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Linda on BMW: Start of the Trip in Castellar

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Report Lombok to East-Timor

Hi again

I was lucky again with the ferry ride to Sumbawa, it was short and calm but, in the rush to get the bike off as they wanted to reload, the clutch went and they had to push me off the ferry onto shore where I got the glue out again. (This is Japanese rubbish as my German glue had dried up, oh Araldite how I miss you!)

Sumbawa was a delight to ride through, gently winding roads without too many gear changes and no steep hills, just mainly riding along the shoreline with small fishing villages. The hotel in the capitol Sembawa Besar gave me a cheap room (as they'd seen me on telly) and I crossed the rest of the island the next day to stay at the ferry terminal for the boat to Flores the next morning. It was a charming little harbour with fishing shacks all around and the kids followed me all through the streets. I saw the most amazing sunset , reflections of the rose tinted clouds in all the swamp areas around.

The ferry ride takes 8 hours to Flores but was calm again and it docked before sunset in Labuanbajo where I was able to find a friendly dive camp who let me put up my tent and invited me to the Xmas party they were having that night so I was lucky enough to have a piece of the enormous fish they were serving and some beer!

There is only one road through Flores (as in Sumbawa)but it is very twisty and the clutch gave out fairly early in the day. This is always a panic as it takes 4 hours at least for the glue to dry so I hope the replacement doesn't break too in that time. However, despite the strain of the hairpins, it held out and I climbed to higher ground and visited some more trad houses, this time of the Ngada tribe. The Sasaks were very small people with heart shaped faces, the Ngada were bigger with oblong faces; both are dark skinned.

I heard about some hot springs so headed for those and was able to put my tent up within the walls of the area. Needed help getting the bike in as it was a tricky path. I had the great experience of being in the very warm water during a heavy rain storm, so cool head, hot bottom.

Yet another lot of volcanic lakes to look at the next destination so I left early but, in pushing the bike out over a plank, guess what, glue out again. when I arrived in Moni, the village below the lakes the clouds were down, so I spent the afternoon patching my Turkish military trousers and walking round the village to view the waterfall and the ikats (local woven cloth).

I got up just before sunrise and rode up the steep, twisty road to the top of the craters to see  the 3 lakes of Kalimutu. One is black, one brown and one a vivid green. It was a nice start to the day and fortunately the clutch didn't go till I was off the mountain.

Over more mountains though, and through the rain to reach Larantuka, the ferry terminal for my last Indonesian ferry to Timor. While looking for a place to stay an Opek driver (motorbike taxi) offered to show mw and , when there were no rooms, invited me to his house. I spent the next day there in the charming company of Cornelius, his wife Veronica and their their two small baby girls. The neighbours crowded round to see me, many had never seen a fairskinned person before at such close quarters. I was able to mend and wash my filthy clothes, ready for the 15 hour boat ride the next day and the final evening many people came to wish me well and we passed a guitar around. They sang me a farewell to Larantuka folk song and I sang them Faraway friends which one English speaking guy translated for them.

The ferry didn't leave til 2pm so I went for a walk along the beach in the morning and, as the tide was out, was treated to a view of the coral rock pools with bright fishes and star fish. Amazing colours and all without having to go snorkelling (it makes me sea sick)

Veronica and Cornelius came with me to the terminal and it was a sad farewell, I really felt very fond of this lovely family.

It was chaos getting on the ferry and I was lucky the clutch held out. I had to insist that the bike was tied down and made a big fuss till it was done. Fortunately the crossing was like a mill pond and, with my thermo rest I was happy on the floor, though the nearby loo was a bit wiffy.

On arrival early the next morning I was very lucky in finding some new frames for my prescription sunglasses. The pretty plastic Gibraltar ones had given out. The lenses are 30 years old and irreplaceable and I always have a hassle finding frames to fit.

After finding an internet connection to start this report and get in touch with the boat people in Dilli I booked in to a hostel and will be here today and tomorrow, just relaxing. Soon I will have to get to East Timor and get the bike ready for shipping.

Thanks to all the wonderful people that have hosted and helped me on this part of the trip.

Love to you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS

Linda xxxxxxx


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