Thursday 24th August 2017
We hired a car and driver for four hours to take a ride into town for some shopping and to visit a local village. Maumere is the biggest town in the east of Flores and was very busy with traffic. We were glad the driver came with the car, as there seem to be either no rules of the road or very difficult to understand rules of the road. The hooter is used often and to indicate a variety of things – none of which seem to be conceding the right of way.
Passengers riding on the top of buses was a common sight. This bus was even carrying someone’s motor scooter!
The law about wearing a crash helmet does not seem to cover children...
Nor indeed do they need a seat – this lad is sitting on the mudguard!
We wanted to visit the village first, and then go into town for shopping, but the taxi driver showed us the petrol gauge, which was on empty, and said he needed to get petrol (benzin) first. So we had to go into town to a petrol station, where he then said he needed to be paid so that he could pay for petrol! This was a little irritating as the price we negotiated was for four hours, and we were spending the first half an hour sorting out his fuel problems!
Eventually it was sorted – the queues at fuel stations here are ridiculously long – and we then drove out of town and on to the village of Watublapi where it is possible to see demonstrations of traditional crafts and dancing. It turned out there were no demonstrations today, and nobody seemed inclined to provide any, but their wares were immediately put out on display for us to buy. The cloth was very thick and very expensive – one being 7,000,000 rupiah, around £420, so we did not buy any. We went for a wander in the village.
There was no offer to demonstrate weaving, just an expectation that we would buy. We declined. The schoolchildren were much more friendly.
I could see people holding hands in these bamboo walls. Imagine waking up to this view every morning.
Sue clarifying the number of noughts in the price for an ikat. These schoolchildren wanted us to write in their books.
We left the village and drove into the town centre of Maumere to the Roxy supermarket. This looked as much like a western supermarket as we had seen so far, but it had a very limited range of goods and we didn’t buy much. We had been told by another cruiser that there was a good bakery with excellent cakes, and with the help of Google translate we asked our driver to take us there. We were very surprised to find cakes with the message “Happy Birthday” in English, and very pleased to find a whole display cabinet full of delicious-looking cakes. We chose one each and crossed our fingers that they would not suffer too much on the way back.
Highly decorated cakes bearing the message “Happy Birthday”!
Back at the boat – coffee and cake, Indonesian style.
That evening was the rally Gala Dinner at the resort on the beach. They had gone to some effort to make the place look special, and the Regent and his entourage arrived reasonably promptly. A small welcome ceremony was carried out with crew from two of the rally boats and then the Regent gave a speech about how wonderful Flores is and how they want to develop tourism here. Lost on us really, as we are already here. Then there was some traditional dancing by local groups and we were all invited to dance Flores style which was great fun. Dinner was the best buffet we have had so far and the evening ended with a bonfire on the beach and more traditional dancing around it. We headed home to bed leaving the revellers still revelling as we had to be back there at 0500 next morning for a trip to the three-coloured lakes.
Formal welcome ceremony for the crew of two boats. Local ladies demonstrate traditional dancing.
The beach restaurant decorated for the Gala Dinner. The Regent and wife dancing Flores style (me in background trying to!)