3rd January 2010
Once leaving Pulau Rote and returning to Kupang, I decided to buy a ticket to Flores.
So, tomorrow – yet again – new island and another new adventure! Finally going to Flores! Ready for a road trip…?
I arrived in Maumere early in the morning and hired a car and driver to take me to Moni. So, off we headed – my driver was really nice and provided a great trip. He gave a short tour of Maumere – first to the locally-famous statue of Christ and then he drove around the harbour with the coastal views and the Muslim fishing village.
Flores is really beautiful! Great scenery…hidden little villages amongst the rugged mountains. And it was immediately evident that I had entered very strong Catholic territory…85% of people in Flores are Catholic and in village areas Christianity is blended with ‘adat‘ or animist beliefs and rituals. We went to Sikka village and visited the catholic church – dating back to 24 December 1899. Sikka was one of the first Portugese settlements in Flores. A local woman provided a tour of the church and filled me in on all the history and explained that the traditional motif paintings on the walls were actually ikat motifs.
The funny thing was that when I arrived in Sikka, there was absolutely no one there but after I came out of the church I was totally bombarded by a small army of local women selling ikat! I was totally surrounded – I couldn’t move! They were all yelling at me to buy their ikat, “theirs was the best” etc…I couldn’t even see what ikat was the best or which motifs I liked the best! They were all shoving them in my face!
After a lot of hard bargaining, I bought four peices of ikat. I would have actually bought more but I couldn’t stand the women screaming at me anymore! And I wasn’t too sure how much more ikat I could squeeze into my backpack!
We continued on our journey to Moni – again stopping at lots of places along the way to take in the beautiful scenery.
We arrived in Moni late afternoon and I stayed at ‘Watugana’ Homestay. I met the family that owned the home-stay; the lovely older couple and their son Joni – a young guy with dredlocks and his sweet wife Maria. We drank tea and got to know each other – I already felt like I had reached home!