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August 5, 2006

At 9 am the rally group boarded 2 buses that took us north along the coast, through a smattering of settlements with a wide mix of cultures. Since the island is so rugged, it is difficult to travel but we finally reached the small town of Besar.

We were greeted by men dressed in warrior attire and we followed their dance into the village. A nautical sight with the omnipresent mosque in the backgroundWe were seated in a building to observe the handwritten Koran, the only remaining book left from the 17th century.
The village is centered around a huge pile of stones built up to accommodate over 450 heads! The island of Alor practiced head hunting right up until the 1950’s.

Back on the bus, we traveled a little further until we reached an area that was set up with craft tents, and an open area surrounded by hundreds of locals, mostly children, barricaded from us by an endless line of hanging Ikat weavings

We were seated for speeches and a performance of dance and song

As we watched the performances, we were given snacks of fried bananas, flattened popped corn and other unnamed items.

Children danced to the beat of a 2 sided drum

Before long, as we were finding was customary, all the yachties had to join in the dancing, forming a large circle.

Liam watches from the sidelines

After dancing we were ready for a refreshing swim so we all walked down the beach, passing interesting fish traps along the way, to the snorkelling area. We all managed to don swimming attire and head for the reef which started almost at the shoreline. The snorkelling was surprisingly good, lots of soft coral and an array of fish at the drop off.
After our snorkelling adventure, we were served lunch, again authentic Indonesian cuisine, complete with coconut milk served from the coconut

We played a game and prizes were awarded to the lucky few that had boats big enough to store giant fish traps!

With the children watching in curiosity, we were seated for another  display of danceDignitaries and Government officials from the Regency were dressed in colorful Ikat attire.

A woman performed the cooking dance


    

A bizarre dance depicting some sort of disagreement was performed to the beat of a bronze gong.

Before we departed we spent time visiting & taking pictures of the interesting Ikat costumes, unique in this regency by the background colour being burgundy based.

Finally a saunter around the market produced some good bargains.