Sailing into Kupang at night is like swimming through a sea of Jellyfish. Crab pots, unlit fishing boats, driftwood and locals in canoes trying to get a close-up of our catamaran, scatter the 100m-wide inlet.
Music blares from shore, the Karaoke bar competing with the 80’s pop bar up the road. Mopeds buzz, mosks blare, horns honk and chickens screech. Here, noise pollution, or any pollution for that matter, is just part of the landscape.
Kupang is the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, the southern-most province of Indonesia. Here, tourism is unestablished, and most locals have only ever seen white people on TV.
The three nights spent sailing across the Timor Sea, I slept on the deck, but tonight, with Malaria carrying-mosquitos swirling and the night heavy with a third-world lullaby, my cabin tempts. But risking Malaria and a string of other bug-bitten nasties is part of the adventure. I’ve been taking anti-Malaria tablets for days and who doesn’t like a bit of Shania Twain sung by out-of-tune Indonesians? A fight to get to sleep means more time to think, to hone in on the smells and sounds when all your eyes can see is constellations. So, I sleep under the stars, sheet curled to my chin and skin soaked in citronella. This is Indonesia.
I am woken by the sun and chickens. The rest of the boat is deep in their REM cycles and thank god, well, here, with 87 percent of Indonesians practicing Islam, it’s, thank Allah or if you want to make friends, and surely you do, it’s, terimakasih Allah.
Welcome to my first morning in Indonesia.