The big island of Timor in Indonesia is absolutely not touristy, fortunately Berto a local guy makes me the visit of the capital of the island Kupang and I see real Indonesia without blinkers. Then I go solo to Roti island off Timor. A real gem!
In Kupang I am lost by myself, I do not know what to do. I drag a little in the city but there is not much to see. Along the beach at night, a whole street is covered with small street vendors. You can eat all the panoply of Indonesian dishes.
Surprisingly one of the homosexuals on the boat calls me to spend the evening. Ok I have nothing to do after all. He makes me visit a kind of funny fairground. It’s very poor, the maneges are from another time. Some turn with the force of a man, who jumps on the manege to give him elan. It’s like the turnstiles of the schoolyards more elaborate and bigger.
We find friends at his home. He lives in a tiny room with no window that smells of chicken. A huge insect mounts me on it. There are no windows, the walls are not thicker than paper, yet wood. This is the first time I have faced so much poverty. It’s much worse in the cities. Neighbors arrive, I discuss Indonesians as best as I can. Everyone is incredibly friendly and warm, even the owner arrives. We drink a few beers, I spend a good evening, the owner makes me promise to come back here when I return to Kupang.
The next day I go to Rote Island with an ultra fast boat. The island is amazing, it is a kind of African desert with buffaloes and wild horses. There are miles of beaches completely deserted. Families of wild pigs roam these abandoned beaches snouting in the sand. Real traditional villages are built on the sand, the houses are all bamboo with straw roofs.
The layers of sun on the sea are very beautiful. At nightfall the inhabitants light fires on the beach and discuss under the sky covered with millions of stars.