Feb 12, 2011

Bitter bite of Flores

It takes one hour to fly from Denpasar, Bali to Labuanbajo on the island of Flores. Yet, it seems like a thousand of light years - from friendly civilization to rough wilderness.

As I already mentioned, Labuanbajo is a hell of a place. We landed in the sheer field surrounded by palm trees and crowd of quite abusive taxi drivers violently dragging us to their cars. Population here is Muslim and Christian what makes a colossal difference when compared to smiling Bali hinduism. In Labuanbajo itself, a bigger port town, there are plenty of dark, hooded people that give blond girls this angry look, I know well from Morocco. Also wandering here after dark, unlike on Bali, is extremely unpleasant experience.

We stayed in hotel Gardena, one of best options, both as for price and location - just on the main street (not that there was much more streets) at close proximity to decent western style restaurants and all the travel offices you need for organizing any trip here. Travelling on your own is rather impossible - no car rentals, local transport not much reliable.

Hotel Gardena owns accommodation on Seraya so you can make all deals in the reception and has very decent cheap restaurant with lazy stuff. But that's something not unusual on whole Flores. There is really not much to do in this god forsaken dirty city, so apart from snorkeling trips and island cruises you can only rent a motorbike (or a car with a driver for 100 euro/day) for 8 euros per day and ride up the only asphalt road across the island towards Ruteng. Local guides recommend some amazing tourist attractions, so we tried one and well, it wasn't as amazing.

We drove 30 km east of Bajo to waterfalls Cunca Wulang. First, we made it to small village off the road, Wersawe, where two boys offered to guard our bike and lead us to waterfalls. Village is friendly but very poor and it's obvious people don't have much to do here. Living from tourists comes handy.

Hiking is quite tough - in horrible heat and humidity, through narrow muddy footpath in the jungle - no views whatsoever, rather tiring buzz of insects (and mosquitos are big and damn biting). After an hour or so we finally made it to the bank of vivid, beige colored river and were told to take off shoes and continue in the water. Now that was not a pleasant experience as there is lots of slippery and sharp stones which you can't see due to poor visibility and the idea of what snakes or other nasty creatures might be there was just creeping me out.

After 20 minutes of this "amazing trekking experience" our guide told us that waterfall is just behind the corner, just water got high rain so now we should swim...

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