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Waikabubak to Waingapu


Having availed myself of as much of West Sumba as I could squeeze in, it was only left for me to clear up a few local sights within Waikabubak, a leafy spacious town with something of a dual personality. In my previous wanderings I had already spotted sporadic gatherings of more slab tombs which pointed the way to a further series of hilltop Kampungs out of synch with the rest of the modern conurbation. The tombs right by the main road were complimented by a series of horses heads of unknown purpose, perhaps merely as a regional devotion to Sumba's reputation as a renowned horse breeding land. Even a bus shelter here had been hued out of rock into humanoid and animal carvings. It was an abrupt incline from contemporary housing up to a thatch creation of the previous rural villages I had visited, with more tombs to boast.........

It was only left for me to snap a couple of very prominent Catholic churches before I hoofed it back through the Hello Misters to grab my bag, encountering on the way great swathes of what I took to be macadamia nuts laid out to dry in the scorching sun before being shovelled into sacks. Traversing the town's heart found my path impeded for what I took to be a set-up for a muslim weddingwith bamboo barriers blocking the main road so that a matted seating area could look upon a pavement niche brightly adorned for the happy couple. It was a frustration in reaching the handily very central transport terminal however, something of a flattering nomenclature for the patch of asphalt surrounded by the grubby market, when it was confirmed by all comers that crazily the transport had dried up by lunchtime. The relaxed ever friendly vibe allowed mutual laughter at some ambitious suitors proposals, but thankfully many were honest in pointing out a far from obvious ticket agent hiding behind a shopfront of agricultural equipment. It transpired that a charter minibus was scheduled for 3 and though it was almost double the standard fare I was still happy in the relief of securing a way out. A nights delay was a consideration I could not afford. Killing time found me first braving a throroughly unappetising looking eatery which actually rustled up its sole offering of fried chicken with rice and veg., lipsmackingly scrummy and cheap, and then the habitually intriguing offerings of the adjacent market were another fine indulgence. Sumba betrayed its rural rustic heart in first a selection of pigs trussed up inside a bamboo shelter, but more remarkable still was a small central reservation where dogs and goats had been tied up to street signs. The dogs in particular were a hitherto unknown consideration with largely Islamic Indonesia considering them vermin, and though at least they were not destined for the pot but Sumba's massive population of guard dogs, they looked miserable strewn about in the sun with their neck shackles made of wooden batons lest they chew through a rope tether. They had already proved to be a persistent menace on Bali especially as they zealously guarded shopfronts, and any aspirations of a white man sneaking into a village unperturbed was soon scuppered. Though it was sometimes a tricky juncture to negotiate market places
in view of the unprecedented levels of attention I attracted, it at least meant here that people were happy in turn for themselves to be appreciated, and I negotiated plots of more piles of salt, dried fish, betel nut et al with even a request for photos. The swanky minibus trip revealed Sumba's main artery to be in perfect condition all the way along the 4 hour traverse to Waingapu, surprisingly climbing further up out of Waikabubak at 600 metres to realise very twisty and undulating topography occasionally cloaked in very tall temperate forest. The sweet chick next to me throwing up for most of the trip didnt detract from some excellent rolling green vistas and it was only a pity that what appeared to be the most dramatic of the ranges were cloaked in darkness. The benefit of the direct service only punctured by a quick tea stop had been eroded by its convoluted house to house pick up, and though it was dismaying for it to pick up at the hotel I had recently vacated was a saving grace so late. Rather forced into settling for an arbitrary guidebook recommendation, the dive was if nothing else what I had more habitually expected of East Nusa Tenggara province, at little less than what I had happily forked out the night previous. I guessed the resident world's largest cockroach was throw in for free. Though I was whacked, it at least made it not a spot to loiter, encouraging an immediate foray along unlit streets in search of pertinent needs. First of all should have been the most pressing concern of all, but the ferry office supposedly located in the same street was not to be found, and reversion to a promised rarity a steakhouse was similarly flouted. Rarer still was the discovery of a "pub & karaoke" den whose dark glassed front saw me resist it in expectation of a girly bar scene, and in an unusual modern food court where a large party had had the audacity to finish off all the beer. Hell, if you didnt like a challenge then travelling sure wasnt for you!

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Indonesia

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