Staying in the nun house

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

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Where I stayed
Suster Santa Maria Berdukacita

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaving Bajawa, we continued on for another 5 hour drive to Ruteng. Along the way we stopped at a local arak (rice wine) distillery which is made from palm sugar and takes several days to make.  They have 4 grades, ranging from 20% - 50% alcohol.  We tried that 50% one – and I gagged after the first sip.  Alan polished off the rest of the taste sample – and had a headache later that day as a result! 

In Ruteng, we went to a place that we found in the Lonely Plant guide, but they were full.  They suggested we stay at another place – and I wasn't sure at first if he was saying 'the nut house’ or the ‘nun house’.  Either way, it sounded … interesting.  We were told that it was nice and clean, but I wasn’t holding my breath.

Well – it turns out if was a nun’s convent – and this was by far the nicest accommodation we had in all of Flores.  Who would have believed it?  The room was tiny, but it was immaculate.  The bathroom was completely tiled and scrubbed clean.  It had a ventilation fan, a flush toilet, a proper shower (with hot water!) with excellent water pressure. (Oh it’s the small things that mean so much!)  We had hand towels AND bath towels.  And all for less that we had been paying at other places.  And it included breakfast!  The only condition: we had a 9pm curfew which is when the gates closed.  Not a problem for us – I’m usually dead to the world by then!

We found a nice little restaurant for dinner – Agape Café.  They roast their own coffee, and I couldn’t resist ordering a ‘Coffee Hot Chocolate’.  Yum – this was the best mocha ever!

For most travellers, Ruteng is really just a place to stop for the night, to break up the journey – which is what we did.  But we found the people here to be some of the nicest people that we met.  There were many young students who very politely would come up to us and say "Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but I would like to ask you your name (or where you are going)".  They really just wanted to practice their English.  And when we stopped to ask directions, we had 3 different lots of people walk us to the places that we were looking for. 

The next day, back at the convent, we woke to the lovely sounds of choir singing.  It sure beats the motorbikes, honking bemos and roosters!
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