Atauro is an island off the coast of Timor and the idea of 3 days at a resort there sounded amazing…it was!
Timor time however, proceeds at a more relaxed pace than Australian time and this was most evident when making travel arrangements. It seemed that ferry departure times were not exactly according to schedule so our expected departure early in the morning ended up being not quite so early!
Leaving the compound, we made our way to the main road in order to catch a taxi or 3 to the wharf…losing one taxi along the way as the driver didn’t quite comprehend the instructions given (eventually arrived somehow though).
So here we were waiting to board the ferry….(what ferry?!) It took a while to work out which boat we would be travelling on….
…waiting and at the same time, watching the world go by…
Only motorbike drivers are required by law to wear a helmet….other members of the family aren’t!
Council workers often have to improvise…
hmm…..still waiting until finally we are informed that it will be another couple of hours before we set sail……!!
Being so close to the Jesus Statue (which can be seen from any vantage point in Dili) it was decided to make a quick detour while waiting for an obviously unscheduled ferry service, catch another taxi and make our way a few bays further to see the statue up close.
….and to avoid the dilemma of losing some of the group again, a dump truck (aka taxi service) was successfully negotiated.
This was where we were aiming to get to…
The road however, was not passable….it had sort of somehow collapsed.
So it meant walking back along the coast road, because our instructions to the dump truck driver to hang around and wait for us was what I would class as being “non comprende”.
In the end we discovered that the actual track to the Jesus statue was in the hills behind these cafes and restaurants….too late now though. It was time to get back to the “ferry terminal”.
So it was back to hiring a taxi or 3 ….
In order to board the ferry, we had to be taken by dinghy first!!
…so we were finally on our way albeit a few hours late. Our ferry trip was supposed to take about 2 hours although we were warned that the water was pretty choppy. Those among us who were prone to sea sickness dosed up on whatever medication we could. It was obvious that there was another problem with our boat when the engine started to stall on an uncomfortably regular basis.
Three hours later we landed on terra firma!!
Our accommodation was at Barry’s Place…and what a uniquely pleasurable experience it was.
and great service by the ever smiling, ever helpful Mario….(hi Mario!)
and so another day was over….
…and another day dawned.
Laundry here means wells, buckets and handwashing…which for us is a bit of a novelty.
…. and then the resort laundry had to be washed.
Meanwhile it was also time to relax, unwind and play games.
If you searched Google maps, the distance from Barry’s Place to Vila the nearest village, is 5 kms. According to Google maps it takes 5 minutes to cover this distance, but I think if Google were to ever see the state of the road they would realize that (a) the quickest form of transport is the bicycle! and (b) it takes closer to 15 minutes to travel this distance.
So a few bikes were hired by some, and the rest of us hired….
the Tuk Tuk!!
I think the driver of this Tuk Tuk was underage…but he did a good job avoiding as many potholes as possible!
Desination – Vila, to visit the Bonecas de Atauro (Doll factory). This is a women’s cooperative which produces delightful handcrafted dolls, bags and gifts.
Normally you don’t touch the dogs, but this one attached himself to the younger members of the group and followed them everywhere, and yes, he even accepted the odd pat.
His role of “protector” was clearly in evidence when the group went snorkelling and left some of their gear on the beach. The dog lunged at a random passerby who was probably getting too close to the gear he was protecting…then he sat back down watching and waiting until the snorkelling was over. Good dog!
Beaches here aren’t pristine…..they are full of rubbish
which makes it a delight for the local children.
and so another day was over and the moon rising over the horizon was the perfect finishing touch!