. Dollars pour in from the UN, NGO's, and charities.
    The official currency is the mighty US dollar. It's stable(ish) and easier than printing your own I suppose.
    There are alot of very idealistic, very white, very blond girls trying to do good things. A large number of the businesses seems mainly to provide things to the foreigners. SUV's, compounds, luxury electronics, western food, western standard construction supplies, security services, etc...
    It's a hip expat place with artsy restaurants and UN white SUV's on every street.
    All this outside money has greatly inflated prices. $100 for an old but clean hotel room. $40 for two to eat out.


    We bask in all this western goodness. We stuff ourselves with pizza, steak, tacos, onion rings, kebaps, pie, cocktails. Everything BUT rice and noodles.
    There is never ending hot water. Haven't had it this good since months ago in Java.


    I didn't think I would like East Timor but we went anyway because you never know...
    And I'm glad we did. It feels like a weight of pressure has been lifted and we both feel more relaxed here.
    I don't know how to explain it. As soon as we crossed the border something changed. A cloud lifted and we felt 10 times better.
    We don't do much tourist stuff. Just walk, eat, see the beach, meet people.
    I'm SO happy to see westerners again. The conversation and friend making comes easy.

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    Hip Turkish restaurant

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    Jesus opens his arms to Dili.

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    Nice drive.

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    No shortage of beach.

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    No shortage of beach.
    #56
  17. Snirt-MT

    Snirt-MT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Zootown
    Fantastic report and pictures. My wife and I spent 5 weeks on Bali, Lombok and the Gilis. So many great memories! Have a safe trip.
    #57
  18. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    5 July 2012
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    East Timor (Timor Leste)

    We took a day trip to see an old Portuguese fort. I'm huge fan of anything fort or castle.

    A bit about the history of East Timor.

    Like many countries, it's future and troubles were determined hundreds of years ago by the somewhat randomness of colonialism.
    Half of the island was a Dutch colony. The other half Portuguese. This administrative colonial divide in the past set them on very different courses and violent confrontation.
    West Timor was a minor part of the Dutch presence in the area and gained independence in late 1949. You don't see alot of colonial influence.
    East Timor was an important outpost to the Portuguese and remained a colony until 1975. You see this greater importance and longer influence in numerous seaside forts projecting cannons, grand old colonial buildings, wide boulevards, and a certain European feel to the architecture.
    Indonesia invaded in 1976. They feared the East Timor government would be communist controlled and didn't want that for a neighbor. That standard narrative is that the US and Australia encouraged the invasion. Indonesia treated it more like a permanent province than an occupation and build lots of infrastructure. Any dissent was violently crushed though.
    In 1999, after mounting international pressure and an internal vote for independence, Indonesia began withdrawing from East Timor.
    Various militias, chaos, civil war, and massacre followed.
    Eventually the UN moved in.
    This has pretty much continued in to the present day. There is a trend towards things calming down but every so often tension escalates to violence.
    The capital has the look of a place that is prepared for trouble.
    UN peacekeepers still patrol.
    Every hotel, business, and apartment/home is it's own little sealed compound.
    12ft (4 meters) high walls, razor wire, broken glass, spikes, thick metal doors, security guards.
    Still, things are getting better. They held elections while we were there and the UN soldiers are due to leave soon. The UN aid as well as the NGO's and most of the other foreigners will remain though. There's alot of work to be done still.
    My cynical self questions how helpful the help really is. After a DECADE of aid money, training, infrastructure projects, and everything else there is still alot of poverty and anger.


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    Rocky beach

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    Colonial era administrative and prison complex.


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    I often so Israel graffiti and art. Never could figure out why.

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    Dilapidated colonial style building. Lots of these around.

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    Portuguese fort by the sea.

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    Church

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    Graveyard
    #58
  19. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    6 July 2012
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    East Timor (Timor Leste)

    On crossing in to East Timor it is immediately obvious that they are MUCH poorer than the Indonesians on the other half of the island. The main highway hasn't been repaired in a long time. Sometimes it just drops in to a giant hole or off the edge of a cliff. The houses are made of dirt and dusty sun bleached pieces of wood. Not boards, pieces of wood. The fences are similar improvised construction. There's less scooters and more people walking without shoes. The whole place just feels dusty, left behind, and poor. Not unpleasant, or squalid, but definitely poor. You know you've crossed a logical divide in to another place.

    What does poor look like? We drove on a daytrip to visit a colonial fort. On the way out we passed a lady sitting by the side of the road on a very rickety chair. There was a very aged table in front of her. The sort of thing that looks like it would just collapse to dust if you leaned on it. On that table were three fish that she was selling. She sat there, in the sun, swatting flies away off from the fish and getting covered in dust from every car that passed. When we returned a few hours later she was still there but with only one fish. This is subsistence living. 50% of East Timor gets by on less than $1.50 a day. Of course, some get by on much much much more.

    East Timor isn't exactly poor. There's alot of money, it's just in very few hands. Actually, the country has $10 BILLION in a national slush fund. Their cut from an offshore oil field that the Aussies pump for them. There's only ~1 million people in East Timor so that comes out to $10,000 for every adult and child. $40,000+ per family. I bet you could make a real difference in some people's lives with that. I'm sure it will be distributed in a way to benefit all, right? Keep in mind this is money from a public resource, owned equally by all citizens.


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    You feel it as soon as you cross, East Timor is much poorer than it's neighbor.

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    You feel it as soon as you cross, East Timor is much poorer than it's neighbor.

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    You feel it as soon as you cross, East Timor is much poorer than it's neighbor.

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    Fresh fish!
    #59
  20. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Polska
    7 July 2012
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    The vacation continues!
    Lord I'm grateful for hot water and decent booze.
    Wd-40 too. I find a big can and pretty much give the Ural a bath in an attempt at de-squeaking and un-rusting.
    There's lots of two wheel conveyance around here and the Ural brand tire that I put on the pusher in Bali is going bald after only 2000km so I resolve to find a tire.
    Oddly enough 19" proves to be the rarest of sizes. 17", 18", 20", 21", no problem! 19"? Forget about it!
    I order a tire from Australia (it's pretty damn close you know) and have it sent to meet me back in Kupang (West Timor)

    I'm told there is a skeleton of a T-Rex at the presidents palace. The hotel receptionist is skeptical. She thinks it's human bones from a massacre being passed off as a dinosaur. There's oil around here so dinosaurs seems plausible. It's been awhile since I've been in school but last I checked those two things were still being taught as connected. Or it could be a gift from the Chinese, as was the palace itself.
    There is a skeleton but it's a plaster reproduction. False advertising I say! Big difference between dinosaur bones and copy of dinosaur bones. Damn you Lonely Planet!

    East Timor is the end of the road for a few bikers. Or the beginning if you're coming from Australia.

    We meet a Norwegian guy that rode his Royal Enfield all the way from Kathmandu Nepal to East Timor (our reverse route!) with little planning, almost no motorcycle experience, and 0 mechanical skills. I admire that!
    The reliability (14,000km, no failures) of his 13 year old bike makes me hate my new and needy Ural even more.

    There's also a quartet of big shots from Jakarta on chromed out Harleys.
    There's a HUGE luxury tax on imported goods in Indonesia. A nice Harley is USD $40k to $60k. Damn!
    The guys are nice and have good stories though. Jakarta is a pretty terrible place to ride so they ship the bikes all over and have their adventures that way.
    I'm surprised that they would risk them on Timorese roads.

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    Pfffft, like East Timor didn't have enough problems already.

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    From Nepal to Timor on a Royal Enfield. Good job dude!

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    Harley dudes, their pics.

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    Harley dudes, their pics.

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    Harley dudes
    #60