Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Larantuka

We had several canoes visit us at the sandspit location of Indonesia the next morning wanting to trade or sell fish and mangoes, which we did, and another that promised to return with papayas and bananas to trade for 1 of Jordan's old fishing rods. Unfortunately, he never returned and a trade never transpired.

We dinghied to the sandspit so we could burn our bag of garbage along with garbage that was already on shore. While we tended the fire, a longboat full of excited passengers showed up. Some introduced themselves as doctors and nurses who had recently graduated and just finished their 1-year internship in this remote area. So this day was a treat before they would return to the big city. Some were collecting sea cucumbers to roast - yuck!

They helped a bit to pick up garbage lying around and took many, many pictures. Pictures of them, group shots with us. Group shots of them on our dinghy which fascinated them. They told us that a doctor could look forward to making about 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 Rupia per month (equivalent to $200 to $300 Cdn per month). Compare that to being about what our doctors can easily earn in an hour or 2 - shocking. Several indicated that they wished to practice in the United States or Canada or Australia but first they had to earn the expensive plane fare. Bus drivers in Jakarta earn twice the amount of doctors.

Jordan in the middle row

As we were about to return to Sea Turtle, 1 of the doctors ran out to their boat and came back with several rice rolls for us!

Our next destination was Larantuka - the capital of East Flores Island (Indonesia) - and as we approached through the narrow channel, our GPS showed over 12 knots over ground in the riptide current. The channel was wide by the town but the current was still very strong so Jordan was concerned with anchoring amidst the other moored boats. We ended up tied alongside a large boat at the dock (S08°20.501' E122°59.482') as the dock was too high and unsuitable for Sea Turtle.

Tiny Sea Turtle next to large boat

All the guys on the boats of this busy port were very friendly and welcomed us to climb up to their decks and cross over to the wharf whenever we wanted to get ashore. Another crewman from a fishing boat on the other side of the pier invited us for dinner. Only 1 man spoke okay English but we all struggled through and made conversation somehow. But most were playing with their cell phones or tablets. Everywhere we go, no matter how rich or poor, most everyone has cell phones! And we've noticed that most Indonesian men smoke, as did these boaters.

The English speaking man next invited us to go with him to a youths' boxing event in town which we accepted. There were many motorcycles in town and almost every rider present at the matches watched with their helmets on even though it was very hot out! (We've noticed most riders seldom remove their helmets when doing errands such as shopping, etc.)

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