Archives for posts with tag: Perama

In Transit in Indonesia.

Awaking the next morning, slightly sore of head and body, we are arriving at the island of Rinca. Rinca is part of Komoda National Park and is a different island than the one we went to on the earlier trip. Not entirely convinced I should bother, having seen the dragons before and feeling the effects of the night before, I strap on my camera and head out with the group. Not surprisingly it’s pretty anticlimactic but it’s a chance to get my blood moving and to chat with some of the new people and actually listen to what the park ranger has to say while not being distracted by a crush.


This trip is shorter than the last one, only 2 nights, and we’re covering a lot of territory so it’s a lot of time spent on the boat. We make a couple stops to snorkel and one stop on an island where we follow a trail through a small village for about 2 kms to reach a waterfall. You can jump off the top of the falls Tarzan style and it’s wonderfully cool and refreshing so we do it repeatedly.

I also continue to avidly pursue my newfound obsession of photographing people.

Andy and I have made friends with a Spanish man named Albert and we all decide to do a bit of travel together once we get back to Lombok. Ours plans include a stop in the Gilies Islands, a trip to Nusa Lembongan (where I have been before) and we’ll finish up in Ubad on Bali.


Flores, Indonesia.

We awake in the morning refreshed and when I head downstairs for breakfast I discover that Andy has had the guys move a table and chairs outside so we don’t end up dining in the grand hall or the homey place, instead we sit with Marcello and the staff, drink some barely decent coffee and enjoy the shady coolness of the garden. We head into town for the promised coffee (it really is good) and I get to make my phone calls, happiness. We make a quick stop at a market just outside the door of the cafe before heading out of town.



Market fresh

Market fresh

It’s the final day of our road trip and we have a fair bit of road to cover so we continue along the wending highway of Flores and make a stop at a waterfall, requiring us to walk down many flights of stairs in the growing heat of the day. At the bottom the water doesn’t look too appetizing so we decide against a swim but we marvel at the sight of the mega rush of water falling inside a cave. It really makes me want to go stand underneath it, like a giant shower, but Marcello advises against it, too strong he says.

Waterfall cave.

Waterfall cave.

Back up at the top of all those stairs we encounter an adorable little child, who just won’t take his hands out of his mouth, or let go of his toy truck so (with his mother’s permission) I take his photo anyways. We also find a group of young teens just hanging out and, in exchange for getting to practice their English, they let me take their pictures as well, I’m in heaven.

Driving, driving, and more driving and then we make a stop. I don’t actually remember why we stopped here, some tourist attraction, but when we arrive Andy is not feeling well at all. We are required to hike to whatever this destination was and she just doesn’t feel up to it. I leave her to rest for a little bit in some shade and to drink some water maybe that will help. I find some more kids, more willing photography victims and snap happily away. Rejoining Andy she’s still not well and has a bit of a breakdown, I rub her back and speak soothing nonsense to her, I think she is overwhelmed with heat, too much coffee and not enough water and the terrifying prospect of getting back into the car with our sick inducing driver is all just too much for her. When she calms down a bit we talk to an older local couple and they recommend a herbal remedy. It consists of powdered ginger among other things and Andy goes for it, backing this up with some Gravol as well for good measure. While we are waiting to see if it takes effect I chat up this couple, they let me take their photos and the woman teaches me how to catch and hold a chicken without getting pecked. Not sure I would attempt this again without the professional supervision but it was neat and the chicken was surprisingly light for its size, I guess they are all feathers.

How to catch a chicken.

How to catch a chicken.

Andy starts to feel a little bit better but decides to take a pass on the hike (I’ve just remembered what it was we came to see; a series of rice paddies shaped like a spider web) and I decide not to bother either as I’m not overly entranced by the prospect. Back in the car Andy promptly passes out, which is probably the best thing for her, and I amuse myself with torturing Marcello with my musical choices and singing aloud as well. It’s mostly all driving today though we do make a brief stop for lunch where I meet a few people who become targets for my camera, knowingly or otherwise.

Finally we arrive back in Labuanbajo and find ourselves a lovely place to stay. Andy is feeling much better and we treat ourselves to a very nice dinner out, with wine and everything. A good night sleep and we have one almost full day in town before we get back on board the Perama boat for the trip back to Lombok with a whole new group of people. Andy spends the day going for a dive and I spend it at the spa, a massage, a body scrub, and a facial (which I feel asleep during, awakening with a snort). As if that wasn’t enough pampering, I went right next door afterwards and got a pedicure and for the first time in 6 months had my hair straightened. Buffed and shiny I made my way back to the hotel to wait for Andy to return from her dive. Her boat was delayed by quite a bit so I packed all her stuff up, left it at the Perama office for her and headed down to the boat for my second welcome/goodbye party. Andy made it to the boat in enough time and we had a lively evening (no Italians for me this time) that cumulated in me thinking that trying to chimpanzee across some metal bars would be a good idea and discovering about halfway across that I was, in fact, too inebriated to do what I was thinking I could do and falling heavily to the floor. Drunk logic, never good, it always leads to poor decision making but you never seem to remember that when you’ve had a few. Fortunately I only had a couple bruises to show for my stupidity. We went to bed on the deck again, ready to revisit the Komodo Dragons in the morning.

Another early wake up, we see the sun rising as we cover the last little way towards Komodo Island. We are traveling through a channel between 2 land masses and the water is weird here, lots of little whirlpools and odd looking currents running in unpredictable directions. We are all eating breakfast, buffet style as usual, when the boat hits what must have been a very big whirlpool, the deck tips rapidly and food and hot beverages go flying, fortunately the boat rights itself quickly and the crew have the mess cleaned up and food replaced so fast that 2 minutes after it happened you couldn’t even tell.

Arriving onto the island we are split into 2 groups and each group has 2 Rangers. Each Ranger carries a stick taller than their height; the stick is forked near the end and quite sturdy. This is to keep the dragons at bay in case they come towards us as they are wont to do apparently. We are also informed (a bit late I might add) that if any of the women are `at that time of the month` it is not advised that they do the tour as the dragons can smell it and will likely attack, information that might have been provided when booking one would think. Fortunately none of us ladies has Aunt Flo visiting (or none of us admit to it anyways) so everyone gets to go see the dragons.

It`s about an hour hike through a dry landscape, this is not the rainforest. The dragons aren’t caged, they roam wild in the area we are walking in, one Ranger in the front talks about various plants and other wildlife we see while another Ranger brings up the rear, watching our backs. We see a small dragon right away, it`s quite young and looks very much like a large monitor lizard, we all take about a billion photographs of course. We continue our walk and see lots of wild deer, some beautiful white cockatoos and a couple more Komodo Dragons, each one successively bigger than the one before it. The last one is longer than I am tall, and probably outweighs me by about 50 to 70 pounds. He is laying on the trail as we approach and lazes around for a bit, blocking our way, until it decides to start heading down the path in front of us. We follow him, jockeying for positions near the front on the narrow path so we can get more pictures.


Showing a little tongue for the close up.

We finish the hike at an area where the Rangers live and it`s here that we see the most dragons, they come and hang out around here because they can smell the food the Rangers cook and it attracts them. There must be about eight of them, hanging out, lurking in the shadows under the stilted buildings. Everyone goes photo crazy and the poor Rangers have their work cut out for them trying to make sure we are all safe. As we head to the pier to get our ride back to the boat we pass through a gauntlet of souvenir touts selling sarongs and Komodo t-shirts, “real” pearls and carved Komodo Dragons.

The typical landscape we are traveling through.

It’s time for more travel, spending that time lounging around the boat, napping, sunbathing, reading, flirting with “The Italian”, etc. etc. In the afternoon we hit up our last snorkel spot, a place called Pink Beach. It`s pink because mixed in with the creamy white sand are tiny pieces of coral coloured coral, it`s subtle but quite pretty when you see it close up. It`s the prettiest beach we’ve visited, made even more so by knowing it`s our last stop,  there is that sense of bittersweetness that happens at the end of a journey, you are excited about the place you will be visiting but know that everyone will be parting and the company has been lovely. A couple of the girls find a half of a giant clam shell, it`s been bleached by the sun to a perfect white and I can imagine it being home to a miniature Venus. I get this shot as a memento of “The Italian”, a perfect Michelangelo moment.

“The Italian”

As we are nearing Flores, our final destination,  a couple of dolphins come alongside to play in the wake from the boat, we are all mesmerized, lots of ohs and ahs and giggles, what a perfect ending. Those of us who are disembarking do so once we arrive in Labuanbajo, some people are staying on board for the 2 day return trip to Lombok (including “The Italian” sigh). There is a farewell party back on board tonight though, so we find accommodation, get cleaned up and head back for final farewells. It’s a fun night and my 3 day Italian flirtation cumulates into kisses under the stars.

Waking early, with the sunrise, we have almost arrived at our first location, a saltwater lake, formed when the top of a volcano blew off and the sea rushed in to filled the gap. There may be little fish here that like to nibble on your toes, like the fish spas all over SE Asia, I’m not thrilled by this prospect, yuck. We breakfast and then head on over to the island. A short hike up a steep hill and we get a view over the ocean and the lake at the same time. Our guide, the lovely Gary gives us some history about the place which, frankly, I don`t listen to. Back down the hill and we head to the lake. The water is murky and there is greenish brown algae covering all the rocks visible at the water’s edge. Not too enticing but I decide to go in anyways, it’s early in the morning, I haven’t showered today and maybe it’ll wake me up a bit. I wander off along the rocky shore a little bit away from the others, strip down to my suit and jump in. It is refreshing actually and thankfully there aren’t any of the nibbly fish. It’s not that I’m scared of these fish; it’s that when I have seen them in fish spas all over SE Asia it has grossed me out, chewing on dirty tourist feet all day, day after day, in the same water, ew.

Nobody seems overly impressed with the lake, only about half of us even bother going in. It’s a short walk over a small hump of land back to the beach we arrived on and most of us head back there early. This is definitely a filler activity on the way to Komodo. Back on board we get underway again, still moving eastward. Our next scheduled stop of the day  is for snorkeling, due to the tides we have to anchor fairly far out from the site and swim through deep water to get to where it’ll be good. Andy and I have teamed up as snorkel buddies, we both wanted it, having someone keep an eye on my back always makes me feel much more comfortable in the water, her as well. So we buddy up and explore, staying in the water for almost an hour. The swim back to the boat is long and a little creepy being in such deep water but the snorkel was good.

We’re in for an afternoon of travel now, and the seas are a bit rough, some people start to feel nauseous. Plus most of us are pretty tired from the early morning and activities of the day. Sea sickness pills are offered around, I take some as a preventative measure, for some people it’s too late they’re already feeling awful. The deck slowly becomes covered in randomly scattered mats, the ones we use for our beds at night, as more and more people succumb to naps.

It’s probably planned but the crew takes pity on us and we make a stop near sunset at a beach made up of tiny shells and rocks. The crew have caught some fish while we were snorkeling today and they bring them ashore to gut, cover in sauce and then cook over a wood fire they start. We all just hang out, have a short stroll, taking photos and having beers and enjoying the sight of the sun setting and the smells of the fish cooking.


Once the fish has cooked and darkness has fallen the first boatload of us are taken back to the big boat, it usually takes 3 trips to get us all back. When the boat returns to the beach there is a problem and the engine will not turn over, they have to paddle the tender back empty, while everyone stays on the beach, to get the tools to fix it. With typical Indonesian ingenuity and a bit of muscle, they whip it back into shape and everyone arrives back on board eventually. Dinnertime and it’s not the fish they just cooked (we get it tomorrow at lunch made into a curry) but it’s plentiful, I’m actually impressed by the quality and quantity of food provided on this boat.

We all spread out on deck again, socializing. The water is still rough so it’s all fairly low key. “The Italian” and I have engaged in some low level flirting, it’s tricky with the language barrier, his English is not so good and my Italian is essentially non-existent, but the chemistry is there (to my surprise) and the flirtation is subtle and ongoing.