A sticky and uncomfortable night on the ferry was compounded by the tuck shop’s (pot noodles and skinny cans of Sprite – it’s the same all over Indonesia) decision to start playing the usual rubbish Indopop at full blast at 5am. What is that? In lieu of the call to prayer. I went over and told them that if they didn’t knock it off, I wouldn’t be buying any more pot noodles.
Simon and Chesa were planning to spend the day in one of the villages surrounding Kupang. I, on the other hand, was tasked with the job of getting my Authorisation letter for East Timor. My first port of call was the bus company that runs minibuses direct to Dili. They didn’t seem to care if I had authorisation or not and just wanted to sell me a ticket for tomorrow’s 6am bus.
So I headed over to the brand new East Timorese consulate that has just been built (in fact, they’re still building it!), but it wouldn’t be open until Monday. Would it be worth risking it and heading to the border anyway? It was only six hours away: I could be there and back within a day if necessary.
I checked into the Lavalon Backpackers (although, being run by Indonesians, they didn’t quite get the concept, so the place was something between a grotty pension and a cheapo bed and breakfast, but they had a western toilet, so my bum was happy) and then headed over the road to the Lavalon Bar which was (surprisingly) run by the same guy, Edwin.
Edwin’s a bit of a legend in Kupang, so much so he’s actually mentioned by name in the Lonely Planet. He’s a bit nuts, but in a good way. He told me straight out not to attempt a border run without the Authorisation letter: I’d just waste my money. Best I wait until Monday and go to the Consulate. This would waste another 2 days, but what’s 2 days in 700 eh?
Brilliantly enough, Edwin’s joint had Wi-Fi, so after a little walk around town (it may be the capital of West Timor, but it’s quieter than a racist in a Nairobi gym), I settled in for the day with a bottle of Bintang and my laptop, content to watch the cooling afternoon rain lash down across the bay. Less brilliant were the flying ants that came out at dusk: they were EVERYWHERE – crawling up my legs, in my hair, in my beer. The rule is, in the tropics, you get an itch, you SCRATCH IT BEFORE IT BITES YOU. Quick quick!