Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ben Hur in Sumbawa

The ferry was canceled on Thursday so I was stuck on Flores for another day. Chartered a motorcycle with driver to see more of the Island and some caves. Very friendly, green, and pretty little villages. Afterwards he showed me his home and seven days old son.

The Friday ferry to Sumbawa was going, rather late, and it was a bit of a rust bucket; shall we say, proven technology. On Sumbawa, a bus took us to Bima, then another to the other side of the Island, then another ferry to Lombok, then Senggigi. Took 24 hours and no sleep was possible because Sumbawa is very mountainous and the bus was careening around tight curves all the time. But the views were great. They still use horse carts as taxis; they call them benhurs.

I write this on the beach, waiting for the restaurant to grill my fresh fish, next to the fancy hotel where we rented a beach bungalow. We think we deserve some luxury after the bus ordeal.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

There Be Dragons

"There Be Dragons" is what ancient map makers wrote in spaces for which they had no data. They clearly didn't know the islands of Rinca and Komodo. Here, and only here, live the Komodo dragons. They are big (2m+) scaly lizards with massive legs and claws. What they bite won't get up much anymore. They move slowly but if convenient they will outrun a human. We went there on a little tour boat and had long guided hikes on both islands, plus generous time for snorkeling on the nearby reefs. One night we slept on the boat. Our guides carried long forked staffs to discourage the dragons from spicing up their diet with tourists, and had to use them to shoo dragons off our path. I want a dragon to myself to walk about Berlin, on a leash, with the claws making loud clicking noises on the pavement. Very spotty Internet access here...

Monday, May 14, 2012


Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores is not an interesting town. It's very small, mostly made from corrugated metal and open sewers, and has no sights. People come here for the islands; there's a small airfield.

It's so small that our little turboprop touched down, did a U-turn on the runway, went all the way back to the other end, and parked in front of the little building there, all alone on a field smaller than the typical supermarket parking lot. Tomorrow I'll take a boat out to the islands too; I'll be back on the net on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Phone chargers

Airports are supposed to have lots of power sockets, but not all of them do. In Lima we actually had to sit down in a Starbuck to charge equipment. In Kuala Lumpur they have little lockers, just big enough for a phone. Inside is a charging cable. Different boxed support different phone types. Cool...


Finally made it to Bali, after a long sequence of long flights. I'll fly to Labuan Bajo on Flores tomorrow but I'll have to stay a night on Bali. My chosen hotel is quite fancy. It's in Seminyak because it's the farthest, but least touristic of the three beach towns up Bali's coast north of the airport. Seminyak, too, wants to sell its soul for a handful rupiah but it's still tolerable.