Sunday 29th April Moni
I picked up Uly and Hans at sunrise around 6.30am at their aunt’s house. They were still a bit sleepy. We started walking to Kelimutu and the three of us had sore legs and feet and walked quite slowly. After all, they are only 12 and 10! Although they are used to walk a lot every day, I found them really courageous to keep walking.
On our way to Kelimutu, we passed some women with some comb in their hair. It is something quite common in a few places in Asia.
On the last bit of the walk which is the steepest, a truck offered us a ride and the three of us agreed warmly. We arrived at the parking around 10:30am. I walked straight to the lakes again. It was less cloudy than the day before. As we were Sunday, there were much more people around than the day before, but mostly Indonesian people rather than Western tourists which I found pretty cool. There, I chatted a bit with Marcus. He really is a character, with such a strong positive personality. People there seemed to all know him and love him. He made everyone laugh by taking different poses for the camera.
Akmed offered me a coffee and I sat with him, chatting a bit, in between pictures posing with various people who asked to have a picture with me. I was the only Western tourist there that morning, so that made my life hard, ahah. Tough job sometimes to be a Western tourist in a place where you are the only one, though Indonesian people are so friendly it is hard to refuse them a photo and at the end it is a lot of fun. I chatted a bit with an Indonesian man called Nyong, who was there with his wife, kids and some friends. Here is Nyong and his wife.
He explained me that there were a lot of people that day also because there was an event going on which was organised for the motorbiking club of Maumere once a year in Kelimutu. He offered me to give me a ride back to Moni which was on their way, which I was happy to accept as my legs were in pain. We walked slowly back to the parking and suddenly he disappeared. I looked for him a bit and he was there on the stage, part of the band starting playing, as the main guitarist and singer! What a cool surprise and what an humble man to not have mentioned anything of it! At some point it started raining so everyone found shelter all around. I really love this picture showing him playing and his rasta friend singing too, and laughing. They all seem to be enjoying themselves…including the chicken at their feet happy to have a shelter too! I was still the only Western tourist around, and that felt great. Nyong even dedicated me a song called Anna, youhou!
I really liked Nyong’s music. Here is some of what he played at Kelimutu. Click on the link and enjoy!
LINK to come
I started getting bored though when they stopped singing and started running a motorbike competition of who was the best motorbiker going around small plots.
The thing is having twenty motorbikes rumbling and exhausting fumes in your face where you are standing or seating is pretty annoying! What about children breathing suddenly all these twenty fumes in one row and getting deaf with the noise…Beeee…On top of that Michael and Achim had arrived in Moni, so I said good-bye to Nyong and everyone and started walking back. It was raining but I had umbrella and raincoat luckily. The landscape was really foggy which made it mysterious.
After about an hour walk, it started pouring heavy rain. Luckily, a few minutes later, a motorbike going down gave me a ride to the turn at the bottom of the hill, and another one gave me another ride straight to the hotel. Friendly Indonesians!
I took a shower, changed clothes and went to meet Michael and Achim. We had a beer and chatted with a few people with who we organised a minivan for a sunrise Kelimutu for the next morning. Then we went for a walk and then for some diner. Moni was much more quiet than 2 days before and I could feel that the 300-teacher event was over.
Monday 30th April Moni
We got picked up at 4.15am at our hotel. We were 6 people. A dutch woman, Achim, Michael and me, as well as another German-French couple, Shann and Marina. They were both working in the film industry. We arrived at the parking around 5.30am and walked to the View Point. It wasn’t sunrise yet. The black lake was covered with clouds, which made it quite mysterious:
For once, the other lake was not under clouds, which was great. We waited quite a bit. The sun finally rose, getting out of clouds.
Shann was an excellent self-taught landscape photographer and lended me some filters and showed me how to use them. It is really tricky to capture without filters at the same time the sky which gets brighter and brighter, with the lake which is in the shadow of the crater. Filters are helpful for that. Here is one of my trial, not that great, but it gives an idea of the expected result.
We talked photography for a while. Later, he gave me the link to his website. Check out his incredible photos, they are really astonishing.
The clouds above the black lake disappeared slowly. We kept contemplating it, and it was indeed slightly changing colours, sometimes being a bit more of a dark blue, sometimes a bit more of a dark green, sometimes blacker again. Magic.
It took us a while before we managed to leave those 2 lakes, as they were quite fascinating. We spent some time on the way back to the third lake. I could take 100 times this picture, it is such a gorgeous place.
We saw a lot of monkeys while walking back to the parking. I had not seen any the two previous days, so maybe they get out only in the morning.
With Michael, we stopped at Martina’s stall and had some food. Then we took the small path to Pemo I had taken 2 days before, Marcus coming with us. We ran into less people that day. We arrived in Pemo and ran again in the same old woman I had photographed 2 days before, but holding a basket on her head this time, instead of a leaf against the rain.
Children were having their break in front of the school and were really happy to see us. Most remembered my name, but I could only remember a few. They posed happily with the camera, the boys having fun making different faces.
There was a really really cute little girl with a huge smile.
It started raining quite badly, so we stopped at the house of some family of Marcus. There was the little boy Robin with a huge smile too.
We continued walking, Marcus showing us around a bit. We saw this old woman having on her head a huge basket full of branches and leaves that must have been quite heavy. Incredible how strong these people are. She had a wonderful face showing the lines of times, showing how much of life she had seen. She must have so many stories to tell. Old people always make me think of mysterious books I would like to read.
We kept encountering more of the villagers with baskets on their heads, and continued walking towards Moni, getting down and down the hill. We finally saw Moni from afar, around 2pm, not as late as two days before when I had seen it at twilight and finished the walk in darkness!
We encountered a quite strange snail on our way. We couldn’t figure out if its little yellow house on top of him was part of his skin or something he could get out of. I had never seen such a snail!
We finally arrived at the waterfall.
Five minutes later and we were at the hotel, had a shower and took a nap. We were quite tired after this walk and as we had woken up quite early in the morning. We met Achim again and chilled out with him outside of the rooms, each editing photos, reading, sipping some Bintang beer while listening to Johnny Cash.
In the evening, we went to the backdoor restaurant of a guy who had talked to us the day before in the streets and told us he was doing some special dinner and that we should check it out. It was indeed delicious food, the best I ate so far in Indonesia. I discovered for the first time the banana flower, and it tastes really good. Hard to describe. Here is a picture of this evening meal.
Tomorrow, moving on to Maumere!
Bye-bye wonderful charming magic little Moni!