started my post-bali travels by flying to maumere, in the east of flores, my plan being to make my way back across to the western end, where i would take a boat trip to the komodo islands. this is, sorry, the backside one of the 'bemo boys' on my trip from maumere to moni. it's not quite clear from the photo, but his jeans are basically made to have the falling-down look...with another pair of jeans underneath. bizarre.
the door of my bemo. not sure what the take-home message here is supposed to be... (that is a gun and bullet holes on the 'black' logo, in case your screen is too small to see.)
we drove around town for literally two hours before finally leaving for our destination. about twenty minutes later we stopped again. to fix a tire...which actually turned out to be two tires. nice that none of the no-less-than five guys working on this bemo (minibus) thought about taking care of this in the two hours we wasted in maumere doing nothing but driving around making the tire situation worse--or, god forbid, even before taking the damned thing out on the road to pick up passengers.
fixing tire #1
my bemo from maumere to moni
benny, my sat-too-close-for-comfort seat companion, who is somehow related to the bemo but it wasn't clear he was doing any actual job on it. he also didn't lift a hand to help fix the tires.
benny insisted i take this one (again, too too close)
at various points they used the tire-fixing machine.
at first i called this guy, the main bemo boy (as probably only i call them) no teeth guy.... (note the 'trendy' glasses) unfortunately for me and soon you, he later earned a new name...
how many bemo boys does it take to change a tire...?
one tire finished! (this is before i knew there would be a second, so you can imagine my excitement, since i'd been sitting there for about40 minutes already. hopes quickly dashed.)
a very sweet-seeming and nicely dressed older man who was one of my fellow passengers. he unfortunately earned the name 'smelly guy' the minute he walked on, and i literally had to change my seat to try not to be downwind of him.
confirmation that there was indeed a second tire repair about to take place
ok, as promised/threatened: the evidence of why no-teeth guy got rechristened hairy-ass guy. believe me you are lucky you weren't there for the actual rechristening moment, when he was sitting about a foot away from me. *shudder*
next stop was the village of moni, where i visited this waterfall & had a really awful experience. i was sitting & reading when two teenage boys showed up on a path. they did the usual 'hello mister!’ & i said hello but then didn't, i guess, pay them sufficient attention so the boy closest to me started to pee, which i ignored. his friend kept calling out & when i finally looked up to tell them to leave me alone, the other boy had pulled his pants down & was flashing me! i was shocked, let out some kind of sound & started to scramble to my feet, ostensibly (the only thing i could think of) to throw something at them. they ran away immediately. i was so upset & left, luckily on a different path, & felt wary of & threatened by every male over age 12 i came across afterward. next day i met a french woman who’d had the same thing happen but much worse, as she was very nearly attacked by an obviously mentally ill man on the path to the crater lakes. put my experience in perspective.
well-o-gas at the side of the road
the main reason tourists go to flores--and the only reason to go to moni--is to see the crater lakes formed by the kelimutu volcano, which change color depending on what time of year you see them. when i was there, two were green and one black. but one of the green ones is sometimes red.
Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake)
and then, of course, there is local legend. this sign doesn't say it, but i read this online: ”...the natives believe, that, when a human being dies and has only done good things, he will find the eternal peace in the Lake of Ancestors. But if he was very evil, he will be punished whith tortures forever in the red lake. Those ones, who have done both good and evil, will find themselves in the blue lake.“
Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), the black one
scenery on the way back from kelimutu to the village of moni. i was going to do the two-to-three hour walk but decided my knee was not up for it and flagged down a car full of french tourists who graciously drove me back with them.
no matter how many rice terraces i see, i'm still struck by their beauty.
typical transport (though just as often there'll be a goat on top instead of people). climb aboard!
waiting by the side of the road to catch a bus to get me the hell out of moni, i had a nice interchange (and exchange of gifts! see story here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mianderingphotos/LastDaysInBali#5380819011436479058.) with a woman running a restaurant/petrol stand. her daughter and some of her school friends came over (the school was across the road and i could hear the kids singing when i first parked myself there with my backpack to wait), and of course they wanted their photos taken.
this guy wanted in on the action.
next stop in the trip was ende, which was just somewhere to stay overnight on my way to bajawa. this is inside the bemo i took from the bus station in ende to my hotel. this is very typical of dashboard decor in flores. plush pink 'love' pillows are all too common. some of the same bemos have decals of scantily clad women on the back window (though the majority are male animation heroes).
a lot of words in indonesian (and malaysian, as it's virtually the same language) are english words but spelled phonetically to match their own alphabet sounds ('c' is pronounced 'ch,' for example, so 'central' is 'sentral') but also sometimes slightly different, reflecting how they pronounce the words, which tend to lack 't's on the end ('restaurant' is 'restoran'). all of this makes for a very unfortunate spelling of cement.
in flores, almost all the trucks, buses and bemos (minivans or minibuses that are used for local and often long distance transport) have similar decals blazed across the front, sometimes two. the photo i didn't get: top decal--FERNANDO. bottom--STONER.
bintang is the name of indonesia's national beer...as well as, apparently, a political party. now there's a reform i can get behind!
this is my hair (not pictured). this is the dirt on the roads and in the air of flores (not pictured). this is my hand after running it through my hair (to get the knots out) before a clearly much-needed washing! (i once took a similar photo in vietnam, as i was so shocked to see my hands. now i'm used to it, but this time it was dirtier than the time in vietnam...and any time since. wow.)
after my time in bajawa (see separate photo album), i hopped a bemo bajawa to ruteng (to break up the 10-hour ride to labuanbajo, my destination on the far west end of flores), and ended up on a minibus full of students in some kind of marketing program that had them living in several parts of flores for several months at a time. this is nia, who was determined to be my friend even before she knew our names were almost identical. this is her friend who got called 'crazy' but nia and some others and who insisted he wasn't crazy but he was handsome (obviously not realizing the two are not mutually exclusive). i therefore christened him 'handsome but crazy,' which everyone but him really liked.
indonesian people (especially on buses) seem to love taking photos with me (and all white people), and my students were no exception. (i, on the other hand, have no love of such photos--especially when i look like this in them!)
nia, who insisted on taking my number and about a week later sent me a few text messages containing creative capitalization, including the signoff “MiZz U BeBy” (which she actually put in quotes).
is your motorcycle limp, dry and lifeless? (and perhaps too interested in what other motorcycles are doing?) you need nosy motorcycle shampoo!
there can't be a bemo, it seems, without decals on the door. not only can't i translate what it says on that guy's ass, i can't even make out the letters to read it to try to translate it.
how great is this shirt (which obviously was meant to be a converse ripoff)? oops.
random graffiti. nice. (and no, i don't think 'hitller' with the two 'l's means anything in indonesian.)
this is a gas-fired coffee-roasting machine in back of the agape cafe in ruteng, flores. the lonely planet says you should ask to go in the back and see their machine. it never would have occurred to me to actually do so, but a foreign couple was there at the same time as me and urged me to go back there after they did. the photo doesn't really do it justice, as the one thought i had upon seeing this monster was: willie wonka!
I can't attest to whether this is, in fact, NASA quality. It looked too rough so I bought a nicer-looking roll, whose brand name was, in fact, 'Nice.'
like the ngada people in bajawa, the manggarai people of ruteng have little men on top of their houses as well. this is not a real house but a model constructed on in island in the middle of a road in town. unclear what the building is for (you would think tourism office, but there was no such sign).
the komodo island boat trip (see separate photo album) left me on the island of lombok, where i stayed for a day in mataram, and took some photos in a mall and in the supermarket in the mall. this one is for my friend lois.
i guess airplanes are considered macho, but...cockpit? oy. tv commercial to come: 'he uses that soap? watch out!'
oops! i ate those crackers again! (and...fugu?)
even though in this case, 'cal' means calcium (asia seems to be obsessed with biscuits and crackers fortified with calcium), there is just no way you'd ever have a snack food called 'hi-cal' in the west.