//story and photos by Mohammad Dimas.
Closing to our departure date, I was so nervous. I was worried that the trip would turn into a disaster since we didn’t prepare everything. We made itineraries in very last days, we didn’t make any reservations, we didn’t have any friends there, so yes I was so worried that we would end up regretting our choice. What bothers me the most was the cost, it wasn’t a cheap trip.
Finally it’s the D-day. We flew to Bali at night, stayed at our friend’s place, took the early flight to Flores in the next morning and finally we arrived. My first impression was WOW, it was so beautiful. We saw the island and the beach from the above.
From that moment my doubts were gone, and I knew that the trip would be awesome.
Couple minutes later we arrived at the terminal Building, we collected our luggage, and we went to car rental desk. Based on our itinerary, our first destination would be Wae Rebo, continued with Kelimutu, and ended with Komodo Island. Before going to Flores, we’ve decided that we would go to the city part of Labuan Bajo to ask people there about how we can go to our destinations. So then we took a car to drop us at travel agent in Labuan Bajo.
Things almost went bad there. The driver stopped, instead of driving us to the travel agent, he asked us to use that car to our destination. It doesn’t sound bad, but actually it was. He asked 2 million for that, and it was way too expensive. It was definitely overpriced, so we went to a debate, he insisted. We bargained, but even after that it was still too expensive. Then we took our courage and we walked out from the car.
We saw the guy that we saw earlier at the airport. He was waiting for us in one of the travel agents there. The owner’s name is Vigo, he is a very nice guy. He arranged a 2 day 1 night onboard trip to komodo islands for us, and with a good price. He also helped us with our journey to Wae Rebo. So then our adventure began.
Our journey was a quite tough one. We made it to all the places that we wanted to visit. We tried most of transportations there. From the comfortable car with air conditioner to a truck full of people. One funny thing was how the ojek (taxi bike) works there. In Java and Sumatera, usually ojek is a profession, so the drivers park their motor cycle in a station and wait for passenger there. But in Flores it’s different, everyone with bike can be an ojek. So if you want to use their service, you just wait in the road, and when there is bike passing, just shout, “ojek”. They will come to you and give you a ride.
10 days in Flores made us understand something, people there were very nice people. They were very warm and open to tourist.
While we were hiking to Wae Rebo, we met several native people. They were the people from the village who wanted to go to the market. Each time we met one of them, they always greet us. It’s almost like a tradition there. We got a nice impression even before we reached the village. But the biggest impressions came from the ladies in Wae Rebo.
At the last day before we continued the journey, we chose to stay a little bit longer. We wanted to see the waterfall (called Cunca Neweng). At first we just wanted to explore it by our self, but the ladies there were really concern about us. They were afraid that we got lost. So they asked their kids to accompany us. The kids were so gentle, we were glad that they accompanied us because the track was even harder than to go to Wae Rebo.
When we were back from the waterfall, we were very tired and hungry. We didn’t have many snacks left in our bag, but then the ladies gave us a lunch. What a surprise, we knew that the lunch won’t be included in the price that we had paid before. We were so hungry, so we ate it. We asked how much we should pay. They answered, “no, this is free”. We were really impressed with their kindness.
Other things that also surprised me there was how people were willing to help each other. During our ride back from Ende to Labuan Bajo, there was a guy stopped our car. He wanted to join our ride, and of course we let him join. I was so surprised that it’s a common things there.
But honestly it was not all nice experiences. Some people who run business there seems to only after money. It’s like they gave price tags to everything, and we were left to no choice but to take it. But after all it was a very great trip, I didn’t regret anything. I even think to coming back sometime in future.