Since during my backpacking in East Nusa Tenggara, I stayed longer in Rote island, I am thinking about the island now and how I miss all the little things I experienced there… Here is about all numerous little things I love about Rote island I would like to share it with you…
I loved how Matty, the small dog in the house, started to trust me and following me when I want to go out from the house. In the beginning when I met her, she barking and try to bite my hands. Later on, she always shaking her tail every time she sees me. I liked how often she sleep close to my feet, wait patiently while I am writing. She probably thought that I will give her a food in some point if she near me. Sorry Matty, life is not always about food, sometimes, it’s about writing and words.
I loved to see the drowsy look from Peppy, the bigger dog, while he looks at me. He was trying so smooth by his gaze to assure me that I need to share food on my plate to him. And geee, I was agreed to share mine to his never satiated belly. I also loved to watch the sunset with him!
I loved and shock when I saw a huge pig try to open the gate with his nose. He is almost as long as me and twice bigger than me. But when he finally knew that the gate won’t be opened for him, he give up with such a loud “grok” “grook” sound, and go away.
I loved to realize that the other pigs following me around when I walk back from the store to the place I stayed. They followed me so close that actually made me walk in fear. When they finally smelled my feet are not their food, they give up to following and stop somewhere. I walked in hurry later.
Don’t be afraid to see pigs around Rote, because in here, you will familiar to see them here and there. I was so surprised to see pigs on the beach when I want to enjoying sunset in Tunggaoen beach, or most of the beach in the island. They are truly happy pigs 😉
I loved how I need to push my brake a bit and drive my motorbike slower because there are some animals passing by the street. I absolutely gave up the way for mama pig and her kiddos. Some lazy dogs which didn’t want to move no matter how close the motorbike with their nose already. Or baby goat which in doubt whether he wanted to pass the street or not and finally run away that fast when hear my horn ringing. I also loved to see how cows standing still on the side of the street before passing by. They look like they are the wiser animal over all, knowing when to pass, when to stand still.
I loved the look in cows or buffaloes when they see how we stopped from the driving to see them. By eyes to eyes look, there were looked so defense and alert by our present. But it just simply look so cute for me and their silly mimic while waiting what are we going to do to them really made me laugh. When they finally realized that we will do nothing to them, they continue eating their grass again and start to avoid us.
I loved how local people treat their cattle. They just let them walking freely in some lands, eating their grass and not worry that their livestock will run away or stolen by others.
I loved to put my feet under the white sands in Tunggaoen beach.
I also loved it when I sit on the beach, having my me-time and look closer to all the small animals walk so fast around my feet. I saw tiny crabs secretly digging a hole for their home and will going up while bring some sands in their tiny feet/hands. Their eyes will look so carefully before throwing away the sands and going down to their home again in hurry. Trying their hard to make their home deeper.
I loved to see small reddish grains are mixed with white sand beaches. A natural erosion process of red corals for decades, making sand beach in the island of Rote looks different. Reddish white. Feels soft on my fingers. My feet are immersed enough in each time I step on.
I liked the distinctive smell of seaweed. Likes to stare at the locals were busy harvesting the seaweed and try to dry it, in order to be sold to the city of Baa and Kupang.
I loved to see small children and the elderly who give nods exchanged friendly greetings with me. The smile that I gave to them, returned with such big smiles from them. I also loved the waving and shouting hello from them while I drive a motorcycle through village after village, once I met with other motors, they honk their horn in symbol of greeting, regardless that I was the one from across of the island.
I liked looking at the barren expanse of dry grasslands which is so vast and having exotic looks. I know that the drought is not a good thing. But indirectly it is provided a unique view of the island.
I liked to look the sharp branch without leaves standing upright apart. As how I liked to see the sharp coral rocks were arranged beautifully into house’s fences. I love to see the original houses residents who are still made traditionally. As how I liked to see the Sepe tree, blooming red throughout the month of November-December, preparing to welcome the presence of rain, creating a landscape so beautifully red, contrast with the brown expanse of desert savannah and the blue sky.
I liked to see a flash of light as seen from the afternoon sun behind the sidelines of the palm tree leaves. Palm tree is a special tree that is trusted by the Rote people as the tree of life. This is because the magnitude of the functions possessed by palm trees. The leaves are used as roofing houses. Then their wood used as foundation in building the house and for house’s walls. The fruit is used to make sugar and Sopi, the typical traditional liquor drink from Rote. Even the leaves can be used as materials for Sasandu, traditional musical instruments of Rote people who need to be preserved its existence.
I also liked the spontaneity that I always feel when the blue water beach of Rote calling me for directly swim in it. I liked my hair becomes wet and tangled because of the exposure to the wind sea every day.
I loved to see my skin started to turn to be brown due to the hot sun that normally always avoided by people, which I could not avoid if every day I’m always happy to walk slowly down the beach of Rote. I do not care about black stripes visible on my skin, because it makes me always feel like I am being in summer vacation at any time…
I liked to inhale the sea breeze, it smelled salty in my nose. I liked the sound of the waves that break up the rock from the distance, the ripples created when the waves stopped at the end of the beach.
I liked to look at the free attractions of nature as the sun begins to set. I loved the moments when the sun starts to look full rounded reddish orange. Slowly, gracefully she started to go into the dusk. I loved seeing the reddish orange color of the sky after the sun disappears. We called it “after sunset” I love that moment. It gives such an incredible views. It beat all the footage plays by any box office movies. Beautiful attractions given by the Creator, whether as a thank you to those who still want to appreciate the nature or whether as a reminder that we are only a small creature in the middle of the extraordinary nature around us.
There are so many other reasons why I was day by day falling in love more with the island. An island that never crossed my mind before, but destiny brought me to that place.
As someone who believes in the mystery of life, I believe my presence in the island was not just a momentary cache without meaning. I learned a lot in Rote. Many I could use as a valuable experience in the future.
Don’t you think that go travel teaches us to see lots of things and start to tell it to others, to those who want to listen to us? And perhaps those people and me, will not ruin the beauty of nature of Indonesia, instead we will respect it more, keep it clean, so from generation to generation will still able to enjoy the beauty of Indonesia, the beauty of Rote island.
How to go Rote island?
The easiest way is to do your flight to Kupang first, from Kupang, there are some options to reach Rote. You can go by fast ferry from Tenau port or slow ferry from Bolok port. Or you can fly to Rote by plane from the El Tari airport, which takes about 30 minutes by flight 3 pm every day.