The boat was early! We were mentally prepared for a lot, but not really for arriving at 5:30 am, ahead of schedule. Never mind, we got a moderate level of sleep out of this night and were ready to embark onto Flores in the first light of day. After a last brief interlude – before everyone could leave, an ambulance backed onto the ferry and the coffin got heaved into it by the assembled crowd. With a long salute of the ship, the ambulance rode off into dawn, and we close behind.
I have read about a series of guest houses 100 km to the east offering beach views and much needed tranquility and not too much in terms of sights on our way there. The road offered gorgeous views and was in good repair. That allowed us to arrive at our destination still early in the day at 8:30 am. The first place we went to, Lena House, had a bungalow at the beach available. Tired and exhausted we were more than happy to call it a day and booked ourselves in.
While the room was prepared, we got into a conversation with Andy, a globetrotter character originally from the UK, and his lovely partner from Java, where they currently reside. As we were talking, we discovered that we had an interesting thing in common. A while back I would have been surprised, but NZ and traveling really made us accept that small world encounters are more common than one would think. So it turned out that both of us have hosted Chris Schlatter, a motorcycle traveller from Switzerland, and his partner Francesca at different points of their trip.
After a lot of lounging and relaxing, we decided to follow a recommendation by them to have dinner at the guesthouse next door. As it turns out they would eventually join us, and later on we were joined by She Ye and Matt. The dinner turned out to be … exciting. No meat was available in the kitchen, so Andy set out on a quest to find us something nice to share. Nina was sorted, with an eggplant curry using the only remaining eggplants. When Andy came back, there was more than one raised eyebrow. He bought meat all right. In his hand on the bike was a feathered, white and very much alive chicken! Turns out he got the directions to the chicken farm and not to any sort of butcher. Well, the bird met its timely end right there behind the kitchen and we got a great shared dinner out of it. We washed it down with some home distilled arak, a sort of palm tree spirit.