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Labuanbajo to Ende

I was up with the dawn that morning in a determination to devote a whole day to as much progress as possible, and it was an immediate hurdle to therefore realise LB's one main drag completely devoid of hitherto noted buses. It was a fluke then to hear a normally unintelligible passing Bemo boy shout "Terminal!" with the word printed on the van's bonnet for good measure, the guidebook p[urp[orted that LB didnt have one but clearly it did. Far along a soon rural encompassing road sat a brace of buses, and its ridiculously isolated siting revealed another insight into Indonesian philosophy. Perhaps it was that they simply didnt care to plan any better, but the cynic in me had me considering that perhaps it was a deliberate habitual policy to create transport hubs wholly inconvenient,m thereby creating an otherwise unnecessary industry of Bemo and Ojek boys in the name of employment creation. It certainly helped stir up the economy but it wasnt exactly customer friendly. The bus crews fought hard over me but I knew the score very well, stoically aiming for the fuller one and gaining a prompt departure as a result. It was one of the acceptances that we would periodically halt in order to convolutedly load with bags of rice or whatever else, even unblinkingly tie onto the roof rack gaggle sof liove chickens or pigs with their feed, and the road back to Ruteng was inconsequential in spite of now expected scenery. The fun and games started upon arrival in Ruteng once again however, with a Bemo crew of whom even the driver could have only been 14 at most compromised what should have been a straightforward transfer to the centre. Theior moneygrabbing antics saw usd tracing every distant corner of the town with the exception of its heart, negotiating excruciatingly slowly roads deteriorated into rock. After a couple of unsubtle hints as to "When are we going to the centre, tomorrow?", I finally lost my patience at a final distant drop point and hopped out onto a handily adjacent second Bemo. Beyong caring, I didnt have all day even if they did and so thankfully finally got my transfer from a point even more distant than from where I had started.

Priority number 1 was to retrace the Merlin tourist orientated restaurant which remarkably today boasted some real live tourists, a group of Dutch folk whose converstaion revealed they knew little about Nusa Tenggara and even less about reasonable prices. Then I made a point of taking advantage once again of Ruteng's rare as gold net connection, and I took a chance in getting a lot of business done in deference to pressing time. I had presumed it possible to reach Bajawa another 4 or 5 hours distant from Ruteng that day but a fortunate hook up with an Ojek boy requesting the terminal for Bajawa and Ende buses saw him making consultations before dropping me at a bus office not so far from the centre. It was revealed that there was somewhat excellently to be a through service all the way to Ende at 4, and though it was a shame to elect to pass by Bajawa once again, the progress had to take priority. With 2 hours now to kill I gave myself a sweaty slog around Ruteng's backstreets in search of chance discoveries, and amazingly was immediately rewarded with a very strange materialisation indeed, the stripped out carcass of an aircraft bizarrely now plonked on a patch of waste ground miles from any airfield. The diminutive CASA C-212 Aviocar which still bore Merpati airline markings was a rare bird to find anywhere, and now devoid of all fittings including its 12 seats had somehow found itself a second life as a hanging point for washing lines adjacent to 2 rustic shacks. And it wasnt lost on me that if I hadnt had the fortune to discover the nearby bus office I would never have known of its presence. A subsequent short but very wide bridge had overstated entry portals and might have hailed from the Dutch era, leading me to a ridiculously gargantuan cathedral with overwrought idolatory strewn around its grounds. A solitary tomb revealed its longtime minister to have up until recently been a Dutchman. A charismatic nearby monumernt topped with a kangaroo and komodo dragon revealed that Australian aid had as recently as 1994-1999 availed the town of a reliable fresh water supply, thereupon swimming through a sea of frequent "Hello misters" until the centre revealed an unusual mosque with whitewashed crenellated walls, perhaps in deference to the prison compound next door. More time on the net then eked out

Posted by andyhay2 18:38 Archived in Indonesia

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