Published: November 9th 2011October 20th 2011
20th to 21st October Ende
The town of Ende is in a beautiful location, surrounded by beaches and jungle covered mountains. The town itself is not particularly attractive, they seem to be doing a lot of work there, but as more tourists visit it will improve. We did found the locals very friendly.
After being met at the airport and taken to our hotel, we decided on a walk through town to the beach. We noticed that the local public transport system consisted of adolescent boys driving pimped out mini vans, with the doof doof sounds systems blaring out what sounded like the Bahasi version of gangster rap music.
There seemed to be an interesting mixture of Christian and Muslim followers in the town. Most of the buildings and houses appeared to be rather boring, concrete block affairs and the town planners could do with some basic lessons in building a safe pavement for pedestrians. If you did not watch your step you could fall into a huge drain-hole at any moment (same goes in Bali also).
A young guy on a motorbike showed us a shortcut to the beach. It was a popular spot. Despite
the litter on the foreshore (plastic bags, old rusty cans, etc.) there was plenty of activity on the sand, games of football, volley ball, kids swimming, men fixing fishing nets and groups of people talking.
There were also lots of friendly people trying out their English skills with the usual “How are you, I am fine. What is your name? My name is xxxx. Where are you from?” Some of the women could do with staying off the beetle nut as their red stained lips and teeth are a bit off putting, but they were very happy and friendly. Great seafood
Have you noticed we write a lot about food? We all have to eat, so you may as well enjoy it!
We had a great seafood dinner, with our local contacts Lentje, Firmus and Ritchie. I could safely say we ate the nicest grilled fish we have had in our lives at this place. Over dinner we found out about life in Ende, the work of the Wua Mesu Ndona project and Child Fund. Firmus was a wealth of information; he was a teacher, Member of Parliament and all round interesting guy. Ritchie’s brother Frankie
also joined us, who we then engaged as our driver to take us from Ende to Maumere, via Kelimutu. Driving from Ende to Maumere
We departed early on 22nd October and drove from Ende, to Maumere via Moni and Mount Kelimutu. The drive itself was interesting, winding our way into the mountains. The villages and surrounding scenery was varied and the farming areas very lush and green. Frankie told us that at times it could be very dry, but this season was looking like it would be lush with good rains expected. Judging by the repairs to the roads I would say the weather went from one extreme to another. It was obvious that the roads suffered a lot of flood and mud slide damage at times.
Frankie was a very safe driver and spoke just enough English to tell us a few interesting facts. The trip to Kelimutu and the Three Coloured lakes took spot on two hours from Ende. I think the guide books claim it is longer than that. The road seems to have been improved a lot recently. Up Hill Marathon
There just happened to be an up hill marathon race
in progress when we got back to the car park after seeing the lakes. We met a lot of athletes and officials from the sports ministry in Jakarta. We had to stay in the car park area while the race was completed as no cars could descend the narrow road at the same time as the main group of runners.
Judging by the sweating, panting competitors the uphill run was very tough going in the 35 degree heat and 95% humidity. Good luck to them – I would have opted to climb the hill on the back of a truck with some of the less avid participants if I had entered the race.
We had lunch in Moni; this place has some ok looking guesthouses for tourists who want to stay the night. That had been our initial plan, but Frankie told us it would be just as simple to drive on to Maumere and stay at the place that Firmus had recommended to us. Sea World Club
Firmus had organised accommodation for us at Sea World Club in Maumere. This turned out to be a wonderful place to stay. Here is the link to their
website ... Sea World Club
The beach resort was originally owned by some Italians, who had trouble staying in the black running the place. A German priest, Father Heinrich Bollen, saw an opportunity to improve the place and entered into partnership with the Italians. Eventually, Father Bollen bought out the Italians interest in the resort and it is now owned by a charitable foundation. The profits from the business go toward funding a number of projects in the area, including a children’s home, training and education programs and many other worth while things.
Father Bollen took us to church on Sunday morning and the singing of the children was lovely. After that we visited some of the projects that are funded by the resort project. We found our visit here and the activities of Father Bollen very inspirational. All of the staff at the resort are very friendly and we really enjoyed our stay.
At the children’s home we visited, one of the girls there sang us some lovely songs, including a great version of “I have a dream” by Abba – this got us dabbing our eyes drying the tears as she sang to
us. The singer, Helen, is blind and has some learning difficulties, but she sure made up for that with her lovely voice and enthusiasm for singing.
We also met Antonious, who was badly affected by polio at age five. He had never been to school, but has taught himself to speak, read and write English fluently and is now well on the way to being fluent in German also. Yet another very inspirational person.
Sundowners on Father Bollen’s balcony were very pleasant. We learnt more about the work of the local foundations while sipping on some cocktails. We also learnt some of the interesting history of the area and the involvement of the Divine Word Missionaries in the area.
If you find yourself in Maumere, do yourself a big favour and spend a few nights at Sea World Resort. The swimming is relaxing, the snorkelling good and we are told the diving around the area is some of the best in the world.
It was also nice that local people come wandering past the resort on the beach front, rather than being fenced out and feeling like we visitors are quarantined in some way. Watching the
local kids laughing and playing with each other in the water, or fisherman just resting in the shade adds to the atmosphere of the place immensely.
There are more photos below