Day 6 – Waingapu to Maumere
The day started with me confirming my flight at the Merpati counter, before a breakfast of sate. Then it’s off to Maumere (pronounced mao-may-ray), bought some souvenirs from the airport counter.
On reaching Maumere, this guide guy came up to me and recommended Gading Beach Resort. Maumere and Flores are a definite change from Sumba. It’s mountainous and seems cooler. Much less remote. Was driven down to Gading, which opened in Aug’08, and is a very nice quiet place (90,000 Rp, with western toilets and showers. They even have a TV, though there is only one Indo channel. There’s still some building going on, the main reception building etc hasn’t been completed.. It should probably be listed in the next version of LP. A Danish couple, a German lady were the only other inhabitants on the resort.
I sold out today – Guide guy (Hironimus Manek) based in Gardena Hotel manages to sell me a package thats like 400 SGD. That includes driver, petrol over 3 days, covering travel from one end to the other, stopping by at all of the major attractions along the way. Took me like an hour to decide, I got the price down from 7,500,000 Rp (!!) to 3,250,000 (still!!) cutting down to all the basics (no guide, settle my own accommodation and food). It sucks, and could have been much cheaper if I was traveling with more people to split the cost with. But I figured, rather than trying to squeeze everything into 3 days, only seeing Kelimutu Lake, and maybe even not making that time, I’ll just plonk down the cash, travel in comfort, and catch all the sights. No waiting for buses, no squeezy bemos, plus I can stop anywhere, detour wherever I wish with the 4WD. This way too i’ll reach Labuanbajo with at least 2 full days. On the downside, I will lose out on roughing it out amongst the noisy bemos and buses. Seems like i’m still trying to convince myself that it’s money well spent. Let’s just see how it goes. =/