I might be getting old, but curfew rocks 😉 – we slept blissfully in the clean beds of the Congregation and got a hearty breakfast to kick start our day. I even went for the rice for the first time (the whiter than white bread is dreadful).
Because we pushed so hard to get to Ruteng yesterday, there were only manageable 120 km left to go to hit Labuan Bajo, the western port of Flores. On the way, we rode through forested hills on windy mountain roads, then through a large plateau covered in ride fields and onward, always down and west. This will be the general direction until we hit the end of Java in a month or so.
We arrived before lunch time and were happy with the first hotel we picked from the lonely planet. $17 NZD for the night, including breakfast and it had a secure spot for the bike. While still checking in, we got the first offer for a boat tour to the islands of the Komodo national park (the main reason to come here). The price was mid-range to what the lonely planet suggests and I felt absolutely no desire to shop around the harbour and main street to compare offers in the afternoon heat, so we took it.
Labuan Bajo gives us a first taste of regions “developed for tourism” and I am getting wearier about being fleeced or taken advantage of, but so far our open and straight forward approach has worked for us. Still, seeing whites on the street and being the constant target of sales pitches is surely not something that we will overly enjoy.
… said he and went all out tourist for dinner 😉 We had fancy Italian tonight, costing about a third of what we would pay in NZ, but after almost exclusively eating in warungs with the locals for the last week, this felt supremely decadent. The pizza was OK, but we both miss our favorite Italian restaurants: Renato in Frankfurt and Scopa in Wellington.