The onion express

Bajawa Travel Blog

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Flores 'express' transport

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

It was a 5am start on Friday morning to catch the 'bus' from Labuanbajo to Bajawa. Entering the vehicle, i could tell it was going to be one of those days, as we were confronted with countless bags of onions stacked up and completely stinking the bus out! The appearance of the bus was actually much superior to the performance of the engine, which mustered speeds that suggested it was actually a hairdryer motor, as a 3 legged donkey and unicyclist passed us by... ok maybe i'm exaggerating now, but you get my drift!

The journey took a mind boggling 12 hours, to cover a distance which in most countries would take no more than 2 hours. To add to the smell of the onions, i had a guy sat on a bag of them next to me, blowing cigarette smoke in my face and rubbing his armpit in my face, which had clearly not seen anti-perspirant in some time, as he held on to the back of my seat. When we arrived in Bajawa our journey was crowned with a fight between the bag handlers over who was going to lift each bag off. This led to the spilling of blood, to the amusement of the locals and bewilderment of us.

It took 2 attempts to find a hotel, as the woman in the first one was extremely rude and was also trying to charge a hell of a lot for a room with unclean sheets, dirty toilet and rickety beds. Johni Hotel that we ended up in was only slightly better, but the lady was friendly and in my eyes, this makes a huge difference. Walking around town, we discovered that the ATMs and Internet didn't work, leaving us all really short for cash. As a result we ended up in a small outdoor eatery where we had some nasi goreng, before continuing on to a small cafe to drink some warm tea, as it was actually pretty cold. Our day ended as badly as it started as some pervy guy wouldn't leave Julia alone and kept wanting to touch her, then would laugh to some of his friends in the cafe. I was thrilled to climb into bed and thankfully my dreams were a great improvement on the day i'd endured :)

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Flores express transport
Flores 'express' transport
photo by: halilee