The monastery and the cocoa plantation

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
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Trip End Nov 28, 2013


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What I did

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today we hired the most expensive mopeds in Indonesia.  Moni is well placed at the foot of Kelimutu and a reasonable distance from anywhere else of any significance in this part of Flores.  The  majority of Moni's residents know this only to well and deploy this massively huge leverage dismissively to every Kelimutu visitor indescriminately.  Be it food, accommodation or transport the quality is more often than not extremely low and the price is outrageously and insultingly high - all delivered with a nonchalent 'take it or leave it' attitude.   We could have bought the mopeds off of our Awanty Homestay hosts who  naturally saw dollar signs when we asked about moped hire.  We eventually made a deal with a guy down the road for  some very poor bikes at a price that was still insultingly high but not stratospheric.  When in Moni you have to accept to a certain degree that 'they have you by the balls'!

We chose mopeds today because our epically long hike up and down Kelimutu had taken its toll on our bodies and we also wanted to make our own way back up to Kelimutu in the early hours of tomorrow morning  for sunrise.  So during the day we could tour the countryside and also get to see Kelimutu at sunrise. 

On the list was the Cocoa plantation and the Catholic monastery.   The cocoa plantation sat at the top  of  a windy road through the hills of Flores - the drive was scenic and well worth the trouble.  Sadly the same couldn't be said for the Cocoa plantation (it wasn't exactly the Boh Tea Plantation in the Cameron Highlands).  What we did see however were small villages and communities who lived off the land sustainably.  The crops that they grew were a mixture of absolutely everything from rice, coffee, cocoa, cabbages, garlic, chillin peppers - much like the communities at the foot of Kelimutu.  Religion in this area of Flores is like the crops - varied.  There are beautifully simply churches set in to the hillside and Mosques in the main towns.

The Catholic monastery was a great find and we had to travel quite a few miles in the other direction to the 'Cocao plantation' from the Kelimutu side of Moni.  Again the scenery along this stretch was absolutely stunning.  We were really lucky that the locals in the area of the monastery were so friendly as we would have driven past it at a rate of knots without realising.  A friendly old man got on his moped and travelled out of his way to make sure that he took us right to the monastery door.  Here we were met by a nun dressed in white who showed us around. The Catholic monastery is open to visitors who can stay in the rooms for a small donation.  Had we not had such a nice bed back in Moni the Monastery may well have been an option on the way to Ende. 

At the entrance to the monastery we met a large group of kids playing football.  These guys were from the local village and attended the school close-by to the monastery. Kirst, Hannah and I took them on at a game of football and had a great time.  The kids were great fun and loved it that we were not from their part of the world.  We lost the game but won some friends!
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