We are now in Kalabahi, Alor - big difference between here and Kupang in that here the kids come out to the boats, beg for money and climb up onto the back of Destiny, laughing and yelling, "Hey Mister!" It is a little unnerving especially when they call me "mister". I suppose I should get back to wearing makeup so they will say "Hey lady!" We keep saying "tiduck!" which means "no!" but they must think that means "please come bother me some more and feel free to climb all over our boat".
This morning, Tuesday, we went into the village for a welcome ceremony at 9 AM. The officials and VIP's greeted us all as though we are international celebrities. We were issued official programs and again speeches were made in grand style followed by dancers and performers. After the morning's event, we took off with "Renegade" and "Northfork" to find the local dive shop. Not able to locate it, Peter (Renegade) flagged down a taxi van. These guys literally took us for a ride driving like hell and forever heading out of the town toward the farm country until we began to protest. The driver grumbled as he turned around taking us back into town and then dropped us well away from our intended destination. To add insult to injury he and his seatmate attempted to charge us 10 x the normal fee. It was really disturbing on one level but then on the other hand he is acting no differently than many NY cab drivers with a load of naive tourists. Eventually we were able to raise the dive shop on the phone. Thomas the owner drove over to meet us and then kindly gave us a lift the 5 km back into town. I absolutely abhor being taken advantage of like this and yet not speaking the language and sticking out like sore thumbs we are vulnerable and expect it will happen again and again. Even being in the rally we don't have immunity from this sort of thing – rather perhaps because we are in a rally we are more prone targets. Who knows… What I do know is that it will not ruin our good times here.
Tonight we are all invited to the governor's home for dinner. We are really looking forward to it.