It's a long and winding road.....

Trip Start Sep 24, 2009
Trip End Apr 30, 2010

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, October 26, 2009

W nice and early, we were packed and ready to go by 8.30. At 9am, our driver shows up in a fairly decent car.  The bags are loaded into the car and we are ready to go, when the driver tells us we can choose to pay another 200,000rp (NZD$30) on top of the 120,000 we were already paying if we wanted to head off for Moni now. Otherwise, we would have to wait until we fill up the car with more passengers.  (We took this to mean that they had to get a total of 6 passengers).

I asked how long this was going to take:  about 3 hours. I just about choked!   After some discussion with Alan, we agreed however, that we would not pay the money, and they could recruit some more passengers.  Why did it take 3 hours?  Because that's when other busses would be arriving from other parts of the island, and they would have people that also wanted to go to Moni, our destination.

So, we parked in the cool shade under a large tree, and waited.  And waited.  After an hour or so, the driver’s friend jumped in, started up the car and we took off into the city, No explanation as to what was going on, of course, but we assume that after spending the last hour on his cellphone, he had found some passengers.  But it wasn’t to be.  This performance was repeated a couple of times. 

We waited for awhile at a petrol station (no shade except under the forecourt) and waited for the buses to arrive to fill up with gas.  We found two more passengers (local guys).  And then we picked up a family of 3 – along with their dead chicken! 

So now we are ready to go.  The driver jumps into the driver’s seat, then his two 'friends’ also jumped into the car.  There were 4 in the back seat (plus the dead chicken), 5 in our seat (including a young girl) and 3 in the front, with 2 people sharing the front passenger seat.   So much for only needing 6 people!  (Fortunately we did drop off 2 of the people about hour into the journey).

Within 10 minutes of driving, the young girl next to Alan starts throwing up.  Oh joy!  And she repeated this about once every 15 mins.  Poor Alan!! 

Flores has the windiest roads I have ever come across.  Motion sickness isn’t normally a problem for me, but I felt pretty dodgy by the end of this 3 hour busride.  NZ has some pretty windy roads, but nothing like this.  It’s hair-pin curve after hair-pin curve the entire way with very few straight patches.  The roads are narrow and steep and the driving it a bit hairy.  On the upside, the scenery is just amazing.  This is such mountainous country – incredible!         

At the end of 3 hours, the driver stopped fairly abruptly in an area that I would call ‘the middle of no where’.  He turns around and declares that this is ‘Moni’, our destination.  We jumped out, got our bags – and just stared around us wondering where to go!

After finding somewhere for a drink, leaving Alan with the bags while I wandered off in search of accommodation, we found somewhere that was fairly decent and reasonably priced pretty quickly.

Moni is a tiny little village, with the key attraction being the Kelimutu volcano with the 3 lakes that change colour on a regular basis.  In fact one lake had just changed from chocolate brown to green just last week.   

We had a little wander through the village before finding somewhere for dinner.  We were pretty wiped out after the harrowing drive.  What we expected to be a 2-3 hour journey ended up taking over 6!  But when we think what it could have been like in a public bus, we were pleased we hired the shared taxi.

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