Kelimutu and Ludo with the locals
Moni Travel Blog› entry 200 of 658 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.