First class passage

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Jul 15, 2008

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

  Jan. 25, 2007 Thrusday

Morning comes and there are more announcements over the intercom. We take turns going top side to see where we are. We don't want to leave our baggage unattended with our bunk mates. We are passing islands and, using our Indonesian phrase book, Arvid asks people if we are near Flores yet. No, this is not Flores. And the port we are approaching is not Maumere either. We find out that we will not be there until late this night. We have to spend another day in hell and it's bound to get hotter and dirtier. We are not happy campers. Using our little phrasebook Arvid writes out a request to move to 1st class. When the staff pass through checking tickets in their fresh clean white uniforms, he shows it to the most important looking one. He nods and motions for Arvid to follow him top side. Our original tickets had cost Rp 232,000, the upgrade for the rest of the trip will cost an extra Rp 414,000. We pay it gladly. We are at the edge of our sanity.

Our first class cabin has a bathroom with a hand spray shower, a set down toilet with a seat that keeps falling off, two bunks and only 100's of roaches instead of thousands. It's a big relief having a private room to safely store our baggage. So now we can explore the ship without worry. We find an open air café on the back deck where we can have a snack and a beer and relax watching the coast and islands pass by. At lunch time a crew member finds us and takes us to the nice clean dining room. It is nearly empty, only another couple in Muslim garb there. So much for the 1st class being full. Lunch and dinner were excellent with our food served family style so we could eat as much as we wanted. Now we've discovered the secret to getting a first class cabin on Pelni. The ticket office apparently does not sell the first class tickets; you have to ask when you get on the boat. At least this was our experience on the AWU. Something the Lonely Planet doesn't tell you.

In the end our passage to Flores, which we thought was going to be direct, takes a milk route from Kupang on the island of Timor to Kalabahi on the island of Alor, then to Larantuka on the island of Lomblen, before reaching Maumere on the island of Flores. We may have even made a stop at Lembata on Lomblen but we're not sure. You'd be surprised how little the natives knew about where we were and where we were going.
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