Ride Overland With Kanchan & Nick

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July 20, 2012

East Timor: Timor/ East Timor and shipping to Australia

It was still dark when the ferry reached Kupang 15 hours from when we started.  It was around 4am!  We tried to find some place to stay but since check out time was around 12pm, it was kinda tough to find a place.  We decided to wait a bit and have a think over coffee.  Although we got decent sleep, we were still a bit groggy!  We found a place that was a bit run down but it was okay.  Since it was the weekend we had to wait for Monday to roll around so we could get our Timor Leste visas.  All 3 of us needed visas, and on top of that, we were trying to make it for the Aug. 18th shipping date or the next day would be the 31st.  We really did not want to sit for that long in Kupang or Dili.  Monday rolled around and the 3 of us headed to the Timor Leste consulate where we managed to convince the ladies to give us our visa the same day.  We were beside ourselves!  While waiting for the visa we decided…let’s just pick up a rear tire.  It ended up being a $30 Corsa (Indonesian brand tire)…crazy to some people…but hey, if we ride a bit conservatively, we should be fine.  We figured it would be safer than running the tire we were running since the tread had really wore down.  Andy offered to strap the tire on his bike since we weren’t super sold on putting it on yet.

Customs and immigration on the Indonesian side was a piece of cake…a little sad though.  We had been there for 2 months…2 amazing months!  It had to be our favorite country so far…!  The Timor Leste side was not too bad either…immigration was quick and yes the UN is still present there.  We met a UN peacekeeper fromSri Lankawho was really excited about meeting Indians on a bike, it was a good feeling.  At customs we met two peacekeepers from the Pakistani army as well as the Bangladeshi army.  One Pakistani army official in particular was super nice.  He was a genuine person and reassured us thatPakistanwould be a welcoming place for us to visit.  I think after meeting him, we felt even more excited for that leg of the trip!  About 10 minutes past the border formalities, Andy realized that his tire had gone flat.  Good thing he had another tube!  We pulled over in front of a shop.  Nick and Andy quickly changed the tube while the shop owners offered tools.  Looks like school had let out because soon we had an audience of school kids quietly whispering.  When we finished and waved at them, they all of a sudden burst into cheers and ran after us waving and screaming “Hello Mister!”  As we headed on our way, we were stopped by a racing SUV.  Out popped a British/Australian couple.  We had read on the news while we were in Kupang that there were some ‘violent’ protests going on sparked by recent elections and the exclusion of the Fretilin party from the new coalition government.  Oh come on…we got this!  The couple that stopped us were really concerned and told us that the hostel we had decided to stay at was on a street that was dangerous and the situation in Dili was too tense so we should stay at this other hotel.  We got to Dili and it seemed perfectly peaceful.  Since it was on the way, we decided to check out the hotel that the couple had recommended…or compound I should say.  It had two huge barbed wire fences surrounding it with shipping containers as the hotel.  They were charging a lot of money too.  Heading in the direction of East Timor Backpackers, we saw lots of kids walking home from school, seemed fine to us!  James at Toll Marine emailed us earlier in the day and he said we were in luck because the ship was running late so we would be able to clean up and hand over our bike tomorrow afternoon or even the day after!  We thought we were going to miss it, but this was turning out to be working in our favor.  A little stressed and tired, we landed at our hostel and had a beer and some much needed food.  We had the bike power washed once in Kupang where they did an extremely good job.  The next day we got it power washed again and then got down to business with the toothbrushes and rags.  You might be wondering…why are we trying to clean the bike?  Well Australian quarantine does not want one speck of dirt, soil, or rocks on the bike.  If you fail their inspection, they charge a lot of money and can even send it back.  We knew there had to be a bit of exaggeration but we couldn’t afford to fail the inspection and not have the bike in our possession.  It really took all day long to take parts off the bike, clean the panniers and make sure the stuff inside the panniers was clean.  We had decided to put the new rear tire on since the tread was gone.  We really only had one day to clean the bike…our best friend was…Son of a Gun!  It’s a gloss that well…saved our ass.  We glossed the  sh*t of that bike, it looked like new.  The next day we had the collectively bright idea to roll the bike down the main road to the Toll shipping office.  Imagine: Nick sitting on the bike and Andy pushing it from behind, while I carry the helmets and backpack.  Every now and then Andy and Nick would switch.  It was hot and Dili is dusty!  But we made it, sweaty with a nice coat of dust on us, and strapped the bike down with our Touratech straps in the container and finished up our paperwork.  Nick and Andy had gone to the port on Andy’s bike and got the carnet stamped.  Hooray!  Our bike is in the container…we really can’t do anything about it now!  The next few days I got sick and we helped Andy clean his bike for his shipping toSouth America.  We wish he had come with us toAustraliabecause we really enjoyed his company.  We had a good time with him and we’ll always remember our chats over Indian-Bangladeshi food across the street from our hostel. Nick and I are so happy to have met Andy and made such an amazing friend! We wish the best of luck to him always!

We’ve met many interesting, caring, and genuine people on our trip through Indonesia and Timor Leste.  We’d like to thank them all for their support, help, and most of all…their wonderful company.  We could not have completed our first leg of our trip without you!

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