June 17, 1997

On the Indian Ocean

Living in Flores is a matter of survival. The overnight ferry boat journey from Flores to Ende, was over 22 hours on a sardine can of a pelini boat. There was over 4,000 people on ship. The recommended capacity must be max 500. There were no spare inches of space to be had...even the stair rails had people sleeping on them. I realize now why when an Indonesian ferry sinks so many people die. There is one small lifeboat and 40 lifejackets on board. Being the only westerner on the journey it made for an extra long trip.

June 19, 1997


Hi there! I met a funny guy here in Moni (Flores, Indonesia).He is so crazy to go round the world by bicycle. I could not do that! We have bad weather here in Moni, we're in the middle of the dry season, but we still venture to climb Mt. Kelimutu, to see the three colored volcanic lakes inside the crater. Even the huge rain could not stop us. And you know what else is amazing man? Tim was still on his bike!

Axel, Czech Republic

Message in Czech language(do not adjust your set):

Prestan serfovat po internetu, zvedni ten svuj linej zadek a jdi se taky podivat do sveta! At tady nepotkavam jen samy Amiky,Nemcoury a Japonce.

Axel z Prahy

June 20, 1997

Wodong Beach, Flores, Indonesia

A brief note from an Australian visitor - Australian, European, American or whatever, we're all really in the same boat. Travel is usually thought of as an activity where you leave your responsibilities behind, but maybe that's not the whole story. Traveling through a place like Indonesia, where you're dealing with so many locals each day, brings it's own sort of responsibility. All of us are ambassadors here, and all it takes is a few friendly words, a few bumbling attempts at some bahasa Indonesia, and you'll make friends. Doesn't matter if you make a complete fool of yourself, if you try and talk the local lingo to the locals, they'll love you for it. Just stand in some public place, any place, start talking to someone, and pretty soon there's a whole crowd, looking, laughing, just having a good time. It's easy - just a wink, just some funny little twist of the face, and waves of laughter go round the onlooking crowd. Then pretty soon you hear the murmurs passing round "ya, bisa, mister speaks Indonesian". And at the end of it all? You've gained respect; they love the fact that you've made an effort, no matter that your Indonesian grammar's piss weak. So, learn the lingo, you'll have a better time, you'll leave a good impression, and everyone comes out ahead.

Mark Rosenberg

Tasmania, Australia

June 21, 1997

Wodong Beach

Relaxing at the lovely Wodong Beach Homestay. For $2 US per day one receives their own bungalow on the ocean. Included are free canoes and snorkeling on the reef. Out the back door, My Aussie mate Mark and I had a hike part way up a volcano before the heat drove us to a swim in a flowing stream. We then chilled at the homestay the remaining part of the day trying to learn Bahasa Indonesian.

June 22, 1997

Wodong/Maurole, Flores

In the morning I waited unsuccessfully to charter the boat to snorkel off Besar Island. Flores has a huge percentage of its locals that are Catholic and being Sunday it created some troubles. The other part of the crew did not return in time for a voyage. A phrase I have coined is the Indonesian way, it must be experienced to have full appreciation. What makes simple sense is not par for the course here. I opted for a cycle westward 100 km's to the town of Maurole. This route will stay on the north side island. Few travelers take this path. With my lack of the Indonesian language and their shock at seeing a westerner, it is interesting. Cycling by villages brings all the locals out to welcome me. Sometimes the children follow me uphill for km's, until I can dust them on the downhill.

Tonight's accommodations are not the Ritz. I have the room in the garage next to the chickens and a dog in heat. Hopefully, I can manage a few winks between the clucking of the hens and hollowing of the mutt. Throughout Asia I have decided for weight reasons to travel without a tent or stove. The cost of food and shelter in Asia is only a few dollars per day. The downside is it limits some of your freedom. Well, at the moment all is quiet. I'm going to give sleeping (tidur) a shot.

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