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.
June 21, 1997
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
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
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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