Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
228Trip End Jul 15, 2008
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Feb. 4, 2007
In Labuan Bajo we chartered a boat (Rp500,000) to Rinca Island in the Komodo National Park to see the Komodo Dragons. We had planned to take the Perama boat to Komodo and on to Lombak. But everyone we'd talked to said Rinca was where you can see the most dragons and also other animals
We left Labuan Bajo for Rinca at about 7 AM and arrived about 10 AM. [GPS 08 29.982S 119 52.868E] We were greeted by our first dragon, a large one, lounging on shore at the very end of the dock. We had to wait for the park ranger to move it before we dared pass. For a short time we were the only tourists on the island. Then the Dutch version of a valley girl showed up. She couldn't stop talking. Even when Arvid repeatedly asked her to keep quiet while he took a video clip of the dragons in motion she would start up in the middle of it. It seemed like she was afraid she would disappear from existence if she was quiet for even 60 seconds. We hired our own guide so we wouldn't have to go with her around the island. Rp1,700,000 for guide and Rp386,000 park fee. These are very steep fees for Indonesia, but the fees fund the park, and our guide was very knowledgeable
When we returned to Labuan Bajo we had to make some decisions about where to go from here. We are at the western end of the island of Flores and had planned to go on to Lombok on the Perama boat, but it had left the day we arrived. We could take a ferry to Sape, and cross Sumbawa by bus; then take the ferry to Lombok and maybe take in the Gilli Islands before going on by boat to Bali. But Sumbawa had nothing we wanted to see and other than some reportedly great beaches Lombok and the Gillis had nothing to match Flores. Arvid is willing to carry on with surface transport just for the sake of keeping some stoic continuity to the trip. But another consideration is that after sleeping in our hotel rooms for six days the young Ryan has gotten a crush on Irina and is talking about traveling on with us at his own expense. Irina has gotten tired of his fawning, which was flattering early on but has grown wearisome to her lately. So we make a quick decision take the plane from here directly to Bali. It's been two weeks of hard travel since we left Dili and we're looking forward to staying in civilized comforts again, which we hear Bali has.