Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
81Trip End Jun 28, 2008
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Okay, so the ranting is over. We did get to see Kelimutu which we all wanted to see. Its a dormant volacano that has three coloured crater lakes at the summit. The colours of the lakes change without warning, sometimes as often as once a year. At the moment, the colours are turquoise, chocolate brown and black. The local beliefs are that young people's spirits inhabit the blue lake, older people's spirits inhabit the brown lake and evil people's spirits inhabit the black. The lakes didn't smell like sulphur (typical at a volcano) but we did notice that our eyes, nose and throats burned quite a bit the closer we got to the lakes. The sunrise there was spectacular - probably one of the nicest I've ever seen! We were completely above the clouds and it felt like we were on top of the world. Was even worth getting out of bed before 4am!
We also went to a traditional village called Bena, at the base of Mt. Inerie, another dormant volcano. The local headman spoke Dutch, so our two Dutch companions were able to translate for us as he gave us a tour of the village. Although the villagers are all Catholic (as is most of Flores) they still practice older traditional beliefs. In the centre of the village, there are raised areas, divided one for each family. These are where the family members are buried, right back to their ancestors who settled the village roughly 1200 years ago. There are also "totems" to the female and male ancestors. There were even small totem figures on the roofs of some houses, which seemed to indicate whether the house belonged to a male or female. I think the village probably makes most of their money from tourism now, but the women also do some wonderful weaving, and they grow cocoa, vanilla and ummm.....some other stuff. (Can't remember now!) Outside the houses, we saw the bones of buffalo heads on display, and we were told that they are kept as a sign of the wealth of the family. (Each year buffalo are sacrificed at New Year).
Even in the remotest of places, I can still manage to do a bit of shopping - bought myself a scarf here in Bena. (See photo!)
Now, back to Labuanbajo - hopefully we will arrive in one piece!
K & M