The Land of Betel Nut Smiles

Moni Travel Blog

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Second update...for the next 4 days I was driven, along with Rob, Alice and Pete, across Flores to a village called Moni, near the Kelimutu lakes. We visited several traditional villages en-route, saw some stunning green scenery and spent our first night in the small town of Bajawa. Our driver was a guy called Jek, who is from Moni himself and did a fantastic job of NOT getting us killed on some pretty hairy roads. Flores is pretty mountainous so the roads are constantly weaving uphill and downhill, are only wide enough for one lorry and frequently have enormous potholes, edges that have eroded into a sheer drop and are even cobbled in places.

Flores has definitely been the furthest I've been off the beaten track. There are very few tourists, no public transport, no internet anywhere but the coastal towns and lots of little villages of basic huts. I found myself constantly shocked by the basic conditions most people lived in. We had a bit of a drama on our second day when, 2 hours after leaving Bajawa Alice realised she had left her passport behind. For some reason she thought stashing it underneath the mattress was a good idea... We tried to get someone to bring it to Moni by car or motorbike but had no luck so what we ended up doing was returning to Labuan Bajo for our flight out, stopping at Bajawa en route. This meant 15 hours, in a car whose battery was giving out, listening to Indonesian pop music. Oh, and occasionally stopping for me to throw up. Not fun!

The throwing up was courtesy of a delightful stomach bug I picked up on day two, probably from a Makasan Padang restaurant we ate in. It's this particular Indonesian cuisine, quite rich but very tasty. Unfortunately, your traditional Makasan Padang restaurant displays its menu on plates in a hot window so its not surprising I caught something nasty. On our second night we reached Moni, the village closest to the Kelimutu Lakes. Plan was to get up at 4am in order to see the sunrise over the lakes. Shall be uploading some stunning photo's of that shortly. Unfortunately, these photo's are courtesy of Pete, as I was too busy being sick to make it up there. Absolutely gutted!

I'm now in Legian on the south west coast of Bali. I've decided to spend a few weeks here having some rest and relaxation. I've got a bit tired of constantly moving around so I've rented a room at the same place as Alice with hot showers, a kitchen and my own TV. So far I've done nothing more than go to the beach, watch TV and get my hair cut by an indonesian ladyboy. Bliss! I'm off to Singapore tomorrow to get a new VISA then I'll be back until around the 12th June. Hooray for sun, sea, sand and generally lazing around :)

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Moni
photo by: yuness