Published: February 16th 2007February 7th 2007
So Andy, Jur and myself awoke too early from our beds in Bajawa to wait for our bus to Moni. When the bus pulled up in front of our hotel we saw something that we didn't expect. What could it be? Pigs? Chickens? No, saw that before on the bus. Nope it was two white girls. They looked just as shocked to see us boarding the bus. We soon talked to each other. It turns out that they (Kat and Rachael) were from Australia and were studying Indonesian in Malang, Java. They were on a short vacation. We decided to team up from there. We could offer them protection from boys (they had boyfriends back home and were sick of being whistled at) and they, being able to speak fluent Indonesian, could protect us from being ripped off and help with bargaining. So an alliance was born.
The trip to Moni was typical of our other Flores destinations. It was filled with much too curvy roads and being smashed against the bus walls on every turn, but we arrived. Moni was nothing more than a small 400 meter strip of hotels at the base on the famed Keli Mutu park
(the reason we were there). We quickly found a basic room and the girls were able to talk off an extra third of the price.
After getting settled in we decided to look for the waterfalls and hot springs that were rumored to be a short walk from our rooms. The girls were able to ask for directions and we started our "short" trek to them. Along the way we passed a group of kids and asked again if we were on the right paths to the falls. They said yes and before we knew it, we had an escort. We arrived to the falls in no time, but then asked where was the hot springs? They pointed up to a path leading uphill. Still having time before the sun would set we continued on, but without our new found guides. Then the feeling that we were lost started to kick in. We were in the path we were on forked several times and we were in the middle of nowhere. We passed a home and the girls asked for more directions. We then realized that no one really knew where the hot springs were. That's the problem when
asking for directions in Indonesia. No one wants to show bad face and say no or that they do not know. So always remember to ask at least 3 people for directions in this land. If at least 2 out of 3 give you the same directions, then you're probably on the right path. We gave up on the springs and made our way back to the waterfall. There was a small pool to swim there. We ended up sharing it with a group of local high school girls. It was funny because when we took off our shirts they all cheered. Definitely made us blush a little. Since we had our translators with us we went over to talk. I ended up being nicknamed dark sweet, Jur was white sweet, and Andy was white, white sweet. Funny yeah? After that we went back to the hotel, washed up, had dinner and rested up for the visit to Keli Mutu that would take place tomorrow at sunrise.
We somehow managed to get up at 4:30 am the next day to board the SUV to get to the park. We paid our entry fees and started to short walk to
the Keli Mutu crater lakes. It was absolutely amazing. The scale of the three lakes was impressive. One lake was turquoise, the other grayish-black and the third was pitch black. We were told that the colors of the lakes change over the years and that the exact reason for their change is still unknown. When the sun came up it made for an amazing site. The morning fog rolled in shortly after and gave a smoke effect to the lakes. They are definitely a site to see when in Flores.
After having our breaths taken away we returned to the hotel and waited for our bus to Maumere. The ride was not too short or long and we made it with no problems. We checked into Gardena hotel and were able to get some rest. This town was a little larger and had an airport with regular flights back to Denpasar. After dealing with when we would fly back we went back to our rooms. Thinking our night was over and getting ready to relax, we heard a knock on our doors. It was a our hotel staff. They were interrupting our peace to give us some good news.
It was their cousin's birthday and there was going to be a huge party in about an hour and we were invited. Of course we said yes and got ourselves ready to go out. Their friend picked us up and took us to the party. It was in another hotel they owned. There was a large party hall with a band. It was a great way to end our Flores visit. We danced to some local and cover songs, ate some delicious food, and drank a little too much gin and arak. We thanks our hosts late that night and were off to bed.
The next morning we said our good-byes to our new found auzzie friends and caught our flight back to Bali. They were heading to West Timor, but I'm sure ours paths will cross again.
Flores was a very memorable place to visit. It was extremely unique and I hope that it can keep hidden from commercialization and continue to keep it's innocence.
There are more photos below