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Bima to Sape


Having stayed up most of the night for a football fest, I still rose early to confirm that in now realising it Sunday and not Monday, the local museum remained infuriatingly shut. Settling for a stroll of its grounds, I chanced upon a habitual collection of cannons of which one still vaguely bore a crown emblem, the year 1815 and the word "Solid" stamped upon it, it might have been British. I then had to see to practicalities in view of my imminent descent into a dearth of services and standards, stockingup at a supermarket before chasing up an ATM. Considering it would probably be my last chance of cashfor a week or more, it was exasperating then to find one bank branch now vacated and the other cash machines around unwilling to play, there was even one with the appropriate logos which thanked me audibly in a newly familiar fine Scots brogue for using the service, a pity then that the bitch couldnt go so far as to give me any money. God knows what the locals must have made of it. Another long hot slog left me short changed until I sought the help of a gaggle of "Hello Mister" admirers, the pretty headscarves infuriatingly pointed me back to a point just beyond where I had just given up the ghost. Ever hotter and sweatier, I then became at least 2 million Rupiah heavier, and so bagged a Bemo for the run back out to Raba, finding the bus terminal maybe 3K further than the 2K ascribed in the guidebook. The bashed and trashed bus with burst cushions clawed back some time by thankfully departing immediately, and though it was later than I had intended I still felt I could get away with splitting the 2 hour trip out to easterly port town Sape. The road out of Bima proved to be for Sumbawa an unprecedented grinding climb for 30 minutes or more, also witnessing here for the first time some lurid green rice terrace vistas and switch back topography. Though amidst confusion I missed out on the chance of stopping off at the village of Sambori, the locals were more helpful in shoving me off right at the proclaimed entrance way for Lengge Wawa, an enclosed compound of fantastically traditional houses separated from its more conventional mother village of Maria. I proved once again how fluent my limited vocab Bahasa was these days in ribbing my kiddie escort, and upon entering the fenced off enclave asked the sole male incumbent if it was OK to wander around. In spite of a large sign proclaiming its heritage it was a breath of fresh air to be let loose nonchalantly with not a hint of the potential visitors book or entry fee. What really blew me away though was the enclave itself, a concentrated rank and file of tiny stilt elevated dwellings of 2 contrasting designs. Front and foremost were the pointy pyramid thatch roofs of shelters so primitive they smacked of teepees, and the the other more abundant sort were high elevated tiny timber boxes with variously thatch or tiled roofs and impossibly small doors. I strolled around along unrefined boulder paveways unmolested, as only a few women habitually slumbered on a raised platform under thatch, one preparing rice with a giant mortar and pestle, dressed all in black. The very quiet locale left me wondering if perhaps many of the dwellings had been relegated to more prosaic use in deference to more conventional housing, yet it was simply amazing to still find a settlement of this particularly primitive style at all. Dodging a passing shower as well as more human attention, the first transport onward to Sape proved to be a squashy Bemo rather than a bus, but I was just happy to be on my way again. I might be pushing it to make a ferry connection for all I knew. In dodging the touts upon arrival the only memory of Sape was a shiny ATM kiosk where one should not have been given the isolated location, before electing to chance that my instinct would lead me in the right direction for the port. That it did, but I hadnt banked on it being maybe 5Ks away. Ever the pragmatist however, it availed me of some fine rural vistas and local practices, with the propensity for traditional costume here betraying the strength of Islam as much as their heritage. A man gathered cattle fodder into a horse and cart as women paved the road side with bundles of freshly cut grass for the incredible number of elaborately pompommed Cidomo steeds. Later an official sign at the port would refer to them as "Benhurs", surely too much of a co-incidence for it not to have been an adoption from the film. Certainly, the charioteers raced along sometimes as though they were rampaging around the Colliseum, but none could have rightly been considered anything close to Charlton Heston. At still a mile from the port, the road upon reaching the water split into 3 distinct prongs, and I had to guess in view of the badly truck molested surface that the middle causeway was the headland for the ferry.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Indonesia

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