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The Adventures of Whales 4 1/2 months with a newly wed couple in Southeast Asia Jan 9th 07 to May 17th 07

Maybe It Was All Worth It

INDONESIA | Wednesday, 14 March 2007 | Views [1303]

   After spending more than ½ a day on the rusty-bottomed ferry, we arrived in beautiful Labuanbajo, Flores at 2:00am. We woke up the hotel attendant to book rooms and only to sleep in them for 4 hours, because we had to catch the next charter boat at 6 am for Rinca, to see the Komodos. We left, finally, and after about 1 hour of sailing we turned back again because the waves and storm were too much for our second little charter boat. An agreement was made with our captains to try again at 5:00 sharp the next morning.

  Once we docked we set out for lunch and the weather broke almost immediately and it was blue skies and sunshine for the rest of the day. Unbelievable! By now it was too late for Rinca, so we paid a few locals to motorbike us to a beach. After 30minutes of clinging to the back of an Indonesian man as the bike bounced up and down a rock filled dirt road, we arrived. There was a sunken boat right on the coast and the “beach was so filthy we had to take a picture. Our group decided to find somewhere better and on the way we climbed up a cone shaped hill to view the panorama.

  The next morning we left the hotel at 4:30am to try again for Rinca. We waited for the boat owners until 5:45 when Dave walked to the office and found them both asleep.

  The only places in the world where these Komodos live is on Rinca, Komodo, and small parts of Flores. So this was a once in a lifetime experience. When we landed we were all so excited to see the dragons we walked right past the 6 foot monster that was waiting for us at the park entrance. Most of the Komodos hung out around the offices, probably because they get food. This is where we saw most of them, aside from 3 while we were trekking. We also saw huge buffalo, monkeys, and a viper, as well as the evidence of deer and wild horses. We were all very glad to have reached the island but their were no real “wild animals” and it was a little too tourist friendly.

  On the trip back, our captains stopped so we could swim and explore around a tiny island. The designs on some of the shells we found looked fabricated they were so perfect.

    That night we said our goodbyes to the group and got on the bema that left at 6 am the next morning. On this trip we met our new traveling companions, an older Dutch couple named Eric and Harma. The trip took 10 hour and we get stuck in Bajawa, because there was no direct drive to Ende. Dave caught up with us there and we had dinner before he continued his motorbike ride to Ende. The next morning we snaked back down the mountain for 5 hours until we arrived in Ende. Everyone here smokes at the same time, all the time, and the women who don’t smoke chew betel nuts. A bright red narcotic nut that turns anything it touches candy apple red. There were so many of these women in a market we crept through. They looked like Asian clowns with those crimson lips, a chicken in one hand, a bag of stinky fruit in the other, a blanket wrapped around their waists and a basket balanced on their heads.

  Our first priority in Ende was to book airplane tickets out of there. The further you get from the mainland, the more aboriginal things get and the thicker the mosquitoes. Somewhere along the way, one of these little bloodsuckers bit my foot so I scratched the top of it off. I had an anklet on which irritated it so I removed it in Labuanbajo. By the time we arrived in Ende, my ankle had swollen to 3 times its size and felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to it. I was so overwhelmed with pain I thought I was going to lose my foot. So we went to a doctor who gave me some antibiotics, pain reliever and anti-inflammation salve. It was just an infection that got out of hand and I am doing much better now. Lesson #1: always take plenty of water with malaria pills. Lessons #2 don’t charter a boat with people who lie. Lesson #3: Don’t itch mosquito bites.

 

 

  By far one of the most exotic things we have seen probably ever, was Mount Kelimutu, a dormant volcano that created 3 unspeakably huge crater lakes each filled with an abnormal water colour due to miner and oxygen content. We rented a motorbike and left at 3am to see the mountain at sunrise. The first lake looked like liquid jade, the second a bowl of chocolate pudding, and the  third black with red around the rim. After we took pictures and did some videotaping we rode the bike to Moni, where we had lunch, then headed back to Ende. Being purely exhausted we crashed until dinnertime, where we went out with the Dutch couple to a Chinese restaurant.

Waking up early for the 11th morning in a row, we boarded our 7:30 flight back to Kuta, Bali. The turbulence proned, prehistoric metal hunk, some might call a plane took off . I doubt it was even checked before it flew that morning. We walked right onto the runway along with some dogs and children who used the road as part of their passage to school. The flight took  1-½ hours to cover 500 miles, which previously took 6 straight days.

  Upon arriving in Bali, we slept most of the day and got my hair cut. The nest morning we rented a motorbike with a surf board holder so Elijah could go to Dreamland. IT was very awkward and we knocked over another guys bike but he was very nice about it. We promptly returned the bike because it was just too much of a risk. Instead we took a bemo to Denpasar and walked through the unimpressive 4-story market. Hoping to buy some clothes, instead finding cheap floral island printed T-shirts and Muslim sarongs.

  The day ended with dinner and a walk on the beach. Today has been raining so we will try to surf tomorrow. Our flight to Bangkok is on the 16th and we don’t have much of an itinerary from there besides to see Cambodia, Laos, and northern Thailand. We cut Vietnam from the trip because of the $100 visa fee and the lack of time.

 

 

 

  Since we arrived in Indonesia there have been-

3 planes crashed

2 ferries sank

1 land slide ( which we drove through)

1 flood

1 earthquake

and

1 volcanic eruption

 

..and the weirdest part is, the people have been the worst part. We are commonly charged 3 times what the locals pay for transportation, hotels, food… even when the price has already been agreed upon. We have been lied to and cheated on a daily basis from bus rides, to restaurant owners, and merchants.

  The filth of the towns and some of the beaches has at times been overwhelming. The local food gets old quick and that’s all there is.

  The untouched natural landscape has been mind blowing. Some of the islands we have seen look like no man has ever set foot upon their shores. We actually saw living dinosaurs that move as if they are puppets in an old Godzilla film. We stood on top of a volcano, whereby simply turning our heads we could see 3 wildly coloured lakes with the ocean as a backdrop. Surfing and riding horses through the sea have also added greatly to the rich adventure of our experiences in Indonesia.

  Indonesia it’s not a place we will recommend traveling overland or really by air because that was the scariest plane I’ve ever been on. Maybe pictures are the best way to visit. It has definitely been an adventure.

Tags: Mountains

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