Bajawa, Indonesia: See ya Later Dutchies

Trip Start Jul 28, 2013
Trip End Feb 06, 2014

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Of course the one time we decide not to be ready bang on time the bloody bus arrives 15 minutes early. With Sam in the shower, my bag unpacked and goodbyes needed with our Dutch friends what should have been a relaxed morning rapidly turned into a mad rush.

The bus driver didn't seem keen to wait at all and even phoned the travel agent to tell us to hurry up. When I showed him the ticket stating 'Pick up 0730' he simply huffed and puffed saying "no, pick up now". Grrrr

With Marc and Maaike set to fly to Bali then onto Australia we said farewell and promised to catch up for a pool and a shithead (cards) rematch downunder. It was sad getting on the bus just the two of us as it felt like we had been travelling as a foursome for ages. Good times indeed.

Opting for the more expensive shuttle bus we were pleasantly surprised by not only the leg room but also the number of people - one per chair. How marvellous!! Having been told the views were amazing we were sorely disappointed to see nothing but winding road leading into cloud.

By our calculations we pulled into the town of Ruteng ahead of schedule. Brilliant, plenty of leg room and early arrival. Our jubilation was shortly lived when we were told that was where the first bus terminated and we would have to wait 2 HOURS for the onward bus to Bajawa. So much for a direct bus. The number of things that pop up in the fine print once on the road is amazing - unscheduled fees, stops and bus changes being a common occurrence.

Walking down the street in the rain we found a hole in the wall restaurant and dined on rice and spicy stuff. I think mine was tofu and noodle. Sam braved it up and went with chicken. With my mouth burning I stupidly made the mistake of grabbing a bottle of 'Sweat' which I thought was water so took a massive gulp only to have to run outside and spit it into the drain. Urrrrgh talk about sweet salty yukkiness. I think it's meant to be one of those isotype** sport drink things but tasted more like the stuff hospitals give you to empty your bowels.

Our second bus ended up leaving early too which was good. Once again, plenty of leg room and we managed to retain all three seats for the duration of the journey. On this leg the clouds lifted and we were able to catch glimpses of the breathtaking view as we wound our way up and over passes through thick jungle and rice fields. Ginormous thickets of bamboo hung heavy over the road forming picturesque arches. Palms bulged with coconuts, banana trees circled homes, ferns with fronds as big as a person slunk down riverbanks as vines spilled over trees. A couple of dogs played chicken with lorries, whilst water buffaloes meandered through rice paddy's and cows munched on grass by the side of the road. The serenity of which was topped off by the sound of a lady throwing up in the seat behind us. Poor thing. The road really was just a series of U bends guaranteed to give even the most harded car traveller a sick beard.

Towards the end of the journey we followed the black sand coast then kicked back up a mountain from which the view was exquisite. With the sun dipping behind some clouds half the sea was silver whist the other was awash with gold from which misty mountains rose into the sky. Really beautiful.

We arrived in the town of Bajawa at 1730 which was pretty good considering the original ETA was 1900. Being at about 1100m there's a crispness to the air we're not used to. Very refreshing and great to not have to worry about a fan or swatting away dozens of mosquitos. Not so great when provided with a cold water bucket shower so think I'll skip washing tonight and embrace the dirty smelly backpacker look wholeheartedly.

Rather exhausted we found a nice restaurant right nextdoor to the hotel for dinner - chicken sate and chicken fried rice all washed down with a room temp Bintang. Now, at the fashionable early time of 1930, we're going to call it a night and retire to watch a movie.

Well that was the original plan before my stomach turned to knots and I spent the rest of the night sat staring at the bathroom wall. Charming. And here I was thinking the sate was the safe option. Speaking of chickens there was one on the bus today in a hessian bag. It came on alive but suffered a mishap when Sam's pack fell on it and off it went to chicken heaven. Oops.
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