It always happens to me; the off beaten path while I’m traveling. This one is no exception.
It was Sunday. We just dropped Tika at the airport because she needed to get back to Jakarta the next day after the wedding. Because we had nothing to eat since morning, we decided to have brunch at Timor plaza. Well, it was actually lunch, not brunch because it was already 1 pm.
Since we also needed some “connection” we decided to eat at Gloria Jean’s cafe. We ordered hot drink and some pastries. Done with lunch, Bebe drove us back to Area Branca where we’re having dancing date with Azia, Bebe’s friend who we met at the rehearsal dinner and wedding. She told us there’s a club house which presented live music and dance every Sunday evening. Azia told us, that the bar belonged to one of her good friends. This gonna be awesome, we thought.
So, it was not bad idea at all. We figured it out, we had appointment at 5 pm, but we headed to the beach at 2 pm instead. Because, before meeting Azia, we wanted to enjoy the beach first: laying on the beach and going to the salt water. It turned out, the beach was quite crowded and it was hotter than that Friday. I felt worse because I did not have enough sleep. At the beginning, I planned to run along the beach, and if I was lucky, I could reach to the Statue. So, that’s why I wore my running shoes, T-shirt, and jacket.
Because it was too hot, it ended up I did not go running; just lying at the beach and started getting headache. I suspected because I did not have enough sleep and the heat. At 5 pm, we left the beach and went to the beach club where Azia wanted to meet us. But there was not Azia. We decided to wait for her.
The band started to play.
The sun started to go down.
We started to order food and drinks while waiting for Azia.
Some people started to show up. Some people started to dance.
My headache was getting worse. I ordered more and more drinks.
At 8.30 pm, Azia has not shown up yet. My headache was getting worse and worse, and I couldn’t stand anymore. So, I told Teo and Yoko if I wanted go home. They agreed to go home although they still wanted to dance.
I told them it’s okay to go home by myself, but they told me, “No.” They’re going to take me to the apartment. But the problem was, we did not know how we could get home. So, I asked the waitress if there’s taxi in Area Branca. To my surprise, there’s no taxi runs in the evening. If there’s any, it’s not that safe to ride a taxi in the evening. So, the waitress suggested me to ask the owner of the cafe if her driver wanted to take us to the city (Area Branca is about 20 minutes driving from the city). The boss then tried to find her driver but she could not find him.
Then she found an idea, “Mbak, would you mind if my friend take you to the city by Harley Davidson?” Because I had no choice, I said OK.
To tell you the truth, I was a little bit scared riding motor bike. When I was visiting K’s parents in Charleston, her dad – a Harley biker – offered me to take a ride with him. And, I said No… Because I was afraid. Riding motor bike is such a fragile stage to me. You speed. You have a pretty close contact with the concrete. K’s dad convinced me that it’s safe to ride that bike.
So, that night, I had no choice.
I jumped to the passenger seat. I asked the driver if he had another helmet. He said, No. Grrr. So, yeah, it’s time to pray harder and harder because I had no helmet, and I’d ride Harley Davidson with a stranger. I believe that he would love to speed. And, the road from Area Branca was pretty dark in the evening. Plus, there’s a construction undergoing in the area.
So, I was ready to take the challenge: riding Harley with a stranger, no helm, and with running clothes.
For the last 20 minutes felt like an hour. The stranger speeded through a dark night in Dili. I prayed and prayed. I would not know what’s gonna happen to me. But I believe the owner of that club house.
When we reached the Presidential Palace, I felt a little bit relief because it was not too long from our apartment. When we finally reached the apartment gate, I felt “Gosh, I’m home, safe and sound.” I thanked him – the stranger I could not remember his name. Maybe it was Sean, maybe it was Sam. I could not hear really well the OZ’s dialect.
Taking a shower, I still could not believe what I was doing. It was so unreal. Night ride. Harley. A stranger.