Christmas is all about traditions
Three years ago my brother caught his first wave on a longboard on Waikiki beach. We had bbq and beers for Christmas dinner, and we were of course wearing Hawaii shirts. It was the best Christmas ever. The year after we went to Morocco for two weeks and celebrated Christmas at a surf camp in Taghazout. We made new surfing friends and paid way too much to ride a camel on the beach. A year ago I put on my santa hat and cruised around somewhere in Java looking for uncrowded surf. I shared nasi goreng with a german monkey while listening to the call-to-prayer from the three nearby mosques. This year I wanted to keep the tradition alive, so Sarah (one of the surfing diplomats) and I went down to Rote in search of waves.
Race tracks and Lego ships
I don’t remember exactly when Christmas changed for me. I guess it was about the same time the presents went from being awesome Lego ships and epic race tracks, to socks and towels. I decided to buy my own socks and towels, and to spend time with my family at other times of the year. Catching a good wave, just on the borders of my comfort zone, makes me feel like a little kid again. And that’s exactly the feeling I want for Christmas.
Socks and towels
When we arrived in Nemberala Beach on the south western tip of Rote, we soon learned the true meaning of “off-season”. There are plenty of villas and small resorts to stay at, but all of them were closed. The wind was heavy on-shore all day. There was a swell, but it was too messy to surf. And no boats would take us out to the wave even if we wanted to. It became clear that my surfboard would remain wrapped for the rest of the year. If we followed our plan and stayed, we would’ve had to play with socks and towels for a week.
We started looking for options in the Lonely Planet travel guide for Indonesia. The problem of traveling in Indonesia isn’t finding an option, it’s deciding which one to go for. West Timor was never really on my radar, but the few pages in Lonely Planet (and the fact that we already had a flight from Kupang) was enough to convince us. One of Sarah’s colleagues knew a local in Kupang who agreed to help us. So after a couple of days riding our bikes up and down the beach at Nemberala, we went to Kupang looking for a different kind of adventure.
Awesome surf pictures
Family road trip in West Timor
After meeting with Ino and her family for dinner in Kupang, we decided to all go on a road trip together. So the 8 of us filled up the car and set out to explore West Timor. I knew very little about this island and I had not seen any pictures. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited!
Picture of fireworks
The trip we ended up taking was better than the one we planned. West Timor is an amazing place! Very interesting and beautiful, and the people are so friendly.
I didn’t get to surf, but it was still a great trip! I’ll just have to put some surfing in my calendar soon. I think 2017 will be another very good year for traveling!