If it had not been for several foreigners independently telling us that they considered this road the most beautiful of the country, we would not have rented a 4WD and headed to Suai in the first place. But here we are, taking a turn at a roundabout with a statue of an armed fighter, ("Rambo"), after a visit to Suai Loro, and it is later than we had planned. Just to be sure, we buy 3 medium-sized jerrycans of gasoline at one of the many petrol stations - small street stalls with plastic bottles and jerrycans - and have them filled into our tank through a funnel. Soon after we leave town, the road starts to gently climb the hills, covered with brown trees: we are at the end of the dry season and nature is screaming for rain. Initially, the road is not as bad as I had imagined, and we proceed north, through an array of villages with big thatched houses, similar to the ones we have seen in the morning. Some of them have a tomb right next to them. The higher we get, the better the views of the hills around us with the villages scattered around - we are enjoying the drive more and more.
Gradually, the road deteriorates, until I am steering the powerful car over loose stones and through deep sand and dust. Up and down we go, but more up than down, so we climb into more open landscapes. We now feel the urge to stop frequently, but know that we have to push on. Until the urge becomes too strong, and we stop anyway. Especially when we reach altitudes over 1000m, the views of the road ahead, meandering through the dry landscapes of the western fringes of Timor-Leste. So much so, that we drive almost right on the Indonesian-East Timor border. At one point, there are graves with the Timorese flag, and arms on them - undoubtedly, freedom fighter who died for their dream of an independent country. It is now late afternoon, and the light gets warmer as we drive higher still, with mountains still rising above us.
Traffic almost does not exist on this road: in all, we would see 3 vehicles in almost four hours. I just keep my fingers crossed that our car will not have any problems, trying to steer as cautiously as I can over the rocky road. We drive through woods, around curves, see horses roam freely in the wild, people walking trails in the landscape, far from any village. When we finally reach the main road, and see asphalt again, we almost feel sorry for it: the advice to drive this backroad has been spot-on, and has felt like one big and beautiful adventure. We now have some spare time, decide to visit Bobonaro, but get stuck when we try to leave the old colonial town because someone is fixing his truck on the street, in such a way that no one can pass. We find an alternative track back to the main road, but it is in such a bad condition that 6 guys are busy arranging stones of various sizes in such a way that we can finally, after several attempts, continue our way - in darkness.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Road from Suai to Oeleu (Timor-Leste). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Road from Suai to Oeleu.
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