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July 8, 2005

April in Larantuka - the long way around

DAY: 23
LOCATION: Larantuka, Flores Island
LATITUDE : 08 degs,20.57'S
LONGITUDE: 122 degs,59.19'E

Dark blue water dotted with islands ringed by breaking surf slipped under the wing of the twin engine puddle jumper I was aboard, heading for Labuanbajo, Flores. The plan had been to fly to the east end of Flores to Larantuka to meet up with Jason, Chris and Lourdes, but, as always, the best laid plans. When I'd arrived in Bali, July 3, the only flight available to Flores landed on the farthest western point of the island, the jumping off place for Komodo Island. So, I was looking at a bus ride across the island, taking about 12 hours, I'd been informed.

When the plane landed, I was hustled into town by a local taxi, sold a bus ticket for $3, US, (I'd kindly refused their offer to drive me to Larantuka by taxi for $200, US), then spirited out of town toward the local bus terminal, 7km from the town center. But, as we passed the bus I was to ride, parked on the main street through Labuanbajo, I began to grow a bit suspicous the farther into the country we drove. This scenario was complicated by the fact that no one was speaking much English except me. The bus terminal eventually materialized, I reached for my rucksack, stepped out of the taxi, turned to grab the bag full of expedition gear and noticed with a bit of confusion, the taxi was half way to the main road with my gear still aboard! Not wanting to create an international disturbance, I began questioning the driver in a semi-loud voice if it might not be a thought to unload my last bag before leaving? In the meantime, the driver's partner and three other lads chased the taxi to the main road, retrieved my bag and hiked back to get me on the bus which had recently arrived at the terminal.

Five hours later I found myself in Ruteng for the night. The next couple of days found me on various buses, winding my way across Flores, to Ende in the south, Maumere in the north, and finally landing me in Larantuka, two and half days later. I've traversed the most spectacular island of volcanic mountain ranges, with deep valleys, which people have terraced to grow and harvest rice. Acres of banana trees, palm coconuts, small villages of thatched roof houses overlooking the coastline have given me a glimpse into this most fascinating region. Language has not been a barrier of these most helpful people as I arrived in Larantuka last evening and began searching for Jason and the crew. "Two men, English," I kept repeating to the bemo driver who smiled and held up two fingers. We made one pass down the crowded main street, then back, searching for familiar faces. The driver suddenly turned into a hotel parking lot to turn around. There stood Chris and behind him, Jason. Excitedly, I shouted, "Well done! There they are!!!" The driver looked a bit confused, then realized we'd been successful by my reactions. Rather amazing to me to locate them when I'd been out of contact for two days and no one knew exactly when I would arrive. What an adventure of the past three days and the adventure for me really hasn't even started!


Posted on July 8, 2005 2:32 PM


Hello All....

As always the adventure is wonderful to behold.

My best wishes to you April, Jason, Chris and Lourdes on your adventures yet to come.

Here on the home front I will redoubled my efforts to find a media home for the Expedition.

Be well...stay safe,


Posted by: Jake at July 9, 2005 1:40 AM

congratulations! welcome, april!

Posted by: gl. at July 9, 2005 12:38 AM