(45) The Windy Road to Bajawa

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Sep 10, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel Korina

Flag of Indonesia  , Flores,
Sunday, July 14, 2013

We got a taxi to the bus station this morning as both the bus stations are a few kilometers out of town. On arrival however our driver offered us a driver all the way but at 600,000 for two of us which was far too much for a 4 hour journey that would cost 120,000 on the bus. A problem though; there was no bus. We got out the car a little further along the road when the driver finally stopped continuing to crawl along and surprise surprise he dropped us right by his friends the travel car organisers. Apparently the next bus wasn't for 4 hours and when they finally agreed to 140,000 for the car we thought this was a good price and got in. The car collected a few more passengers so every seat was full and the lady beside Cat had her toddler son on her knee. The driver kept stopping to offer more people to get in but thankfully none wanted to and if they had we would have refused to move anyway! The driver also annoyed us as we asked numerous times for our bags on the roof to be roped down but he kept saying yes and driving on, including once when Ally hung out his door to check when we stopped at the petrol station.

The journey was fine, we had both taken anti-nausea pills in advance as we knew the road was very windy. The toddler though had not and after a couple of hours he started throwing up. Thankfully this is such a regular occurance on Flores that every vehicle is equipped with sick bags, and since when full they are simply thrown out the window, there was no lingering smell. Cat helped out by opening the bags and holding the pile on her knee, and when the lady and her kid got out a little before Bajawa she gave Cat a big smile and said "Ma Kasih"?? which means thank you. Another lady and child got in and the kid ended up sitting on Cat's foot! They didn't want to sit in the now empty back row for some reason, but Cat did offer to put their bags over instead of them being all around their feet and the lady was very pleased.

The car dropped us at Hotel Edelweis in Bajawa as requested and we entered to enquire about a room. Only VIP rooms were left though so we had to go across the road to Hotel Korina where we were first offered a room for 300,000. Ally outright said "No!" and immediately the man had a room for 150,000 which we looked at and then took. An American lady in the lobby was very annoyed as she had been told there were no more rooms for 150 and the shower in her room didn't work (we checked ours!). The room is damp which is what we had read in all the online reviews however otherwise it is fine and it even includes breakfast. The WiFi is good but the hotel keeps having power cuts which is annoying and they don't explain why.

We set off for a walk about the town and to check out places for dinner. We saw the three recommended eateries but these were all quite expensive for our budget and so we were delighted when we spotted a local restaurant set up in a wooden hut. The prices there are half that of the other eateries near by so after visiting the over grown football pitch and passing through the busy main street slightly up the hill from our hotel, we returned to the hut for dinner. Cat used her expert Indonesian to order and soon large bowls of soup and plates piled high with rice appeared on the table which already had free jugs of drinking water. 20,000Rp well spent! Once we arrived back at our hotel and were looking at the giant map on the wall, wondering about the possibility of visiting the local villages tomorrow a man approached us and told us all about the tour that he does and the prices. There was a French couple behind us who, when the man had finished, we turned to ask what their plan was and they told us that they had booked for the 2 of them to go by mopeds, but having met two dutch ladies were now looking to change to share a car but couldn't get hold of their guide. As a result they decided to stay with the mopeds and went and got one of the dutch ladies to come and speak to us and we agreed to go on the tour with the man we had met, Alfredo, tomorrow. Next we had to get hold of Alfredo...he wasn't answering his phone so we sat out on the veranda at the hotel waiting for him to reappear (hopefully!). After an hour or so he did and we asked for 200,000 per person instead of 250,000 which he agreed to and we checked that that would still include our lunch as he had then said we would buy it in the morning but had earlier said it was included (sneaky!). The two dutch girls appeared and seemed to know him from the restaurant they had been in and one didn't look very impressed! He is young and full of energy, funny and a bit cheeky so maybe he had wound her up? Alfredo phoned his mate Joe to arrange a car for the morning and told us we were very luck that Joe was available as he has the only car in Flores with disco lights inside...oh dear! We have headed to bed now and will meet with the party bus crew at 8:30am tomorrow; we are very excited!
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