The island of flores

Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On arrival in Larutoka we were greeted by the ever present bemo drivers wanting to Wisk us away across the island whose name means flowers in english. This island is extremely volcanic with great chains of mountains running along the length of it. Flores is amazingly almost entirely catholic again thanks to the Portuguese and falls within Eastern Nusa tengarra province of Indonesia. The climate is very dry and that has an impact on the types of food you can get here (less rice) but I am sure we will get by. Mike only eats like a sparrow so I have baggsied half his share. We sorted out our bus ride and decided to head straight to a small village called moni a good few hours drive on the Flores highway. We would firstly head into the largest town on the island called mamuaure and then try and make the last few hours to Moni where we hope to climb up MT kelimutu and see the famous lakes.
 We set off in usual round in circles one way and back the other way kind of fashion before blazing a trail at speed over mid sized mountains and through really petit villages. Now I have been to Indonesia a few times but you could tell with 30 or 40 minutes outside of Laruntoka that this island was really special more than stunning the name Flores is apt because you can smell the blooms and scent even on the bus. Indonesia always manages to stun me and on the first day here I knew I was going to be gutted to leave without a proper chance to do this island any justice if only I had that 60 day visa hey.

The twists and turns in the road went on for hour after hour the bus was small and a little cramped but not that bad we stopped had dinner along the way even had a singsong to the locals amusement. On arrival in mamurere we decided that we did have time to make it to moni so we hoped on another bus for much of the same 4 hours later we arrived in the tiny village of Moni at the foot of MT Kelimutu National park.
The Village is pretty high up and we could certainly feel the chill in the evening air we would certainly need a bit more padding although some of us already have a little more than others! The village looked a little run down and was very quite no tourists no anyone really. That was until we spotted this woman shouting and waving her arms around. This was MAMA and she had a bungalow and we were going to love it and her family and her cooking well thats what she told us.

It was supposed to be the best that side of the mountain and to be honest it looked like it was the only choice this side of the mountain. She showed us her rooms that looked very worn indeed but by now we were knackered after the full day on the bus and with the thought of going 13 km up hill the next day we opt for MAMAs cheap and dusty bungalows.
Now this family certainly had novelty value mama was a sought lady with a big smile and a rather cheeky laugh, Papa was certainly related in some way to colonel Gadaffi he was the spit of his North African cousin. In more than looks! over dinner he regaled his rather violent stories about the religious strife the Christians have to put up with on Flores from the Muslims and how he like to go out once in a while and dust a few up.

Dinner was abundant and very tasty I would say lots of starch/sweet potatoes fritters and Veg no meat today though due to our sudden arrival chicken would be on tomorrow and it was not long before the colonel had wrung a scrawny neck and was being prepped for tomorrows tea.

Going back to the family 2 members missing the youngest daughter who was a blast only about 4 or 5 and soon became my first patient of the trip after getting a nasty bite from the local mutt.
After the little one was mended it was time to meet the eldest son. He was one of the shadiest fellas I have met and he was a real pain in the arse a proper hassle. If anybody rolls up at Mamas place keep an eye out for this fella and although we did not get ripped off by him something just was not right. Always knocking on the door pestering about trips after we had politely told him we had other plans. In the end he got that bad I had to tell him to sod off and he refused to talk to me from this point on trying to seduce Mike and Stefan with his business plans. 
We had arranged our guides for kelimutu and had to be up for 4.30 am to go up and get there for sunrise so the only thing for it after a long hard day on the road was find the local have a couple of tasty bintang and then off to bed. That's pretty much how it went for the first day in Flores I am seriously impressed with this island from day one it is beautiful and dramatic that's all I can say.
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