Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Fantastical Finds of Flores continued

After a night spent in Bajawa, we journeyed forth towards Mt. Kelimutu, but not before stopping at Bena Village, where their old school bamboo, and tulu (woven grass) roofs have been standing for about 700 hundred years. Living under a towering volcano, I can kind of understand why some cultures adopted human sacrifice. Wouldn’t you throw a couple people in there to satisfy its treacherous hunger, if it might save your entire village?? It was incredibly picturesque, and other than foreign visitors, and Christianity, hadn’t changed a whole lot since its humble beginnings. The people were so friendly! And I was overjoyed at the opportunity to practice my Indonesian, which has been coming along rather well! I was having full on conversations and understanding a decent amount of what was being said. :D!
The people here also wove their own Ikat, with much brighter colours than we had seen before.
That second day on the road, as we neared Ende, also brought us to a glistening black sand beach; Known by the title of Blue Stone Beach, due to the numerous brilliantly blue coloured stones littering the shoreline.

OOOhhhhh! And there were these unbelievable little crabs everywhere! They had utterly huge eyes that could spot you three meters away! Then they would flee across the sparkling sand like miniature bolts of lighting whipping by! They were so incredibly fast! I was enthralled! It took me nearly an hour, and many peculiar looks, as I darted back and forth across the beach, before I actually managed to catch one. Mostly due to the fact that I saw one get stuck in between two leaves…..

After the beach, we zipped through the Southern port town of Ende, with only a quick stop for snacks, and started the up hill excursion bound to Mony, the base camp town for Kelimutu and the three crater lakes.
Our first night in Mony was quiet and quaint. As our lovely family of five came to the decision to get up at 4.30 am for the sunrise trek, I gratefully contemplated, perhaps the best vegetable soup, ever put before me. I was soooo ridiculously hungry after our days voyage, and they had sure taken their time making it……..but when I had my first taste, all my angst melted away for this petite, but fully satisfying bowl of soup made from scratch to order. All of this lead to a completely blissed out belly, and a long awaited snooze.

Slept through the alarm……. Oops… I guess we needed a little more sleep than we had allotted for. Though only ten minutes late, it felt like I had gained a few extra hours of rest. Big sleepy, half eyed grin =)

I love so dearly being conscious and alert for that transitional vortex in time that is dawn and dusk. Feeling the source of all our energy awaking, and slowly climbing up into the heavens is one of the most peaceful and fulfilling things I have and will continue to do in my life. It fills me with such awareness in those glimpses of timelessness, as though I am again, nothing but ether and air floating around, waiting for the Sun to materialize me into an earthling once again.

And oh my what a mighty daybreak this was! The climb up was rather leisurely, and a great deal easier than I had anticipated. Mt. Kelimutu is a National Park, a rather well maintained, and in fact improved park! There were concrete stairs up most the wait to the peak! I was incredibly pleased about this stumbling around in the dark at quarter to five in the morning. This magical morning, actually the entire day, couldn’t have come together any more perfect if I had tried to plan it myself!
As our star broke through the clouds, it set the milky emerald green lake before us, on fire like a shining jewel. Just behind that first lake was a slightly smaller one, a deep, dark forest green, with only a hint of blue. This petite lake was known to drastically change colour depending on the mineral content. It is usually the red lake of the three, but on this day decided to be a lovely green of intense depth.
The third lake, separated by the viewing point from the other two was the black lake.
It is believed that when someone dies, their soul comes up to Kelimutu through a portal door around the base of the mountain (a ginormous rock, that looked incredibly a kin to a door, that our driver pointed out to us) each soul goes into a different lake depending on age and character. The black lake is where the souls of the bad go, the souls of children into another, and those of the old to another.
As we all stood breathless and in awe, a man offered me a cup of hot coffee. Oh dear me! Mmmmm Kopi Flores!

Back into Mony for breakfast, banana pancakes again, though I opted out for another Soup Sayur (vegetable soup). After filling our now quite appreciative bellies we headed for waterfalls and a hot spring in the middle of terraced rice paddies.

A late lunch and we speedily packed up for Ende before the torrential rains washed out a road, and our only way back to the coast. On the drive out we stopped for possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. Five waterfalls in one photo frame!! An absolutely epic end to our Volcano journey!

Up next some photos from Flores and our Cocoa adventures in Ende!!!!!

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