2016
07.20

ORO BEACH

MY FIRST NIGHT HUT

MY FIRST NIGHT HUT

SYNOPSIS:  Time for a writing stop.  Where paradise meets home away from home.  Where a writing stop turned into a vacation.  Where sunrise and sunsets are perfect.  Where you meet interesting people.  Where I did not want to leave.

My 3-star hotel time at the T-More in Kupang was sucked up by grading my online course, doing laundry and by the pure indulgence in long hot showers.  My Timur blog still had to be written…

Every night, I process photos.  Waiting around and being in transit is the best time for me to write.   But the flight from Kupang to Sumba was only 50 minutes long not enough time for even a single blog entry.  A working stop was in order.   A place where nothing would happen worth writing about, where I could catch up in peace. 

Sumba is known for its sandy beaches, its remote feel, its distance from mass tourism.  I surely would find someplace here.  A look into the Lonely Planet suggested Oro Beach.  It was only 15 minutes from the airport.  It was a bit pricy but it would have to do.  Off I went with a young taxi driver who blasted loud rock music at me and just for the sport of it, picked up six youngsters from the side of the road, obviously friends of his who had nothing to do but to be on a joy ride accompanying a foreigner to her destination. Thank goodness, this lasted only for 15 minutes. 

On an unpaved back road, we almost overshot a set-back tree trunk which in bold white letters confirmed that I had arrived at Oro Beach. 

My luggage was unloaded at a roundabout near a blue two-story wooden house, and a couple of young girls who spoke no English welcomed me.  I walked a few steps towards the beach, looking at five brightly-colored round bungalows, some pavilion-huts providing shade, the vast ocean, a small sandy beach and an azure-blue sky and I decided: 

This was not going to be a working stop.  This had to be my vacation break!  I knew it would manifest itself and it had; right here.  I have been on the road for over 40 days without slowing down.  I have seen almost more than I can comprehend.  Yes, I swam in the ocean for two hours, but I have not yet taken time out to actually have a bit of a vacation anywhere.  I think 3 days of rest are in order.   

I conveyed my wishes to the girls and they comprehended that much: three days in a bungalow.  They showed me to the orange one — the one with the best view of the ocean.  No matter what this would cost, I was going to stay.  I unpacked everything, moved my chairs just so, hung up my clothes, and plugged in all my electronics.  Then, I found a place in a nearby hammock under one of the thatched shady pavilion-huts and marveled at my luck.  What a place!

But my rest did not last long.  Lukas and Ziska, the owners of Oro Beach, had returned from the market and figuratively speaking knocked at my door:  Everything, but everything on the compound had been pre-booked.  Nothing was available.  The girls did not know that the guests of the orange bungalow were only hours away from arrival…  My heart sank.

But as I listened to Lukas, I sensed a familiar accent.  Do you speak German?  Yes, Lukas is German, his wife Ziska Indonesian.  But she has lived in Germany for many years and German is the house language around here.  But not just German; my home dialect!  Lukas and I are about 4 years apart and grew up only 30 km from each other.  Another Ossi, unglaublich!  And as a longshot I asked him if he knew the Blaues Einhorn and the Zoellner Brothers?  Of course!  Weren’t those the musicians?  Indeed, they were.  And they are my brothers.  What a small world it is!

I pleaded for a place to stay for the night.  This hammock would do…  And wouldn’t you believe it — within about 15 minutes, I had a makeshift home.  A low wooden bed, a small mattress, a mosquito net, clean sheets, towels.  The benches left and right in the hut became my closet, my room, my chairs.  And the common bathroom next to the restaurant at the main house was there for me to use.  Sleeping outside in this climate is no problem at all if you are protected from the critters.  Crime, theft, or any such thing are simply unheard of.  Luck after all, bigger and better than I could have imagined.  Thanks, pantheon.  Thanks to the power of manifestation.

I slept like a baby and woke up the instant the sky broke into a blood-red glow the next morning.  It only lasted a few minutes, not enough time for me to scramble for my camera and run to the beach, but from here on out, I made sure I was prepared for sunrises and sunsets, each of them different, each of them stunning.    

It got even better.  A family with two children was there, also from Saxony.  They had come for a 2.5 week vacation and were lovely to talk to.  Their children were models of good behavior and played with the owners’ children of similar ages.  And there was a mixed German/Indonesian couple, some French people and the Serbians.  I made friends particularly with the Serbians.  She was an actress, he was a professor of political sciences and a writer. They were world travelers as well, fun, always full of stories, and you would never go without a cookie or a snack in their presence. 

The first night I stayed in my makeshift hut, the second night at the orange bungalow that had opened up.  Another day of lounging, swimming, and chatting started.   After two days of this, I inserted my sightseeing of the island and stayed off site as all the bungalows were booked once again; only to return for two more nights before leaving Sumba altogether.

Upon returning to Oro Beach, two Austrians had arrived. He is a representative of Red Bull (the drink) and she is involved in import and export of bags.  Both of them had lived in Bali for some time and were here for their second time.  He was a serious diver with a harpoon and actually caught a one meter long, 20 pound fish that day which provided food for all of us for a couple of days.   An endless stream of interesting people seemed to flow in and out of Oro Beach.  The world was literally coming together here.

Ziska and Lukas are incredible hosts.  On the morning of my departure, they had decorated the entire restaurant with balloons, had a tape of children’s birthday music running in various languages and had baked a cake.  The little German boy was turning 9.  Without even asking, Ziska had prepared a big sandwich for my ferry trip.  Who would not want to stay here?!  It was very hard to leave.

But Oro Beach would have busted my budget if I had stayed for much longer. I still had a few sites on my itinerary to visit.  I could not lounge around any longer and there was no more excuse.  After a week of no service due to high winds, the ferry was finally going.  It was time to move on.

Ship ahoy!

But for the blog, first three days of travel in Sumba will follow.