Mountain Villages of Flores


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February 26th 2011
Published: April 28th 2011
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Bajawa to Moni


Gunung InerieGunung InerieGunung Inerie

Near Bajawa
After leaving Ruteng we made a brief stop at Danau Ramanese an attractive aquamarine crater lake surrounded by forrest and the home of Long Tail Macaques before travelling another three hours through some stunning mountain scenery before the rain and fog closed in and visability dropped to only metres, as we dodged trees and vehicles careening out of the fog. It was a slow but interesting end to the days travel.

Bajawa is an attractive little mountain town but the weather is so bad we couldnt really get out and explore it, we checked into our hotel and then the driver took us to a favoured restaurant for a good lunch of calamari for me and chicken sate for Ruth, not bad at all for seven dollars all up. The rain petered out around 4pm and we took the opportunity to get out of town and visit the Managaruda Mata Air Panas a hot spring that must have been quite grand in colonial times but is now surrounded by decayed buildings and an air of desolation, there were some bathers here but we chose not to join them. An old man was trying to sell a couple of machettes in traditional scabbards at the exit, I should have bought one, I aassumed I would find them somewhere else cheaper which I didnt.

Dinner was eaten in the dark as the power keeps failing here, probably due to the storm which is raging madly outside, we will have an early night to night.

Banana pancakes for breakfast this morning and 7.30am start, the rain has stopped and we were greeted with spectacular views of the dormant Gunung Inerie. We stopped at a lookout briefly to take some great shots of the volcanoe and the valley which runs into the distant ocean, before entering the traditional Ngada village of Bena. This village is much bigger and better than what we saw near Ruteng and is blessed with some wonderful stone monuments and two rows of traditional thatched houses. Most of the houses have male of female figurines at their apex and many are decorated with buffalo bones and have pictures carved into the walls. I think we arrived a bit early as the people were just beginning to stir and produce their wares, Ruth did purchase a nice Ikat scarfe though for a few dollars.

We probably spent about half an hour at Bena before beginning the drive too Ende, being sunday the traffic seemed worse and we came very close to being cleaned up near Boawae, we then passed the impressive Gunung Ebulobo a steaming and scarred mountain that is quite a sight. It was also interesting to see the crowds of villages trudging to and from church services through out the morning, many appearing to have travelled long distances in their best clothes.

Next stop was at Blue Stone Beach, quite pretty scenery here and naturally some blue stones, I brought one shaped like a grinder for a pestel home. The stones are volcanic in origin and are bagged up and sold to the Japanese who use them in their gardens. A brief stop in Ende for another great meal, still Indonesian food three meals a day is getting a bit boring, before entering the mountains again for the final leg to Moni. More wonderful scenery including terraced mountains and river valleys before arriving at our hotel in Moni at 3pm.

This is our drivers home town and his parents and daughters live here so he was soon off to visit family, we took the opportunity to meander down the main road (only road) in the tiny village stopping in one of the few cafes for a drink. The woman at the cafe brought us her sick baby and asked us if we could make her better, sometimes I wish I had become a doctor, unfortunately we were helpless to assist her. On the way back to our room on the hill we met Edele's daughters before arranging to meet him at one of the cafes for dinner later in the evening.

We thought our hotel was empty but a group of European backpackers turned up all babbling in their stilted English and going on about the Arak Party they would have that night, so much for sleep. About 6.30pm we headed to the Bintang Cafe where we ate a good meal and drank lots of beer while chatting to some other travellers. When we arrived back at our room the party was well underway and I was far from happy, as we have to be up at 4am, fortunately the local lads with them shepperded them away somewhere else so the noise wouldnt disturb us.


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Near Bajawa
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