Friday 4th May Deturia to Detunaka
We woke up around 7am and walked to Pak Goris house to have breakfast with him and his family. We signed the Guest Book, and realised that we were the 7th and 8th tourists visiting the village since the first person who had come and signed the book in 2009! The first six people who had come were a teacher, a journalist, a psychanalist, an anthropologist, the woman writing the book for Swisscontact and a guide! Reading that, I had a long thought about what I was that day and hesitated a long time between queen of a remote land, princess, fairy, magician, witch and a few more other fantastic jobs. I shortened the list to some more reasonable ones, astronaut, traveller, private detective, fisherwoman, poker player, still a hard choice to make. I finally chose “explorator”. Alright…not even getting it right as I should have written explorer, ahah! Oh well…
Little Enrico made me laugh that morning, holding the new little dog awkwardly, like if it was just a toy. Poor little dog.
One of the dog had been named “Bandera”, and seemed to be the chief of the dogs there. He had a very strong personality, very interesting face. He would have started talking to me that I would not have been surprised!
Two girls were playing outside a game on the ground with some rubber bands.
After breakfast, we went to the house courtyard of John and his wife who had welcomed me the previous day with the scarf. Some of the women and men of the village were dressed traditionally and had organised a traditional dancing and singing for us to tell us about the story of Tiwu Sora lake. Simon and his sister were the main characters dancing the story while the men and women behind were singing it.
Simon and his sister were really getting into it, singing passionately and expressing the different emotions on their faces, concentrated.
We danced with them and tried to sing with them the second time, it was a beautiful moment, a feeling of getting closer to a culture for a few minutes, of getting a better grisp of ancestral traditions.
After that, we had some coffee in the house of John with everyone around. Then Pak Goris, Ardus, Michael and me said good-bye to the villagers and started walking in the direction of Detunaka. There were many moments where finding the path was hard, and where we could feel that we would have got lost alone. We were happy to have Pak Goris as a guide.
The landscape remained gorgeous on that walk too. Here is part of the village of Deturia seen from afar.
We arrived at a point where we could see the Tiwu Sora lake from above and its beautiful surroundings.
We walked in the forest for an hour, and it was full of tiny leeches, beeeee! Much smaller than the ones I had seen in Taman Negara in Malaysia, and really sneaky, managing to get inside via any little hole they could find. I kept stopping every 20 seconds and checking my shoes and always found some climbing them that I had to remove. I was too busy with taking them off to even try to stop and photograph them. Those leeches, aaaarggggh!!! Here is the forest we went through.
Here is the forest in the background in which we walked, and the top of the hill going down is the path we took to arrive where I was standing when taking the picture.
We stopped and had some simple rice with dried salty fish that the women of the village had prepared for us. I really liked the way the rice had been wrapped in a banana leaf.
We had a great view while eating.
We continued walking towards Detunaka, and I focused on the leeches continuing climbing my shoes, ma euh. We arrived end of afternoon and saw first a few girls holding water containers going to the waterfall to fill them.
Some kids from other villages around as well as from Detunaka came with us to the Murusobe waterfall which was nearby. It was full of leeches, and a bit hard to access to get really close to it, but these Twin waterfalls were about 100 meters high, and the view was really stunning.
The vegetation at the top especially was really green and dense.
There were some tiny little birds flying around, having their nest at the top, and diving close to the water to catch insects and bring them back, really impressive. Goris, Ardus and Michael went swimming in the little lake created, but all girls there were swimming in pant and t-shirt so I didn’t feel like going in a bikini surrounded by 50 pair of eyes, neither keeping my only pant on while swimming! On top of that, the water was freezing, so I didn’t have any regret not going!
We passed again the small natural swimming pool from in which the kids were now having fun jumping from the rock.
We walked to Detunaka where we were welcomed as the day before by the entire village, curious to see these tourists coming in. We sat there on chairs with Pak Goris, outside of the house of the head of the village, waiting for him to come back from somewhere. While waiting, we were scrutinised by 100 curious pair of eyes. To break the silence, I started learning the firstname of each of them, especially the kids and we had a good laugh although they were really shy.
The head of the village Johannes arrived and we were invited in his house. They had a special room for guests, simple but really cosy, in which we put our bags. As it wasn’t too cold yet, I went for a shower in the little wood shower room they had in the backyard and used the basket to pour the cold water on me and use soap. In the evening, we “chatted”, chilled out with them.
I went outside and a few 10-14 year old children were starting taking care of the main meal: chicken. I followed the process of them catching one of their chicken which had being born here and lived mostly in their courtyard, taking care of himself by eating the insects and worms around it, what chickens normally do in Asia. They killed it in a way old of a thousand years by banging his head against the table a few times. Then they took the feathers away, boiled some water. Johannes and his wife Maria-Sophia took care of cutting all the different parts. They put it in the boiling water, and a bit later that meal was on our table, ready to be served with delicious rice and chicken sauce.
Now, I had met so many vegetarians on my trip and chatted with them that I had become a vegetarian myself for those last three months, for the main reason that when you eat vegetables, it consumes less food and water itself that the meat you eat. But does it make sense to be a vegetarian in Asia where the way of growing animals has remained a traditional way for thousands of years? It can be a very touchy subject and is definitely a good debate, should we, should we not, and I am not here to talk in length about it, but I didn’t feel guilty that evening switching back to honouring my guests by accepting the precious chicken meat they had killed and eating meat while as I knew where it came from and how it had been fed and killed and prepared and decided that I would put my internal debate aside for that evening at least and come back to it later.
Here is Maria Sophia, the wife of Johannes, in her kitchen. To me, this kitchen was a precious treasure, so rare and unique to my eyes like a jewel, a kitchen as we don’t see anymore in our Western world.
Here was the table, setup and ready for us to eat. On the left on the picture, Pak Goris, and on his left with the blue grey and black striped t-shirt, Johannes, the head of Detunaka, with Ardus standing behind him with a yellow T-shirt.
The meal was delicious, and we had a great evening, finishing with some nice talk in a mix of English/ Indonesian and some great arak, the young arak and the more distilled one, home-made by Pedro, the man with grey hair you can see on the right on the photo just above.
Saturday 5th May Detunaka to Maumere
In the morning, the kids were in front of the house of Johannes in their uniform, saying good-bye to us and ready to go to school.
It was a really pretty village.
We left the village around 10am. We started walking to the main sealed road, passing a lot of other villages on our way, full of pair of eyes curious about us. We walked and were supposed to meet Pak Ignas’driver but he wasn’t there so we kept walking on the road. We saw a dog with a blue eye and a brown eye in one of the village.
There were lots of beautiful dragonflies flying around, blue, red, orange. I especially liked the black and green ones!
We stopped at some point and Goris tried to call the driver, but the reception was quite hectic. I didn’t really want to stop again. I was getting tired of being looked at so intensively by so many pairs of eyes. I love interacting with locals, but I also have my limits and almost six months in Asia were enough! I had realised while taking the bemo from Labuanbajo and starting my way east of the island that I needed a change of landscape. I realised that day even more that I was really not enjoying it that much anymore and really needed a change in order to appreciate it again.
I left and continued walking down the road, joined soon by Ardus. We stopped at a bridge and went to just put our legs in the water while waiting.
Pak Goris and Michael arrived a bit later. Goris had finally managed to call the driver who had explained that the road he wanted to take had been shut, and Goris had explained him where we were and the driver had turned around from where he was to come and meet us. He was there finally, and took us to a restaurant on the beach where we met with Pak Ignas. He told us that it had taken him 3 hours and a lot of efforts and sweating to get the car out of the road where we had left him stuck. It was nice to see him again and to know he was doing good. He left shortly with 3 Dutch tourists he was taking on tour for 10 days around Flores.
We ordered a big fish for the five of us.
After that, the driver took us to Kota Beach, a gorgeous little beach quite remote.
There was a man having a nap on the beach with his machete nearby and it felt like if he was dead, a machete in his neck, ahah!
We had a swim there in the little waves.
Then we walked to the other part of the beach which was more rocky. A few little girls were walking around, picking up some shells to eat or sell later.
We went back end of afternoon, and got back to the hotel. I was supposed to get my passeport back, but Pak Beni told me that it was ready but they could not have given it to him the Friday, but that he would get it for me the Monday morning at 7am and bring it to me at the airport. As the plane was at 9am, I refused. I said that in that case, they should not have made the visa and that he knew that I needed my passeport as we were leaving early the Monday. I asked him to call his friend and get the passeport that evening or the next day, whatever way he needed. There was no way I was taking the risk of leaving Flores without my passeport. He called his friend of the immigration and that friend came and brought the passeport and all done. Pfiou…
We went for some food. There was not much choice in Maumere around where we were staying. We didn’t get the feel for that city and were happy to know we were leaving it soon. On the way back we saw the moon circled around with a strange halo.
Back in Maumere for a day!