Despite the fact we have only been on Sumba for such a short period, I already feel like a lot of interesting things have happened. Especially when trying to find transport. It is definitely way different from what it’s like in Europe! However, two moments really stood out which we won’t easily forget.

We were walking through the streets of Tambolaka in search for a better hotel than we actually booked for the night (a hotel with mold and insects all over the place), when a strange man appeared. Although we were talking to the owner of a hotel, this man (Don) kept yelling “taxi, taxi!”. After telling him “no” multiple times, Don still continued… in Bahasa , even though we made clear we did not understand him.

After a couple of minutes a small truck arrived and he said “gratis” to us which we did understand of course (we’re still Dutch after all). Because we had to get back to our moldy hotel, we hopped into the back. Driving through Tambolaka, I felt like a star with all the local people staring and waving at us. After this nice trip, we immediately arranged another one (this took ‘only’ half an hour of using Google translate and writing things down). Don apparently really wanted to go to the beach, because he kept yelling “pantai Kita, pantai Kita!”, but we had a stakeholder meeting the next day. In the end, although sometimes still a little annoying, Mister Don became our friend and drove us everywhere.

The next day we had a nice meal at the Gula Garam restaurant (which is actually also the only restaurant on the whole island, it seems). We were walking back to our hotel, when Josine decided she did not want to walk all the way back in the burning sun. So she suddenly stopped a scooter, said the name of the hotel, and she was gone … Without any way of contacting her, I suddenly felt stressed as to whether she would survive this unexpected trip. To get to her as quickly as possible, we got onto the safer option, a bus, and tried catch up. When we arrived at the hotel, Josine was already waiting for us… as she realized upon that she did not have the keys the room.

The differences in traffic were really strange to me at first, but I’m gradually getting used to the chaos on the road. I even feel like it will be weird to be back in the Netherlands with all its rules and tightly organized transportation.

Greetings from Sumba!

Written by: Vanity