At the Ende of the world

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
Ikhlas hotel

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, November 5, 2010

After the relative cool of Ruteng, we continued East to the mist-shrouded hill town of Bajawa before finishing in Ende (pronounced End-ay). This was my last stop in Flores before flying to Kupang, West Timor, where my godfather lives with his family.  I must admit that I'm ready to unpack my bag for awhile and to sleep in the same bed for more than 2 or 3 consecutive nights!  It has become a morning routine to spend my first few seconds of wakefulness mentally scrambling to figure out where I am!

I spent an interesting morning with Eng’s family in a small village just outside of Ende.  Six people live in a three-room house, with walls made of woven bamboo slats and a tin roof to keep off the rain and heat.  They were quick to welcome us into their home and the eldest daughter rushed off to the market to get supplies for lunch, which she then spent nearly four hours preparing in the dirt-floor kitchen at the back of the house.  I was amazed by their generosity and their willingness to show me around the neighborhood, even taking me to visit a mom and her newborn baby.  A small flock of children followed me around wherever I went, giggling and running away whenever I caught their eye.

The teeth of many locals are rusty brown due to the custom of chewing betel nut, and it took me a while to get over my initial shock at seeing women spitting red wads of betel juice into the ground at their feet.  (shudder) 

I am more grateful than ever to have short hair, not only because of the breeze on my neck, but also because I shower two or three times a day.  My long, thick hair would have been a real pain.  And just to clarify: by "shower" I mean using a little bucket to dump cold water from the small tank in the bathroom over myself.  When it’s 32 degrees outside, showering becomes one of the best parts of the day!

One of the great adventures of travel in Indonesia is riding helmet-less on an ojek (motorcycle taxi), clinging to the driver as the ojek swerves around oncoming traffic, pedestrians and stray dogs. It really is the fastest and cheapest way to get around.  This morning, I spent a good 20 minutes riding around town, trying to find yogurt.  Not that I really needed it, but it was fun to see if it could be found.  Turns out it couldn’t – dairy products are scarce here.  But the ride was exhilarating! 

Oh hi Mom.  I mean, I wore a helmet the whole time.  And knee pads.   ;)
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Auntie gopher on

I read with such excitement of your worldly adventures. I so love your updates and story telling- keep them coming! My heart is with you in your travels :)

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