Day 3 – Waikabubak to Wanukaka District
I woke up and found the Spanish guy Nacho having breakfast outside his room. He was there for Pasola and had been in Sumba for the last 20 days, staying in Tarimban, a quiet corner of East Sumba with beaches and no lights and electricity. We decided to walk down to the bus station in town, and ask for a bemo to Wanukaka (regular trips, 10,000 Rp, 1 hr). Over next two days I traveled with him. Anywhere we walked, and we walked a lot, since we had time and were not following the (minimal) tourist crowd he was getting “Hello Mister”. One guy told him: In Sumba, Sumba is not the attraction for you, but you are the attraction for Sumba. I agree completely. =)
At the bus stop, we boarded our bemo almost immediately and reached Wanukoka area, along the way passing a scenic hilly area surrounded by the morning mist. We stopped just after Waigalli. There were no hotels, guesthouses anywhere in this area, but the bemo driver dropped us outside a home that they knew rented out rooms. The owner is a nice lady with a big extended family staying there. The house itself is interesting, its a Christian abode, but with many remaining marapu elements like a stone megalith tomb, pigs jaws hanging on the verandah, contrasting with the wall rug showing the Last Supper. There were no rooms, a french couple, Bernard et Kristine, were already there from the previous night taking up the only available room. The lady was kind enough to offer to put us up in her son’s room, insisting that since we were guests, we should use the room. Her son Rudy, works at the Nihiwatu resort, owned by an American, which is the best resort to stay in Sumba, though by Sumba standards, prices are really ex. (2,000,000 Rp). He also mentioned that they are building additional rooms in their own garden and by next year, we can rent them. The location is great, because it is within walking distance of all the Pasola activities. If you ride a bemo from Waikabubak, just ask them to stop you after the fork to Waigalli, the place is opposite the road to a church.
We dumped our stuff and decided to check out the Wanakoka beach, some 4km down the road. It was a scenic walk, rice fields, bypassing several traditional houses along the way. The beach itself was empty, there were some locals just done with fishing on the perahu boats. Rested a bit, talked some more and headed back. After lunch, we went out again to catch the Pasola men train for their event.
We walked up 3 km to a small field with tall grass. This was where they practised with their horses and prepared for tomorrow. A sizeable crowd of locals from the surrounding villages were there to catch the show. This section and the events of the next day are best recounted by looking at the photos.
Came back for dinner, sat around and chatted with the French couple and Nacho. French couple are retired and have really been to a lot of places. Nacho had spent the last 2 months in Laos before going to Indonesia. Next he is going up to Makassar in Sulawesi. If only I had that much time and freedom to travel. This trip has been good so far though, so I shouldn’t complain.
Useful item to have: My groundsheet for sleeping =)