April 24, 2007 GMT
From Asia to Australia

At Kupang Airport it became evident that less fortunate countries do not afford waterproof ink when giving you an entry stamp. My passport was a bit washed after the wet season in Sumatra, and now the silly Billy officer at Kupang Airport pointed demonstratively on the blank spot: “How can I stamp you OUT if you haven’t been stamped IN? See, you are not here.” I insisted that I was, making a point about my presence. Yet he said no and that I could not enter the aeroplane because I wasn’t there.

For the next forty five minutes I watched his mouth talk nonsense in slow motion, a numerous other officials came and went, and nobody offered me cookies and coffee because… well, I wasn’t there. But all of a sudden he realized that I actually WAS there, and he waved me out the door. The propeller plane with the volunteer Australian doctors had closed the hatch and was on the move, and I ran down the airstrip as if I needed some immediate surgery. Hey, wait for me!
Goodbye Asia. Hello Australia.
What about the bike? Well, the East-Timor border was closed and my non-extendable visa ran out, so I had no better option but to leave the bike behind with Bob’s men and hope for a quick fix of the shrimp boat engine. But no, prepare yourself for dealing with amateurs, coz those guys really know how to fuck up your schedule. First prospect was that the boat would leave Kupang within seven to ten days, though ten days later the boat was still in Kupang. The new prospect was that it would certainly be in Darwin next Tuesday. Next Tuesday the boat was still in Kupang. Now, this is when the waiting started to be somewhat painful. I called Kupang again. Yes, it would for sure leave Thursday 12th. But on Thursday night the Kupang boys didn’t finish loading the boat before midnight, thus the boat crew refused to sail because it then was Friday 13th. Hello? But again a promise; they would leave night till Saturday, just one minute after midnight.
On Sunday the boat was still in Kupang.
Then, finally, the boat with the crew and the bike went to sea. It arrived in Darwin on Wednesday, and I was more than ready to pick up the bike and get going. But somehow the boat crew had forgotten (!) to notify the custom, thus they were not permitted to unload the boat before Friday afternoon, meaning that I would get my bike just in time for all the offices I have to visit to close for the weekend. Great!
I got my bike in the end. By the way; seeing Torbay II makes you wonder what Torbay I looks like
Then it was off to the Motor Vehicle Office to register. The forty-something male clerk said I needed to write down my local address. I said I didn’t have any. He then suggested that I use the address of someone I knew. I said I didn’t know any locals. Now, the following conversation was kinda confusing:
“Basically what you’re telling me is that I have to find someone to know?”
“That’s right.”
“Is it easy?”
“Yes, people around here are very friendly.”
“Alright, I want to know YOU”.
“Yes! I’m a nice guy. You will like me a lot.”
“I don’t want to know you.”
“Why not?”
“I just don’t.”
So I faked an address.
Maybe I’ll find somebody to know out here?

Posted by Erik Saue at 12:30 AM GMT

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