Labuan Bajo

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

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Feb 3, 2007

Today we take the local bus to Labuan Bajo which is at the western end of Flores. There's some things we've noticed about the local buses which might be helpful to share. Of course there is the obvious discomfort of seats made for smaller bodies, but it is not too bad if you squirm around every few minutes to keep the blood flowing. Another thing is that they have no set time for departure, just a general time span. They start driving around town at a certain time until they have enough passengers to make the trip profitable. That is the flexible part of the schedule. Learning from other peoples mistakes is a good idea. We watched a Dutch couple sitting on the porch of the Korina Hotel waiting for the bus to Ende to pick them up. Ryan said he doubted it would pick them up because they had not bought their tickets the night before as he had done for us. And their bus never did showed up. So apparently if you stand by the road or at the bus' staging locations you can pay when you get on. But if you want the bus to pick you up at your hotel you should buy your ticket the night before and make sure they write down on the ticket the name of the hotel. Our bus picked us up near the scheduled time of 7AM but we didn't leave town for another hour. The bus still had a few empty seats so apparently they will leave without being full around an hour later. There's always a chicken or two on the bus. They make those soothing soft chicken clucking sounds as we bounce along. The chickens here are rather scrawny. And, we've never saw anyone carrying a bunch of them as they would if they were marketing them. We imagine that the passengers are carrying them along so that when they get to their relatives house they will have their own meat with them for dinner. And, there's no need to keep the meat refrigerated.

Just at the edge of Labuan Bajo a friend of Ryan's picks up in a car to take us to a hotel. We had already told him we wanted to go to the Gardena Hotel which had air con and sounded good from the Lonely Planet description. But his friend says it is full. This is strange as this is the low season here. Instead they take us to the Hotel Wisata. [08 29.982S 119 52.868E]. A second rate place for local business men, with no air con, and it is hot here. Instead it has one of those irritating ceiling fans that constantly rotates its direction so you get relief for a few seconds then it moves on and returns maybe half a minute later. After we checked in we were driven to a nice restaurant above the city where we have a great view of the beautiful harbor and watch the sunset.
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