Road Trip

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
Trip End Jun 28, 2008

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Where I stayed
Sylvester Homestay

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hmmm.....everyone likes a road trip, right? Beautiful countryside seen whizzing by while you go far too quickly round hairpin corners half way up a mountain.....listening to the same three music tapes at full volume over and over while you inhale cigarette smoke from your chain-smoking driver.....listening to him honking the horn constantly (I counted 62 honks in 20 minutes).....are you getting the picture yet? Needless to say, our road trip hasn't turned out exactly as we'd hoped. Still, we stopped the first night in Bajawa and our driver picked up two random local guys and one of them drove for a couple of days, and he at least was a good driver, and didn't smoke too much or listen to the music too loudly. If there are any travelers reading this and thinking about taking a driver out of Labuanbajo - honestly I wouldn't. At 500,000 rupiah (roughly $55US) a day it really wasn't very good value. Our driver didn't know how to find anything, didn't like to let us stop for pictures, picked up random strangers, and was basically a real pain in the ass. Also, we were told that our driver would be able to speak some English - now, technically, I guess being able to say "Okay" and "Hello Mister" means that you can speak some English, but again its not exactly what we'd expected!

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
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goodwill on

Nearly 8 months and the urge to spend money is still there*** I for one am not surprised! I trained you well. The sun appeared yesterday and it is suppose to hang around for a few days- FINALLY. We washed the SUV and had it inspected- 2 months late! I made the gym and cut the grass. Busy day. We have a wedding happening at 16 Goodwill this weekend. It is also Natal Day in the city. There is a big International Women's Bicyle race starting this weekend. The first leg is the Confederation Bridge. Lots to see and lots to do. We can't wait to see some more pictures. Love , Momma & John

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