The Three-Colored Lakes of Kelimutu
Trip Start Sep 17, 2011
20Trip End Oct 07, 2011
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Where I stayed
When we arrived at the entrance to the park, we had to walk in the dark up to a booth to pay a fee for entry and for use of the camera (they have fees for everything here). No one was around, but after Gabriel tooted his car horn, two guys came out of a nearby building, one wrapped up in a thick flannel blanket
Shortly past the gate, we drove into a parking lot where many "guides" were available to help us up the clearly marked (in English) path. We followed one whose only words were, "We walk one kilometer." The sky was beginning to lighten, but it was still hard to see our footing, and our "guide" took off like a shot, carrying two large sacks in either hand. We followed him as best we could through silent woods over about 1/4 mile of shallow, irregularly-placed stone steps and then along a stony dirt path (I heard Lisa nearly biff it behind me at one point, tripping over a rock or tree root). We then came to a clearing. I looked ahead and saw the path steepen, turning into a curving staircase which went up and up to the top of a large hill. I turned to Lisa and said, "I hope we don't have to go up that way." Guess what? That's exactly where Mr. Guide led us. There were approximately 800 steps to the top. It actually wasn't too bad since we could break for rest anywhere we wanted, and the guide didn't care and never looked back
We chatted with the Dutch couple, whom we'd met at other points earlier on in the trip, all of us apparently on the same tourist circuit
After a couple cups of (overpriced) gritty/chewy coffee, Lisa and I headed down the mountain. Along the way, we climbed a different, shorter flight of stairs to get a better view of the smaller lake from another perspective. Lisa interjecting: As we were strolling back through the woods in the direction of the parking lot, we began to hear the forest birds wake up and begin to sing
We headed back to the room and were served breakfast on the front porch. It wasn't too bad - some fruit and a mango pancake. Lisa interjecting: While we were sitting in our plastic chairs, the proprietor of the place, a sad-looking man, came out of his bamboo walled house carefully carrying an infant in his hands. He sat down on his front step and began to cuddle the baby, who stared solemnly back at him, not appearing to move. The man touched the baby's face, stroking his little eybrows and caressing his face. He then disappeared with the baby into the house and came out a minute later with a different infant and cuddled this one too. We discovered that these were twins and one had been born with a head tumor which had to be surgically removed in Denpasar. I could see why this man seemed sad. Neither baby appeared at all energetic, barely moving in his hands
Bill: Meanwhile, we were eager to get the hell out of Moni. We quickly got our stuff packed and loaded in the car. Took one last photo of the room, particularly the unmade bed, then hopped in the car. Gabriel motored on and we were thankful to be heading out again.
Lisa again, and I'm finishing this to avoid any further confusion. As we began our last leg of the overland trip, Gabriel plugged in his music player, for the first time. When we asked why he waited so long to do so (it had been a long, quiet 3 days' drive), he shrugged his shoulders and said he hadn't thought we liked music. Huh? What followed was quite entertaining. The music player kept resetting itself every time we hit a bump, which was about every 15 seconds. The musical selection seemed to consist of Bob Marley's greatest hits interspersed with rap songs. When we hit bumps, the player automatically went to the beginning of the same song, again and again: Buffalo soldier...dreadlock rasta....there was a buffalo soldier...in the heart of America... This went on endlessly. We wound our way through jungle--
Come my lady, come-come my lady, you're my butterfly--sugar--baby...
Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? Is this love that I'm feeling?....
across mountain ranges--
Now ladies come, ladies go out my revolving door...some ladies never come back--most come back for more...
heading north toward our final destination on this road trip, to the city of Maumere
We reached a stopping point, mid morning, on the north side of the island along the seashore. We drank cold Cokes while sitting on wooden stools, looking out at the ocean. Didn't realize this would be our last stop but turns out it was.
Back in the car, we headed into Maumere proper (population 51,000 according to Lonely Planet's outdated guide). We got stuck in a traffic jam at one point, some sort of market going on, women sitting on blankets selling tiny carrots and greens. Before we knew it, we'd pulled into our hotel, Sea World Club, a beach resort. I headed in to register while Bill and Gabriel unloaded the car of our stuff. We said our goodbyes, and suddenly we were on our own again.
We were led to our little bungalow on the beach. The guy helping us with our suitcases showed us around the room. We were very excited because we had a big, soft-looking bed with a decent mattress, air conditioning, a toilet that flushed, and hot water
We headed to the restaurant for lunch. We were both ready to stop eating Indonesian food for awhile, so Bill ordered spaghetti and I ordered a club sandwich. Bill's meal looked normal, and so did mine, but when I bit into my sandwich, I discovered it consisted of tomatoes, cucumbers, a slice of cheese (I think), a layer of ketchup, and a fried egg. Bill said his dish was a bit unusual too. Nonetheless, it was food, and we were both famished and cleaned our plates.
We did little for the remainder of the day, although we did take a walk around the property, which abutted some local homes
We ate in the restaurant for dinner and went to bed quite early. There were very few guests, so it was quiet and peaceful (other than the native element, more on that later). We were very tired and slept quite well, although our ears were attuned to the distant thumping of Indonesian pop music, coming from the back of the property. But at least it wasn't coming from outside our window.