Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Moni

Beautiful road through mountains with rice fields, waterfalls, sea, black sand, amazing! Apparently it's on the most beautiful roads in whole of Indonesia! We arrived in Moni, a nice little village near the famous Kelimutu volcano. We went to sleep at 8:30, which wasn't too bad, cause we woke up at 4:30 just in case to see if the sky is clear, and yes it was! Lucky us!! Took a bike up the volcano, scary to go in night up a mountain. We arrived at a beautiful volcano with 3 lakes, too bad the 3rd one is on the other side. All 3 lakes are different colors. One is green, one is blue and the other one is black. They change without notice depending on the mineral composition of the water, and not long while ago, the black lake was red or even white. From one side, it's good to read LP to know where to go, on the other side when you get there, your expectations are high and you don't get much excitement. That's exactly what happened in Kelimutu :( I was very tired and fell asleep till the sun came up and lit the lakes (just shows how much excited I was!) LP is both a blessing and a curse.
Went to Jopu traditional village. It's nice to go where tourists don't go, but we didn't feel very comfortable, and nobody spoke any English. Kostya wants to buy ikat which is almost like a woven skirt that most of Flores wears. It's beautiful, woven with traditional designs of animals and flowers prints, it takes very long to make, but it's expensive about $50, which is not too much for natural paint, hand made thing that's done in 1 week minimum, but too much for a backpacker budget, and where would you wear it back home?
One guy found us. He invited us to come to his home, offered us coffee, tea and that's the first time when I tried betel. What a disgusting thing! You chew it, then add something else to it, and then some white powder and it becomes red, and you spit it out all the time like a camel. Apparently it makes teeth strong and healthy. It doesn't seem like that at all to look at red stained teeth of locals, I think they're just addicted. It's like sure a glass of red wine with dinner can be good for your health, but not when you drink bottle after a bottle.
Next day drove 2 hours back to Ende just as an excuse to drive on the beautiful road. We have to buy plane tickets out of Flores, and surprise surprise, foreign visa is not accepted as a method of payment. Thank god that we went to Ende which is a bigger town where we could find a travel agency and pay in cash!! Not only the engine was stopping randomly during the ride, but on the way back to Moni we got a flat tire. People tell us directions to a repair shop, others stop and give me a ride till whenever they can. Then 10 people were around helping us, driving somewhere to get the keys to try and repair the tire themselves. It was almost getting dark and finally we found a repair shop, fixed flat tire for $2, so expensive compared to 50 cents in Java valley :) The most amazing thing is that we were in the middle of nowhere, nobody speaks English, it's getting dark soon, and both of us weren't stressed out at all, not even a little bit :)
Woke up early because of the market that happened right outside our guest house. Beautiful market with colorful people, everyone wears their best cloths, which includes a home made ikat which tells of the status of a person.
Took a car to Maumere. Some driver found us and asked us if we're gonna go later, meanwhile we went to waterfalls and the market. When we got to the car, turned out that everyone was waiting for us for like 3 hours. We had no idea!! Obviously the driver wanted to make more money, so he made everybody wait. Maumere is such an ugly port city, not friendly people, the best restaurant is dirty beyond belief.
Woke up at 5, hopefully the flight will get out (fingers crossed). Security at the airport checked the bags with metal scanner. "What's that?" they asked me when it started beeping. "A laptop" I said, - oh ok... great security!
p.s. weather is Kuta is great! :) yes ... we're back here again! :S 5th time already!
I was supposed to go to Nepal after Indonesia, but grandma had a stroke in Ukraine and now is in coma, and there is nobody to look after her, so I'm flying to Ukraine for a month.
The Singapore airport is probably the largest, the most modern, the best airport I've ever seen. They have showers, free movies, butterfly gardens. Too bad I didn't have any time at all between my connection :( They almost didn't allow me to fly, because I carried a one way ticket. Why is it the airline's problem and not the country's problem? It's ok though, if they didn't let me fly in, I would've found an internet to book a flight out.
Turkish airways is awesome! Big, clean plane with hundreds of movies, tv shows, food menu, and I actually fell asleep, who knew that I only needed an inflatable pillow to fall asleep, and now that I write about it, I realise that I forgot it in a plane :(

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Moni

Friday, 1 November 2013

Ruteng & Bajawa

We went to Ruteng. The bus dropped us off right near the hotel. 2nd best hotel in town, it sucks! Expensive, and not good. Staff is fun, though very useless. They ask the same question 10 times, had to wait for breakfast for half an hour, they couldn't book a bus ticket for the whole day. Needless to say I got a bit harsh with them. "Are you angry with me miss Yana?", oh yes I am!
Took a bike to go to beautiful spider rice fields. It rains hard and often, and every time the bike stalls, I always end up ankle deep in some puddle. Every time I'm with Kostya we end up on some roads, if you can call them that. We're already off the tourist track, nope, it seems like Kostya wants to go to the edge of the earth. We stopped and went for a walk, so many kids, all running around us, nobody really knows English, like 30 kids and they all went for a walk with us. In the rice field we yell "go go go!!", they march on the little foot path, 30 kids and me, then traffic jam, "Go, go, go!!", the traffic seems to move, that's until I came across a huge mud bath. No way I'm going there! I stopped and turned back with all the kids jumping through the mud after me :)
bye bye mister Yana!!!
bye bye! :)
sweet kids
Locals are yelling hello to us, give us a hand to shake with a lot of honour, then dragged us to some traditional house where they made a concert for us with drums and some metal plates. Everyone yells, tourists, tourists.. .and all the village runs towards us. Then we played soccer with the boys all the way back to the bike.
In the evening went to a restaurant. Suddenly a huge storm has started, thank god we were inside. The whole palm tree went down near the restaurant and things were flying on the street. We kept ordering tea and more tea to sit through it. There is no electricity, the street is covered with broken branches, and I ended up knee deep in some puddle.
Another terrible bus ride, I was sick most of the way. But the destination was amazing. The interesting, cultural, traditional villages of Indonesia. These people still live the traditional life style, and only a few years ago got electricity. The role of the dead plays a big part in their daily lives, and you can see these examples everywhere. They bury their dead right next to their houses, decorating the graves with bathroom tiles. In some villages you just don't understand, is it a village or a cemetery? Their important ceremonies also happen near rock graves where their ancestors are lying. They sacrifice animals on an almost daily basis. The sacrifice brings relief or respect to what has happened, and also raises the status of the family. Because the more bulls you can sacrifice, the more money you have. And of course everyone can see how many bulls have been sacrificed, because they proudly display horns or jaws hanging right in front of the house. If you need to build a new house or even to replace a roof, you have to sacrifice a buffalo. For every 5 houses in the village, there should be a small female house, which looks like a doll house. It's very strange, as no women are allowed in there. Only men go there during some ceremonies, but usually just once a year. There are also very aggressive figures on the roof of the houses. They are meant to protect the house, but also carry with them a sexual energy which can assault a woman. Therefore all women should be inside the house when the figure is installed. I asked one of the people "why aren't you changing towards a modern way of life?", "No we can't" she replied, "we'll all get sick and die! Now when we get sick, we sacrifice a chicken" ... makes sense! We walked through a bamboo forest, to ancestral grounds through a corn field where the woman picked up corn which she grilled in the house for us. When we went back, a rain has started, and she gave us big leaves to cover from it :) We sat eating corn near a fire with her snotty kids and dogs.
We drove around absorbing the traditional life style and the beautiful volcano views. We stopped at hot springs where boiling hot water merges with cold water. Then I went to the market and bought fresh veggies for a salad. Finally! The locals always seem surprised ... "You're not going to cook it???"
Next day we went for a walk up a volcano. We couldn't find a shared taxi that goes there, but we finally found someone who spoke English, and the whole taxi dropped us off there. We found a "guide" who took us up a volcano for $2, one hour up. On the top there were 2 small lakes, one is burnt orange color, the other one is turquoise. I remember seeing pictures where both of the lakes were orange.
At 5:30am the next day, we caught an 8 hour bus to our final stop. Thank god for the motion sickness pills which made me sleep all through our ride :)

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/RutengBajawa