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For a capital city Waingapu's rural character meant that the roosters outgunned the mosques for once, and it was only a little after 6 when I rose to find an unexpected inclusive brekkie already presented outside my doorunannounced. Tea and doughnut like cakes were a good start. I wandered out briefly to confirm the non-existence of the ferry office and then just kept walking, under pressure of time to square away an itinerary before check out time. Still singularly ignorant as to the options, I had to by hook or by crook leave Sumba pronto. My wanderings the previous night had at least availed me of the Pelni office, whose schedules had not been what the guidebook had suggested, and whilst I imagined it might be an outside option it proved to be of no use at all. Waiting for office hours, I retraced the local pier where I had sunk a couple of beers the night previous, now able to appreciate an already active scene of a small freighter precariously unloading a loose cargo of rice sacks and tomato ketchup, also a large ocean going trawler which emptied its ice lockers onto an onboard conveyor belt. A ferryboat lay tantalisingly close across the harbour entrance but the guidebook warned me not to try and walk there, it was too far. A ubiquitous Padang lined with a military post and an independence monument went one better in boasting anti-aircraft guns but I was disappointed in my early morning curcuit not to discover any hint of a colonial legacy, only that by 8am the sun was already so strong that I had to seek shelter and water. My erratic wanderings then found me stumbling across the Merpati office as required by chance, already open and bearing schedules to all destinations. Similar to most of the ferries, I had expected the airlines to only service the major provincial destinations and so it was a happy realisation to see that the next day would offer a connection to Flores as required. It was to the port town of Ende in eastern Flores which was less than ideal but might do at a pinch, the dismay mounted however when I learned that it was booked out. I was already ready for lunch by breakfast time and so opted for a good Nasi Soto Ayam (chicken noodle soup) stupidly within sight of a poorer one to which the guidebook gave the thumbs up. From there an Ojek was a rare strategy in getting out to a spot known as Kampung Baru (New Town) where I had established the ferry office actually lay, and it took all of a few seconds to scan their schedule and twig an excellent proposition. Determined to backtrack north west to Labuanbajo at Flores's western extreme, the weekly ferry to Aimere still 10 hours away by bus had been the best possible option, yet the guidebook reckoned it wouldnt run until 3 days hence, an unacceptable delay. Expecting a service to easterly Ende that night I had pretty much resolved that there was nothing for it until I saw that the Aimere boat would leave that very night. It was as close to perfect as I could have hoped for. The Ojek boy took me home for perhaps even slightly less than what it should have been and evidently with a weight off my mind my return prompted a beer, a Mandi and a sleep in that order. It surprised me not for the first time what effect a single beer could have and so it wasnt until just after the thankfully late check out time that I re-awakened to get my gear in order and decamp. In spite of my by now daily resort to the use of mosquito coils I got hammered once again and so anticipated the night boat like never before, one night in that dive had been enough. My information quest and timely departure unfortunately meant that I would not have the opportunity of exploring eastern Sumba beyond its capital, yet I surmised that its traditional heart down on the east coast would probably differ little from where I had already ventured. I hopped on another Ojek on a suburban jaunt in search of confirmation. Described by the guidebook as "a weaving centre worth a peek" Prailiuturned out to be a partiallymodernised village with architecture of similar ilk to the west, and though the only evidence of weaving was a lone granny chancing to flog me some Ikat cloth, its tombs rendered it a more than worthwhile venture.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Indonesia

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