Mentawai medicine man dancing away evil spirits
Back on the main island of Sumatra we stayed in Padang where the decline in tourism could be read in the faces of the children for whom we were still quite the novelty. We spent time sitting in small warungs enjoying the $1 Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng, Kopi Indonesia, tea and some sweet soybean drink. From there you could watch the colorful opelets zipping by thumping various techno beats. Both the opelets and the local busses were decorated in themes ranging from performance car parts and stereo brand names to Harry Potter and Disney. Aside from the steering wheel the stereo was the most essential accessory in these vehicles.
The colorful busses of Padang
We met up with Mark and Coleman in Bali and they had found a nice little homestay in Ubud with only 2 rooms, so it was just the four of us staying there. The family was amazing and as a bonus they had a fuzzy little puppy that skittered all over the property. The reason this is notable is because nowhere that we'd been were dogs kept as pets. They were tolerated when their territory happened to overlap with that of a family's, but that's all. At our homestay the puppy was actually a part of the family like we are used to in the states.
On Christmas we rented motorbikes and rode north to visit a volcanic lake in the sky. The total for the four bikes with petrol was about $20, not bad for a day of fun.
Moto ride in Bali
From Bali we all flew to Flores where we based ourselves in the quiet little craphole of Lubuanbajo. This smelly little port town happens to be the best jumping off point for trips to Komodo and Rinca to see the Dragons and for trips to enjoy the excellent diving around there. After visiting the five shops in town we decided on Chondo's Dive. We discussed our options and agreed on two dives with a trip to Rinca in between.
Diving off Rinca
As it turns out our $50/pax chartered the boat for the day. For the details of this incredible day please see Jen's eloquent account at: https://www.goodells.net/whitney/blog/?storyfile=200902240237
Our next step took us across the island to Moni, a tiny town that makes the tiny towns we've been staying in seem not as tiny in comparison. Moni however did not stink and was quite charming. We stayed in a clean new homestay where we met a few other travellers. It was interesting to spend our New Year's Eve in a place where the only indication was a few scattered firecrackers and bottle rockets going off.
Hiking in Moni
The next day we hiked up to see Kelimutu Lakes, also known as three color lakes due to the different color of each lake. The lakes are colored based on the minerals that are disolved in each lake. Interestingly they change colors periodically, while we were there the lakes were green, black and a vibrant turquoise. Our hike down took us the long way, on purpose of course, through villages of interested (and helpful) people.
After realizing that we would not find a ride north to Maumere to fly out we hitched a ride south to Ende, which we hoped also had flights to Bali the next day. As luck would have it we were able to book four tickets the next morning and got on a plane a few hours later. Back in Bali we parted ways with Mark and Coleman and headed for a secluded island where we would spend our last week in Indonesia doing alot of nothing.
Mark and Coleman going on a bus ride
Nusa Lembongan is a couple of hours off of Bali and subject to daytrips, however the evenings are very peaceful. The people who actually stay on the island are surfers or travellers looking to escape Bali for a little more laidback island life. Our week here was spent lounging in hammocks, hiking around the island, collecting shells for bracelets and sipping tea and coffee overlooking the sea.
Since we had time to spare we went diving with Drift Divers (soon to be Big Fish Diving) and had the best diving to date. It was just the two of us on the boat and we went to two sites along the reef and rode the currents for over an hour. We chose Drift Divers partially because we knew we would be alone and wouldn't have to worry about other divers who breathe a little too much shortening our dive time. Our camera only goes to 10m and our max depth was almost 30m so we couldn't get any pictures although the visibility, even at 30m, would have made for some great photos. Oh well. The impression was of being in one of those underwater scenes that artists love doing where there is a ridiculous amount and variety of fish and coral all in the same place. Right, like all those absurdly colourful fish happen to be hanging out in the same 10 square meters of water. And of course there are like 5 different kinds of coral as well as sandy bottom there too right? Right. Another charted boat, another successful day. Booya!
More great diving
On our last day we stayed in Sanur on Bali and treated ourselves to a final day of cheap luxuries. Drinks at some resort's poolbar, good food, a one hour massage, good food, avocado juice and finally an hour long foot massage which we fell asleep during. Then it was back to Kuta to fly to Australia the next day. Bye bye Indonesia. You stay classy.
For the slide show please visit: https://s470.photobucket.com/user/GoodellsRule/slideshow/Indonesia/?albumview=slideshow