Going around with a rental car for Sumba use to be an adventure. You could buy bensin to the many street vendors but never in the gas station.
Gas station were always closed with a sign : “HABIS” that means finish. The bensin was always finish.
Ten meter away start the long line of bensin street vendors that sales at double the price. Empty Plastic bottles became an asset. The more you had, the more you could use them as containers to sale bensin and create an income. The true was that was difficult to start “the business” because no many plastic bottle around.
YOU HAD PLASTIC BOTTLE , YOU BECAME A BUSINESS MAN; the first entrepreneur of Sumba.
It was hard for me to understand how could they stand under the sun for the all day trying to sale their bensin at that high temperature, mostly young kids or old women.
One things was good about this all deal, you did not had to stand in long line waiting for your turn..
Great, now we have bensin and we can start our journey but not without the second forced stop to another kind of street vendors. Yes, you had to buy SIRIH PINANG.
The most obvious custom you will see here in Sumba is the chewing the betel nuts or more properly called “Sirih-Pinang”. It is a social custom and those that chew it are making a public statement of their maturity, both sexual and psychological. The sirih-pinang and the white powder lime are rich with symbolic meaning. The Sirih is phallic symbol of the male, Pinang represents the female ovaries and reproductive capacity and the lime, which gives the characteristic red color is symbol of sperm.
Everywhere you go in Sumba you have to carry Sirih Pinang with you to offer to your host or to your guest.
Now you are off for the day….
Welcome in Sumba
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