maliana_079.jpgMaliana to Bobonaro

It seems like you’re in the Scottish highlands when you travel from Maliana to Bobanaro.

It is cool and misty and the plant growth is very short. It is rocky and windy and the fog moves in really fast.

There are some deep potholes in the middle of the road over a meter deep so you must not get too distracted by the scenery or you could get lost forever.

maliana_085.jpgI didn’t feel like staying in Maliana for the night and decided to head for Bobonaro.

Maliana would be a better choice for most people.

There are loseman (lodging houses) and restaurants there and a pretty big market.

There are no lodging houses or restaurants in Bobonaro but there is a hot spring.

Up there in the mountains it gets really cold when the sun went down so many of the people wear hooded jackets.

maliana_058.jpgWith a wet fog rolling in it was the perfect combination for hypothermia.

If the fog became so thick that you couldn’t move any more you would have to wait it out which would be miserable with wet clothing.

There are no road signs so it is a good idea to ask which road to take, and then verify it with a few others you see along the way.

Most Timor road maps are inaccurate and can not be relied on for details.

At night there is very little traffic or herdsmen walking in the hills to get directions from.

maliana_064.jpgIf a vehicle is coming your way it is not considered rude to flag them down for a chat to find out about road conditions and if you are on the right road.

It was getting late and the fog was making traveling unsafe. I can sleep just about anywhere and started asking around about a place to stay for the night.

The people were a bit leery of strangers so I ended up at the police station to get some ideas.

Atanasio, the captain decided that I should join his family at their place in the hills 9 kilometers distant.

maliana_070.jpgIt was getting quite dark by this time and I mentioned that my lamp or headlight had burned out.

Atanasio said that that was ok because his was burned out as well but he had driven the road so many times he knew the way in the dark.

I was just to follow close behind him.

There was a bottle of engine oil that I had in a bag across the handlebars but the captain felt it should be tied at the rear of the bike.

maliana_051.jpgAlong the way it fell out because of the bumpy condition of the road. Bummer, that bike leaked a fair bit of oil and I needed it.

It is always a good idea to carry oil, reserve benzine and a spare spark plug.

One truck appeared in the darkness and Atanasio asked them to keep an eye out for it and give it to one of the police in town if they found it.

The police patrolled the market in Lepo the next day and would bring it by in the morning. It seemed highly unlikely but the next morning a guy came by and dropped it off. That was a surprise.

maliana_073.jpgWe got closer to Atanasio’s house and left our bikes at one of his friends house at the base of the mountain and continued on foot up the hill. It was really nice of him to have me over for the night.

As we were sitting outside in the darkness drinking our coffee a cowboy on a white horse went galloping by.

It was weird because he was really cruising along on this steep mountain trail. Horses must have good night vision.

Atanasio showed me his photos of his police group that were trained by American and Australian police. He was really proud of those pictures.

He was a great guy and didn’t want any money or anything to stay there but I left a few dollars with the kids.

maliana_055.jpgThe next day we stopped at the market in Lepo. Everything there was cheap because most of the goods came from Indonesia.

It was a colorful mountain market where coffee, tobacco, vegetables and bread as well as dry goods were for sale.

Horses were used for transport and many of the men were showing off their favorite rooster. I got some breakfast rolls and continued on towards Suai.

It was a beautiful morning.

Bobonaro – East Timor

Aug 4, 2006

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