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Ruteng to Labuanbajo

Though I was woken up offensively early by blaring pop music right next to my room at 10 past 6 that morning, I somehow didnt manage to hit the street until 10. The Germans had related the presence of an unexpected net cafe and so that became my first priority, dishearteningly finding it Sunday closed, and local promises of a connection at the Telkom office proved unfounded. I frequented a restaurant for an omelette brekkie with my name on it (Fu Yung Hay) more out of interst to check out their promised noticeboard, though the array of photos and touristy posters served little purpose other than to frustrate my desire to reach distant traditional "beehive " villages, unusual "Spiderweb" rice field patterning and what had long been an intyention, the LIang Bua cave where Homo Floresiensis had recently been discovered. It was only 14Ks away but lay down a riough track rendered sometimes impassable in the current wet season and there was in any case reputedly nothing maore than a few marker stciks to signify the spot. More realistic given my time restriction was a foray out to a nearby "Compang", boasting ancestor altar burial platforms and traditional houses, though it allegedly had been well and trully corrupted a dedication to tourism. In the end a second determined trail back to the net cafe found it superbly to have just opened its door, though in the end I had to tellingly wait for an hour for a satellite connection to be gained. I killed the time by stocking up on cash at another blessed BNI Bank ATM in expectation that I was soon to spend a fortune, those and net cafes proving to be everywhere but where the guidebook promised. In view of my need to progress onto west coast port town Labuanbajo that day I checked out the central terminal to find it frequented only by Bemos and "Treks", cattle class passenger carrying trucks, and it was a real bonus to accidentally bump into the hotel owner once again who betrayed the existence of another unknown terminal out of town. The net cafe also allowed ,me to clarify photo discs I was carrying in order that I might know whcih memory cards could be clueared, but a aconnection loss meant that it took me alsmost 2 hours just to get the most basic of business done. I was taking a chance that the transport to Labuanbajo would dry up in the meantime but an Ojek took me out of town past a beautiful scene of rice terraces, giving in to the fantastically high domes of forested mountains. A lone bus was of a better quality than expected but sadly devoid of even a single passenger, and so it was past 4 O'clock by the time we had excruciatingly trailed around every road and rough track around town touting for business. Western Flores transpired to be even more stunning than the leg from Aimere, with dramatic abrupt rounded summits covered in pristine greenery tumbling down into gorges and rice carpeted valleys, spying as a bonus the hitherto unknown location of the "Spiderweb" field patterning ata spot known as Lingko. Of course the touir touts were never going to advertsie the fact. Forever, twistingm, climbing or descending, the purported 3 to 4 hour trip had somehow stretched to 6 by the time we reached Labuanbajo, and though the doorstep drop off was convenient for it was 10O'clock by the time I had secured a crashpoint in a dirty ramshackle pad in defernce to my intended overpriced touristy aloternative. The boy here thought nothing of squashinga giant cockroach with his bare foot and I museed that at least the tangle of cobwebs with an army of spiders would keep the mosquitos at bay. It wasa priority to immediately pursue a touirist restaurant in search of other folk with whom I might hook up with on an intended tour the next day, but all the white boy establishments had closed their kitchens and it was no time to be hunting arouind for prospective deals. In settling for a dodgy Padang restaurant the locals here were duiscernibly Islamic in the main and used to white faces, and the only "Hello mister" was laced with ulteriuor motive. Thier demeanour was one of slobbishness and ignorance, and a gaggle of grubby locals of all sexes and ages had somehow deemed a dark dirty garagefront as the place to be seen. A scuffle deteriorated into punches and they didnt even have alcohol to blame it on. More unprecedented however was a further ruction experienced when I was lying readiungaround midnight when the room shook and the whole building rattled. The presumed gust of wind was too long in lasting however and so I quickly hauled ona paitr of shorts to dart outside, seeing that my neighbours had done the dsame. It was another first for my time in Indonesia and one to be almost expected here, it was an earthquake. Camped right by a sea wall, I joked of a tsunami but in reality it could have been. No telling of whether it was a small localised tremor or if somewhere else far off was getting shaken to bits.

Posted by andyhay2 17:06 Archived in Indonesia

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