What a day this was! It started golden already, waking up as the fishermen returned with their morning catch. The surf was still there, the view was too and the hills gave us shade from the sun long enough to get all our gear packed before the sun hits the beach. As promised our breakfast was waiting for us at Blasius’ place at 7 am. Dried banana baked in a dough mantle that looked a bit like croissants, tea and “kopi” to go with them. I love the local coffee, by the way. A lot like greek coffee, the ground and sugar are all mixed together and served unfiltered. To round it off we got offered sawo. The green fruit is eaten like a fig, broken apart and the inside that tastes a bit like sour banana with the texture of ripe pear is then nibbled out. The fruit was good, but it left a bizarre gum-like residue on the lips, like sap.
After breakfast Blasius took us and his middle son with him to his parents’ house to introduce us. We had a lovely welcome there, another round of coffee and a round of family photos. When Blasius told us that his dad is growing cocoa, amongst other things, I asked him if he had ever tried the cocoa (knowing that a lot of producers don’t know how the end product, chocolate, tastes like). He was a bit confused, nodded and wandered off. He came back with two fresh ripe cocoa pods, opened one and took a segment with bean in his mouth. We did the same and started munching away, chewing the bitter bean … when he spit the cleaned bean right back out! Turns out that one can eat the sweet sour fruity skin of the bean, which is quite good. The bean is disgusting of course, until dried, roasted and mixed with heaps of sugar …
After the visit it was time to leave and I asked what we owed for the dinner and breakfast and he said whatever we were ok to give. Ah, what a terrible burden! I gave 100k rupiah, and he seemed genuinely happy with this. After a sec, I added another 50k (all together $17.50 NZ). We did not have to pay for accommodation and the food was excellent, plus the kindness we received!
The road to Moni and on up Kelimutu was a beautiful mountain road. We had to stop for 15 minutes at a work site, but it was only a couple of turns and we could move to the shade to sit it out. The Trans-Flores Highway is great, reminding me a lot of NZ roads (although a tad less repaired). After a brief lunch in Moni, we headed up the volcano(es). From the car park it is only a 1.5 km walk to the viewing platforms. It is all about the three candela lakes here, each one a different colour and all visible from a single point. On the way we spotted macaques, shy as they should be, on the track. Wohoo, wild monkeys!
Up top we met Lili and Sebastian, a couple of French backpackers. We had a good chat and were able to fully NZ-geek-out when Lili told us about her working holiday visa and her soon to start NZ year 🙂
The road down from here to Ende leads through a super narrow valley, beautiful rice fields or rivers at the bottom of them and overall a riding highlight on this trip so far. One of these roads that deserve a youtube GoPro clip. The only downside was another road closure for half an hour and two work sites with muddy roads, but nothing too wild. When the road opened again, we got spilled through the work site in a frantic rush of motorcycles and down and out towards dusky Ende. Once there, a wrong turn got us into a police station, and after we got swarmed by officers we got a final escort through the one-way jungle to our guesthouse.