It was in the taxi leaving the airport when I first realised we’d not landed in Flores, but Kupang (where is Kupang and what to do in Kupang?). There I was with a guidebook on my lap scanning the Flores section for suitable hotels when the driver started talking to me:
Me: We want to go to the Permah Sari Hotel.
Taxi Driver: Where is that?
Me: On Jalan Sudirman.
Taxi Driver: I don’t know that road.
Me: Sighing (another taxi driver who doesn’t know where he’s going). Look, I’ll show you on the map.
Taxi Driver starts smiling
We’d landed in Kupang, the capital of the Indonesian side of the island of Timor, not Flores. I had made a beginners mistake. In my rush to go to Borobudur Temple I had left the travel agents without checking the ticket. Maybe it was because my friend had ordered the tickets for me, and I’d clearly asked to go to Flores. Surely the travel agent would know where Flores is right? We were even speaking the same language, so it’s not as if he could blame the language barrier…
For my Mum and I, dealing with my stupidity was all part of travelling. I’d long ago learnt how to adapt to new situations and unexpected events caused by my inability to organise myself, Kupang was just my latest f@%#k up! For my brother, the conscientious and organised person that he is, landing in Kupang was a sign that I should never be involved in planning any events in his life ever again.
Despite my stupidity we managed to have a good time. The first question we had to solve after finding a hotel, was what to do in Kupang? The answer to this question came in two parts.
The best thing about Kupang for me was the fish market. Local fishermen bring fresh catch straight to the market, which is then transferred via a BBQ to your plate. The food is simple, sweet soy sauces and spicy sambals added to whatever you pick from the stalls. Cheap delicious food, it’s hard to go wrong.
The second thing we decided to do was leave the Kupang (it is actually quite horrible and arriving here was not one of my better mistakes) and head for Roti; a small island about one hour’s ferry ride off the coast of Kupang. This was a great choice as Roti is very relaxed and lying on a beautiful sunny beach was far more interesting than the bustling streets of Kupang. Looking back I wish I had just gone to Nusa Penida instead of Kupang.