East Indonesia Day 18 – Moni – Kelimetu – Kupang

Woke at 4, and left at 4:30 on an ojek to see sunrise atop Kelimetu volcano, famous for its 3 different coloured lakes.  The steep drive on the ojek was hair-raising to say the least, it was like a race to get up to the top between Charlie’s ojek driver and mine.  We got there before anyone else who was on a far saner bus to the top, however.  We made it in an hour.  We met Nawa in the carpark, and the 3 of us walked to the top, to Inspiration Point.  Around 20 people in all were gathered up here to watch a beautiful sunrise.  As the sun rose, 2 of the 3 lakes began to glimmer with their colour.  The main lake was turquoise, the one next to it green.  Both looked to have the consistency of paint.  The third one had one of Charlie’s favourite inversion clouds over it, but it lifted after 2 hours to reveal a brown/black lake.  We supped tea as the sun rose over this immensely spiritual scene.  Kelimetu is sacred to the local people, and legend has it that the souls of the dead go to these lakes.  Young people’s souls go to the Turquoise lake, old people’s to the brown lake (green on the day I was here) and the wicked to the black lake.  It was a beautiful sunrise.  Wish I could have experienced it with someone special.

After 3 hours, everyone had gone down.  Only Charlie and I remained.  We climbed up to the lip of the green lakes mountain, perilous as the footing is loose scree and the edge is clay which gives way easily.  The photos we took, however, were well worth it.  Charlie was desperate to get a flight with me to Kupang later in the day, so he left Nawa and I to get an ojek to the hotel, then onto the airport to try and score a ticket.  Nawa and I strolled down with one of the tea sellers, who was acting as a guide.  We walked through villages, rice fields, cheered by spectacular scenery.  We had a rest at the tea seller’s house, and a cup of tea.  He had a $10 note which he wanted to convert into 100,000Rp, so Nawa obliged him.  Then we left, and I hopped on an ojek as time was running out.  The ride back felt like being dragged along corrugated iron for an hour, the bumps and peaks and troughs doing some serious damage downstairs, I was sure.

I quickly packed and headed to the airport on the back of an ojek, which took less than 2 hours and cost 100,000Rp, but came with the hazard of being exposed to the ferocious sun in the hottest part of the day.  Charlie was there.  He’d been put on standby.  It took ages to check in.  They don’t have an electronic system here, just a paper one, and check-in was painfully slow, and typically Indonesian.  Charlie was last to try to check-in.  Result!  He managed to score a seat.  I was glad, company was always nice in more remote parts of the world.  He was over the moon.  West Timor here we come!

We landed in Kupang, and got a taxi for 25,000 to Lavalon Hotel, recommended by the Lonely Planet.  Shithole.  I’ve done my share of shitholes.  I earn enough now that I don’t need to do it anymore.  I checked out another place instead, Hotel Maliana.  Nice, comfy motel-style rooms with air-con.  Kupang is one of the hottest places in Indonesia.  Air-con was a must.  I paid 150,000 for the privilege; Charlie paid 40,000rp for his barren and characterless room.  His fan didn’t even work.

We ate in the bustling night market, a snapper and calamari dinner for 100,000 each.  A wandering homeless guy, invited over by Charlie, finished our food off as we were full.  It was a nice gesture.  The area was pleasant and pedestrianised, which  happens every night.  Kupang wasn’t always this pleasant.  It didn’t use to have a night market like this, with no vehicles.  Such a step does wonders for a city, makes a place imminently more livable.  Tokyo does it at weekends.  Bogota on Sundays.  Holland Village in Singapore every night after 7.  More cities should try it.  We went to Lavalon bar after and asked for the Lonely Planet’s recommended guide for tips on our trip to Soe, NikiNiki, None, Boti, Kefa and Temkesi.  We went to bed early, for tomorrow was a long day.

Author: Neil

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