I’m finally back up and running, a few days later than originally planned. My passport ended up being stuck with my visa application at the Iranian embassy a bit longer than expected, so I only managed to get to Dili in East Timor on the 26th. Which turned out not to be an issue anyway since the container my bike was in wasn’t processed by customs until the 26th anyway, so I wouldn’t have been able to get the bike earlier even if I was there.
Right now I’m in Kefamenanu in Indonesia, just across the border from East Timor, having a refreshing breakfast of rice and noodles.
This is where Timor is on a map
Day 10 (Jan 26th) – arriving in Dili and picking up the bike: I arrived in Dili around 7am on the 26th after a delightful 10pm flight from Melbourne to Darwin, an equally as delightful 1am to 5am layover in Darwin and then a quick 1h 30min hop over to Dili in East Timor. First things first, I went over to the hotel and dropped off all my stuff before starting to figure out how to get my bike.
The process of getting the bike was roughly: Go to ANL (shipping company) depot in the eastern end of town to get shipping documents stamped, then go to the Dili customs office in the western end of town to show them the stamped shipping documents and get the bike Carnet (basically my bike’s passport, more about that in a separate post on trip preparations at some point) stamped, then go back to the ANL depot in the eastern end of town to collect the bike and get more papers stamped. Which was fine by me, because there is nothing I love more than processes and paperwork…
Luckily Dili is tiny (especially by Asian standards) with a population of just under 200 000 people and the weather was great so I went for a nice walk along the waterfront from ANL to customs.
Anyway, after I got all the paperwork in order the people at the ANL depot asked me to wait until “the afternoon or tomorrow morning” before a customs officer would come to the depot so they could open my container. So I went back to the hotel and had the first of what will likely be one Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) per day for about a month. There I met Patrick, a stellar Aussie who is also the country manager for ANL, who was celebrating Australia day with a bunch of other Aussies at the bar. He asked me to sit tight whilst he had a few beers and made some phone calls and less than an hour later I was on my way back out to the ANL depot to pick up the bike. Thanks again Patrick!
Bike delivered in one piece at the ANL depot
After that I hung around the bar celebrating Australia day with a bunch of other Aussies who showed up while I was picking up the bike, and a quite a few Bintangs later I went to bed 🙂
Day 11 (Jan 27th) – crossing the border into Indonesia: I had two days total to get from Dili down to Kupang in Indonesia to catch the ferry over to Flores on Sunday 29th, so the first day I would have to make my way through East Timor and a bit into Indonesia to get half way on the ~9 hour journey from Dili to Kupang.
I had heard from the folks at the bar the night before that the road to the Indonesian border will be okay for a bit, then bad for a bit, then really really good for a bit and then absolutely horrible for a bit. It was. All of those things. And it was raining the whole time.
Really really bad road (or perfectly good lake, whichever way you want to look at it)
I did make it to Indonesia eventually, wet and muddy. Next up is another 4-5 hours ride to Kupang and then a 13-15 hour ferry from there to the eastern tip of Flores. Will keep you posted!