Dragon spotting on Rinca Island.

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
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Trip End Jun 19, 2013


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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Highlights.

Bus Etiquette.
Here's the official low down to bus travel in Flores.
Buffaloes - back seats of the bus.
Pigs - roof of the bus.
Ducks/chickens - underneath the front seat (legs tied together).
Goats - roof of the bus.
Mopeds - tied to the back of the bus.
Coconuts/other produce - bus gangway floor.
Spare petrol cans - bus gangway.
Children - on top of coconuts.
Excess passengers - hanging onto open doors/sat on bus roof/ hanging off back of bus.
Other things to note: feeling sick due to the constant bends of the 10 hour journey? Just throw up on the bus floor. 
Want to spit? Do it on the bus window.
Add to all that the constant smoking by everyone, and you have a typical bus journey in Flores.

Rinca Island Tour. (Komodo Dragons)
We booked a tour to take us to see the Komodo dragons on one of the two islands you can see them in the whole world. On Rinca island there are more than on Komodo island so the odds are better and it's closer to Labuan Bajo. We had a nice Italian couple with us on the boat and as with all Italians the guy was sporting some pretty spectacular swimwear! It took about 90 mins to get there which we made the most of by sleeping. Once on the island we paid our fees: guide cost, government tax, camera fee, entry fee and I think next year there introducing air supply tax and you have to bring your own dragons to spot. Once we emptied our wallets we followed our guide hoping to see a dragon. Literally 2 minutes into our hour long walk we saw one! And then another! These were not that big so after a few snaps we moved on to the kitchen area where we found 6 HUGE komodo dragons all relaxing in the shade underneath the balcony of the house. Our guide had come prepared with a stick (certainly not our weapon of choice) just incase one of them made a move. Apparently they can run up to 18km an hour but we wasn't willing to find out although Mark did enjoy getting rather close to take some photos. The dragons have killed tourists here before and usually feed off the wild buffalo, pigs and deer amongst other things. They bite their prey and let the potent bacteria take affect (up to 2 weeks) before eating it. As we continued our walk we came across a nest with a female dragon nearby and soon after that we were lucky to spot a baby dragon scurrying along. This is rare as they usually hide up trees after birth for the first years of their life. The Komodo dragons are cannibals and will eat the baby dragons. We also saw a wild buffalo come for a drink by the river and everyone was secretly begging for a dragon to jump out and make its move. Or maybe just us. On the way back we revisited the kitchen area where the biggest male dragon was on its hind legs, thus truly showing how big these animals are and as soon as it starting moving everyone shifted! We took a few more photos before leaving Rinca island. On the way back we stopped off for some snorkeling and it was great. The water was clear and we saw loads of cool fish. I think it's time we brought a book on fish so we actually know what we're looking at! 

Lowlights

Rubbish food
We ate cheaply on the first night in Labuan Bajo and what a huge mistake that was. I literally didn't touch the food and Mark said it was his worst meal since starting our trip. The food just tasted disgusting and we only had fried rice and soup (hardly the most complex of dishes), we ended up just drinking the beer and moving on.
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