Kelimutu and Ludo with the locals

Moni Travel Blog

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Sunrise at Kelimutu (the moon is just visible)

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Markus (Finland), Hannes (Sweden)

Another early 6am start awaited the 4 of us, as we slowly but surely made our way across Flores. The usual problem of any journey within Indonesia raised its ugly head when our Bemo from Bajawa reached the town of Ende, as the driver and ticket man tried to hide the price that the locals were paying them and demanded an extra 20,000Rp from each of us. Wise to this and also sick to death of it, we stood our ground, refusing to pay so much more. In response, they refused to take our bags off the roof rack and even got a police officer to come over and tell us that we had to pay the money.

Sunrise at Kelimutu over 'turquoise' and 'coca cola' craters
There was a short stand off, until the driver eventually told us that they would settle for an extra 10,000Rp each. Although they were still cheating us, this compromise infuriated the 'ticket collector' who wanted to scam us for the 20k! We figured that as the driver had compromised somewhat and as we didn't want to lose any more time, we would pay the extra and be on our way. When the bags evntually did get removed, Markus' surfboard had been placed at the bottom of a huge pile of other things, even though he had stressed god knows how many times to leave it on the top of everything. More infuriating was that they took it as a joke and didn't seem to give a toss if it was broken or not. Thankfully there was no bad damage to it, but sadly it once more highlighted the complete lack of respect for people and property that some Indonesians have.
Sunrise at Kelimutu

After transfering to our second Bemo that would take us to Moni, we were a bit depressed when we not only drove around the town for the customary hour, but then stopped in town for lunch for another hour, before we eventually got under way! After several hours passing along scenic winding roads, we eventually made it to Moni around 4pm. We chose the spartan rooms on offer at Amina Moes Guesthouse and it proved a real steal. For $3 she provided a double room and banana pancake breakfast, with tea and coffee available all day! It was therefore decided that we would have Dinner with her too and she cooked up a wonderfully large buffet for $1.60 each. It was clear that she didn't get many visitors, indeed i saw few people in Flores in the 2 weeks i was there, which was a real shame as she was a fabulous lady, who is a real credit to the island.

Hannes, Markus, Julia and I at Kelimutu 'turquiose' and 'coca cola' craters

That evening the electricity was switched off in the village around 7pm, so we huddled around with candles and cups of tea and planned our trip for the following day, with Amina's help. As it was going to be an early start in the morning, we retired to our modest bedroom with a candle about 9pm. With no glass in the bedroom windows and a graveyard literally under our window frame, i can only describe it as rustic, but somehow it had a charm all of its own!

There was a knock on our door at 3.40am the following day and 10 minutes later we were in the back of a bemo on our way up to Kelimutu National Park. When the Bemo had snaked its way up the mountain as far as it could, it was another 20 minutes by foot to the top of the craters to watch the sunrise.

Fog in the 'Black' crater
There were maybe a couple of dozen other brave souls who had made it up there in the dark and cold and were huddled together at a central monument in between the 3 craters. It was strange to see the moon still in the sky, as the sun eventually began to appear on the horizon and within minutes, the colours of the liquid inside the craters took on different shades. At first, only 2 craters were fully visible, that of the turquoise and coca cola coloured ones that were next to each other. Nearly an hour after sunrise, the fog began to burn off the 3rd crater to reveal a black liquid with a wonderfully enchanting reflection, which almost made it look like the fog was still there! Whats even more fascinating about these 3 craters is that their colours change most years, so maybe if i go back in 5 years i would be greeted by a blue, green and orange crater! I took a walk between the turquoise and coca cola coloured lakes, before it was time to leave this magical place and head back to Moni.
The 'black' crater at Kelimutu

Amina was kindly waiting to serve us breakfast when we returned and once this had been consumed, she organised a trip for us to visit Wolowaru, a local village. With it been a Sunday, many of the villagers had been attending Church, but even though the village was Cathloic, it also held on to traditional beliefs. As if any proof was needed, when we walked into the village, we were greeted by the site of a buffalo head (sacrificed the previous day) stuck on top of the central house! All the houses were extremely basic, with straw roofs and wooden frameworks.

Not too sure what we were doing once we arrived, we took some photos and felt a little awkward, until a young guy came up to us and escorted us to his house. He invited us to sit on his 'porch' and his sister joined us and brought out some fresh coffee and snacks.

Traditional houses at Wolowaru village
They say that the more important or liked that you are, the more sweetener you get in your drinks. I believe that we were popular enough to run up a 6 figure dental bill after one cup alone!

Chewing on the snacks and smiling to each other, i eventually decided that the only way to really break the ice was to get Ludo out and see if we could have a game! Within minutes our host had picked up the jist of it and not only that but he started thrashing us!! Moments later, there was a huge crowd as all the village gathered around to see what was going on and cheer on the home favourite. 30 minutes of laughs were ended with Hannes just pipping our host to first place, but it had been a really fun game.

Sadly we knew that we had to make a move to catch a bemo, but before we left i had the chance to try some betel nut, which i had seen many of the old local toothless women chewing.

Introducing ludo to the locals
For anyone unaware of what this stuff is, i can inform you that its a small nut, that you place in your mouth and chew, adding some powder to increase the salivation. What i wasn't told was that the red liquid that is produced, you are supposed to spit out and sat there happily for several minutes swallowing away, obviously not wanting to spit on the hosts floor! In this period, we had been joined by an American called Adam, who was doing a research study on the community and he informed me that i really shouldn't be swallowing this stuff! Feeling extremely sick at this point, i tried to spit out as much as i could and must have been quite a sight, the way that everyone followed my every move and spit! With tears in my eyes and a bright red mouth i thanked our gracious hosts through Adam, but informed them i would have to spit the nuts away, which led to widespread laughter (and presumably mockery).
Markus, Julia and I with the locals at Wolowaru village
It had been a fantastic hour or so and i felt sad to leave as they kept insisting that we stay with them for Dinner. After consulting Adam, he said it was ok that we could leave some money for the village as a token of our appreciation for their fantastic hospitality, which they seemed surprised, but pleased by.

Back in Moni, we had lunch with Amina and sat outside with an elderly male relative of hers. Hannes showed him photos on some of his ID's, which he found funny and it was a cool way to end a great stay, smiling and enjoying the company of someone 50+ years older than us, who we shared no real verbal communications with. The whole experience was one of friendship through gestures and one that i wont forget in a hurry! Amina flagged down a Bemo for us and helped us pay the money in advance to stop us from been scammed again later, a nice gesture to end our time in Moni.

...the after effects of betel nut
My time here had restored my belief and passion that extending our visas for another month in Indonesia was definitely the way forward.

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Sunrise at Kelimutu (the moon is j…
Sunrise at Kelimutu (the moon is …
Sunrise at Kelimutu over turquois…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over 'turquoi…
Sunrise at Kelimutu
Sunrise at Kelimutu
Hannes, Markus, Julia and I at Kel…
Hannes, Markus, Julia and I at Ke…
Fog in the Black crater
Fog in the 'Black' crater
The black crater at Kelimutu
The 'black' crater at Kelimutu
Traditional houses at Wolowaru vil…
Traditional houses at Wolowaru vi…
Introducing ludo to the locals
Introducing ludo to the locals
Markus, Julia and I with the local…
Markus, Julia and I with the loca…
...the after effects of betel nut
...the after effects of betel nut
Markus at sunrise on Kelimutu
Markus at sunrise on Kelimutu
Sunrise at Kelimutu over turquois…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over 'turquoi…
Fog rising out of the Black crat…
Fog rising out of the 'Black' cra…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over turquois…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over 'turquoi…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over turquois…
Sunrise at Kelimutu over 'turquoi…
Sunrise at Kelimutu
Sunrise at Kelimutu
Fog lifting from the black crate…
Fog lifting from the 'black' crat…
Kelimutu turquiose and coca col…
Kelimutu 'turquiose' and 'coca co…
Coca Cola and Turquoise crater…
'Coca Cola' and 'Turquoise' crate…
Markus dancing in Julias trousers
Markus dancing in Julia's trousers
Traditional house with buffalo hea…
Traditional house with buffalo he…
Enjoying some coffee and snacks in…
Enjoying some coffee and snacks i…
Julia with the locals at Wolowaru …
Julia with the locals at Wolowaru…
Preparing of some betel nut
Preparing of some betel nut
Me eating the stuff...
Me eating the stuff...
...Then been told to spit and not …
...Then been told to spit and not…
...all a bit too late
...all a bit too late
Moni
photo by: yuness