Monday, July 30, 2007

Mantebian at last!

So two weekends ago a group of us managed to finally get out of town with the objective of climbing Matebian mountain, the second tallest in Timor, which is quite difficult or at least more so than the tallest, Ramelou. We took a night in Baucau where I got to visit with my host family again before heading to the base on Saturday morning. From there 8 of us headed for the top. We were unsure where we would actually make it in order to camp but wanted to get as close to the top as possible. Exhausted, in the dark and wet from rain we made it to a spot with some traditional sacred houses that had been abandoned about 2 hrs under the summit. This was our lodging.

By then we had also managed to drag along a posy of about 8 children which kept requesting to be our guides. The 7 foreigners and 1 Timorese in our party had food, clothing, tents, water, shoes, and jackets whereas the children had nothing. I was sure they would die during the night of the cold or maybe hunger but that was not the case. In fact, if the cold and uncomfortable conditions didn’t keep us awake it was definitely the children’s singing which lasted until about 5 am at which point someone actually flipped out and yelled at them. The sun broke that morning revealing a absolutely amazing view into Baucau district below (first pic). Arriving the night before in the rain, darkness, and clouds did not prepare us for what we say that morning. Matebian is quite steep and can only imagine it is similar to what mountaineers see when they ice climb steep mountains.

Unfortunately the night was not kind to us all and most had trouble getting up unless to throw up or take a long trip to the bushes. After trying to motivate the crew it was to be only two of us who would go on for the summit. Even I was feeling a bit queasy having to use those same bushes myself twice already by 7am. We left camp with one more motivated member and had a total of seven including the guide and three children with only t-shirts and no shoes. After one more trip to the bushes we made the summit in only hr and a half. Fog covered the accent but suddenly opened up a 180 view when we hit the top (second pic). The decent was hard on the legs and felt like stacks of jello by the time we hit the cars. We travelled all the way back to Dili for a Kalan bo’ot arrival of 9pm. All I got to say is the hurt of the next two days was severe.

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