So the ferry pulled into Larantuka port nice and early, around 7am. Now I just had the small matter of the entirety of Flores to get across. Cast from your mind any concept of nice straight Roman roads – this is a volcanic jungle baby, and these roads are longer and windier than you would believe. But, damn what AMAZING scenery. Vast forests cladding soaring hillsides, valleys of greenest green far below, and when we scoot along the coast the silhouettes of ancient fishing boats rendered by the golden sunbeams glittering in the deep blue waters.
Even better, the stereo on my minibus wasn’t working, so I didn’t have to suffer that dreadful Indonesian musak! I was also lucky to have a sensible driver – one that didn’t fang it around blind corners whilst overtaking a convoy of trucks. On top of all that, I managed to bag a front seat so I could plug my laptop into the cigarette socket and write all these lovely diary entries you’ve just wasted a couple of hours reading. Hee hee. So it was a extremely pleasant ride to the northern coast town of Maumere and by early afternoon we had arrived. Wishing to continue stabbing westward, I boarded another minibus down to the south coast, to Ende.
Ende, like all towns in Flores, is a one-horse affair. It’s claim to fame is that it is Indonesia’s Elba – the (eventual) first president of Indonesia, Soekarno, was exiled here by the Dutch in the 1930s. It has a handful of pensions and even fewer restaurants. I ended up walking for an hour just to find some grub, and the place I found (a Chinese gaff – great seafood!) closed at 9pm: I had barely finished my meal.