We live in this system where stress is present everywhere. At the workplace, in our social life … it’s basically omnipresent. It can be very hard if you don’t have a counter balance to battle it and clear your mind of the anxiety that it brings. My answer to this has always been photography. In […]
by Adrian Crapciu
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There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Prin ’99 salivam în faţa monitorului cu încă vreo 4-5 prieteni uitându-ne la video-uri cu skate-eri şi bmx-eri de prin State. După câteva filmuleţe ieşeam pompaţi pe stradă şi încercam să găsim spot-uri în care să ne dăm. Nu puteam decât să visam la un skatepark. Între timp unii dintre noi plictisindu-se să mai aştepte […]
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
13 iulie 2014, duminică dimineața. Sac de dormit, hamac, 3 tricouri, 2 pantaloni scurți, echipament de snorkeling, pelerină de ploaie, cuțit, echipament foto. Rucsacul e plin.
O clipă de ezitare mă încearcă. De ce plec? Nu mai bine… . Methene învechite ale minții, nu am timp de voi. Am plecat.
În fața noastră, 3000 de km împrăștiați pe 5 insule: Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa și Flores. Spun a noastră pentru că nu am plecat singur, tovarăș de drum îmi este motorul, o Honda CB din 1982. Am recuperat-o acum 8 luni din garajul unui pak (bătrânel), a fost dragoste la prima vedere.
Dacă ești nemulțumit de traficul de la noi, te invit să conduci o oră în Java. În cazul în care vei supraviețui le vei mulțumi tuturor sfinților că te-ai născut în România. După o oră de slalom printre gropi, scootere, camioane, autobuze și alte mașinării, opresc pe marginea drumului la un waroeng. Cer un Kopi ABC panas. Femeia strecoară cafeaua printr-un ciorap și adaugă două linguri mari de zahăr. Ciudat, mă relaxează. Și așa, radiind de colesterol și mulțumire, mă întorc la drumul meu.
Cât timp o să dureze? Ce o să vizitez? Unde am să dorm? La toate întrebările astea am doar un singur răspuns: nu știu! Oricât de nebunesc ar suna, nu am un plan. Știu doar că mă îndrept spre est. Traseul e destul de habar n-am-ist, dar în principiu plec din Surakarta, Java Centrală, Indonezia și aș vrea să ajung până în Maumere, Flores, iar de acolo să iau ferry-ul înapoi spre Java. Dacă nu, mai vedem.
Opt ore mai târziu și 250 km mai la est intru pe poarta templului hindus Rambut Monte, situat la 6 km de craterul vulcanului Kelud. Ultima erupție a avut loc doar acum 6 luni, norul de cenușă ajungând la 500 km distanță până în Java de Vest. Un lucru greu de digerat de o minte vestică este că în Java sunt nici mai mult nici mai puțin de 45 de vulcani activi. Orice om întreg la minte s-ar întreba de ce acești oameni trăiesc atât de aproape de crater. Motivul e simplu: oamenii își risca viață pentru un lucru de bază, mâncarea, solul vulcanic fiind foarte fertil. În țara asta ești la mila naturii, ăsta-i adevărul, dar mai e ceva, faptul că știi că totul poate sări în aer și se poate transforma în scrum te face să apreciezi un loc ca ăsta.
Ca să marchez prima noapte de nomad, îmi întind sacul de dormit sub un acoperământ lângă templu. Se pare că ultimele 9 luni petrecute în Java, Indonezia, au lucrat în mod subtil asupra fricilor și anxietăților dobândite în primii 30 de ani de viață. Când a fost ultima dată când te-ai aventurat în lume? Fiecare e mânat de ceva să facă saltul în gol, să ignore ceea ce pare logic, rezonabil. În cazul meu, copilul curios s-a trezit din letargie. Visa să se piardă pe insulele estice ale Indoneziei. L-am urmat.
Dimineața mă trezesc în zgomot de petarde, supravegheat îndeaproape de 3 copii. Cum am făcut ochi au și fugit de lângă mine. Curios, îi urmăresc pe pici până în curtea școlii. Se pare că astăzi e prima zi de școală în Indonezia.
Sunt 350 de kilometri din sat până în portul Banyuwangi. Nu stau prea mult pe gânduri și plec la drum, vreau să profit de răcoarea dimineții. Drumul coboară întortocheat, printre sate, petece de pădure și orezării către unul dintre cele mai aglomerate drumuri pe care mi-a fost dat să conduc. Cuprins de senzația aceea de încântare amețitoare, pe care o ai atunci când te trezești liber pe un teritoriu nou și necunoscut, astăzi m-am încăpățânat să ajung în Bali. Dar parcă soarele necruțător și ceilalți șoferi vor să-mi testeze voința. Într-un final, la 9 seara, după doar 8 ore de condus, o oră pe ferry, 6 pauze de realimentare și rehidratare – cred că am băut cel puțin 4 litri de apa – calc pe insulă zeilor, Bali. Opresc la primul waroeng ce-mi iese în cale, înfulec un nași goreng (orez prăjit) picant cu peste și plec în căutarea unui loc de dormit. Și cum, în Bali, templele sunt mai numeroase ca bisericile la noi, mi-am ales templul din pădurea de lângă port, sper să nu deranjez nici o zeitate, noapte bună.
Bali, insula turiștilor și a zeilor.
Dimineață, un grup de vaci insistă să mă trezesc mai devreme decât aș vrea. Îmi încep ziua cu un mic dejun copios direct pe plajă-orez cu pui prăjit, sos extra picant și cafea instant servită la pungă. Vrei să știi ce aromă avea? De zahăr cu gust de cafea. Cam așa se servește cafeaua în Indonezia, cu mult, foarte mult zahăr. După o oră de inactivitate mintală odihnitoare, timp în care am privit pescarii în rutină lor plec mai departe, spre Canggu, undeva în nordul Bali-ului de sud. Nu te aștepta acum la povești despre templele balineze sau alte atracții turistice pentru că nu am de gând să vizitez. Că să fiu sincer în prima zi nici nu am ieșit din hommestay, toată ziua am moțăit în hamac la umbra cocotierilor. O activitate lispsita de orice pericol la prima vedere, dar care, aveam să aflu mai târziu, că nu e chiar așa. Statistic vorbind se pare că este de zece ori mai probabil să mori lovit de o nucă de cocos decât atacat de un rechin. Anual se înregistrează în jur de 150 de accidente, în majoritatea cazurilor oamenii trăgeau un pui de somn sub cocotier, o “siesta” din care nu s-au mai trezit. Eu am fost ceva mai norocos, având în vedere că mă citești acum. Din motive pe care le pun pe seama sorții sunt obligat să lenevesc în Bali 4 zile, un grup de turiști au plecat pur și simplu cu casca mea într-o excursie în nord. Timp îndeajuns să mă odihnesc și să explorez sudul Bali-ului, mai exact zona Kuta. Până în anii ’70, Kuta era un sătuc de pescari, fără clădiri înalte, cu străzi prăfuite, în care oamenii își duceau viața liniștiți. În doar 40 de ani satul a devenit epicentrul turismului de masă din Bali. Este pentru prima dată în Indonezia când văd pe străzi mai mulți turiști vestici decât localnici. Iar turiștii au adus cu ei mall-uri, hoteluri de sticlă și beton, restaurante, terenuri de golf și toate celelalte.
Zgomotos, aglomerat și haotic ar fi adjectivele cele mai potrivite pentru a descrie sudul Bali-ului. Cu toate acestea, plajele sunt de o frumusețe nemaipomenită, mari, cu valuri lungi, perfecte pentru surfing, iar marea de un albastru intens. Aerul este plăcut și proaspăt, însoțit de mireasma distinctă a sării de mare.
Astea 4 zile au fost exact ce aveam nevoie. Destul timp să mă relaxez, și să-mi dau seamă că, în primele 2 zile de călătorie, în loc să mă bucur de locurile și oamenii din jur, mi-am ocupat timpul cu harta, verificând obsesiv dacă sunt pe drumul cel bun. Destul, santai mas! (relaxeaza-te)
Nu e lux, dar e acoperiș și saltea.
Teoretic, doar 2 ore de condus și alte 4 pe ferry mă despart de Lombok, următoarea insulă la est de Bali. Însă zeii balinezi se pare că vor să mă testeze azi. După doar o jumătate de oră de condus, maneta de la ambreiaj s-a rupt. În mod normal nu ar fi nici o problemă, în Indonezia găsești un atelier mecanic la fiecare kilometru, însă azi e duminică și totul e închis. Am reușit să improvizez ceva care să țină exact până în fața primului servis găsit deschis. Experiența mea cu mecanicii din Indonezia nu este una prea bună – după ultima vizită, la nici 10 minute după ce am recuperat motorul, bujia a sărit ca un glonț, aterizând la câteva zeci de metri. De data asta prefer să nu risc și schimb manetă singur. Un bule (apelativ dat albilor) își repară singur motorul? Nu e ceva ce vezi în fiecare zi, așa că mecanicul a decis să imortalize momentul – poza sigur a adunat câteva sute de like-uri.
Apusul mă prinde pe versantul nordic al Vulcanului Rinjani. În ultimele patru zile am trăit ca un nomad, am dormit direct pe plajă sub cerul înstelat și am făcut baie doar în mare. Cred că e timpul pentru un dus normal. Sunt ghidat de localnici către ceea ce pare un resort de lux în mijlocul orezăriilor. Nici nu am timp să zic ”Hello” că proprietarul, un neamț, mă întâmpina cu: “Sorry we are full.” Oricum nu am bani de locul ăsta.
– Dacă vrei poți să dormi la mine, nu e lux dar ai un acoperiș și saltea. Toaleta e afară și nu e apă caldă. Îmi spune Ramoen, unul dintre angajați, în timp ce mă suiam pe motor.
– Păi nici nu vreau mai mult, terima kasih – mulțumesc.
Comportamentul prietenos al indonezienilor, cu totul sincer și spontan, nu contenește să mă uimească și să mă încânte. Oamenii ăștia trăiesc în niște condiții spartane, dar sunt așa de bucuroși să mă primească încât pun pe podea tot ce au mai bun. Se pare că nici cafeaua nici cele 2 linguri de zahăr puse în ea nu reușesc să mă țină treaz, adorm între povești, îmi pare rău, reluăm mâine de unde am rămas.
Șase dimineață, astăzi niște cocoși se încăpățânează să mă trezească. Mă spăl pe față cu apa rece din pârâiaș și ies în grădină. Atâta frumusețe mai vezi doar în poze. Pădurea tropicală de pe versantul nordic al vulcanului Rinjani coboară din cer și se scufundă în mare. Ramoen mă anunță că azi și-a luat liber special pentru mine. Va fi ghidul meu personal. După o oră de echilibristică pintre terasele de orez, ne îndreptăm spre pădurea sacră de deasupra satului. Se spune că aici se adăpostesc sufletele strămoșilor, nu știu nu am văzut nici unul, ce știu e că în viața mea nu am văzut arbori așa de uriași. Căldura și umiditatea excesivă mă copleșesc, după vreo 5 ore și cel puțin 2 litri de transpirație, epuizați, ne întoarcem acasă. Înainte de orice savurăm încă o cafea Lombok să ne recuperăm puterile și apoi gustăm niște orez cu legume și pește uscat. Mulțumesc Ramoen pentru tot.
Întotdeauna să ai grijă la vecinii din est.
E 5 după-masă, hămesit de foame de pe ferry-ul Lombok – Sumbawa, mă opresc în portul Potato Tano să mănânc ceva. “Dacă nu ai unde dormi, întreabă la un templu, la moschee, la stația de benzină sau la poliție. Nu uită, hârtia igienică, nu face parte din eticheta toaletei islamice .” – cred că e cel mai folositor sfat primit de la Denok, o prietenă din Indonezia. La temple și benzinării am tot dormit, oare cum ar fi la Poliție? Nici nu-mi termin bina gândul că un băiat în uniformă își face apariția:
– Selamat sore mister. (Bună seară)
– Selamat sore. Scuză-mă, știi cât mai e până la următorul oraș?
– O oră, dar e periculos acum, seară e mafie pe drum, te amenință cu pistolul și îți ia motorul.
– OK, păi atunci, pot dormi la voi?
– Hai și vorbește cu comandantul.
Deja știu pe de rost întrebările standard : “De unde ești? Încotro? Unde ai învățat Indoneziană? Ești căsătorit? Ce religie ești?”. Cred că le aud de cel puțin de 10 ori pe zi. Trec cu brio interviul, pot rămâne peste noapte. Încerc să-i descos de ceva povești, dar se pare că băieții preferă să urmărească telenove Indiene pe youtube și să se maimuțărească cu armele în fața mobilului. Păi și cum rămâne cu hoții de pe drum? Dacă e să mă întrebi pe mine cred că nici nu există. Am observat că în Indonezia oamenilor le e frică, de vecinul de la est. În Java am fost atenționat de hoții din Bali, în Bali de hoții din Lombok, în Lombok mi s-a spus că oamenii din Sumbawa sunt duri și să am grijă. Probabil o meteahnă mai veche de pe vremea când mai erau încă triburi.
Patru dimineța, mă trezesc și fără să mă lungesc prea mult împachetez totul și în 20 de minute am plecat. Farul nu mă prea ajută, mă chinui să-l reglez dar nu e destul de puternic, tehnologie de acum 33 de ani, nu mă grăbesc oricum e răcoare afară. Opresc la prima benzinărie, alimentez, maxim 4 litri, mai mult nu pot, rezervorul e plin de găuri în partea superioară și plec mai departe, mi-e poftă de o cafea și un nași goreng. Știu locul perfect, la piața de dimineață găsești cea mai bună mâncare tradițională.
– Aveți mâncare?
– E Ramadhan mister, ziua nu mâncăm, numai noaptea.
– Păi eu nu sunt musulmam, eu am voie să mânc.
– Nu avem mâncare.
– Nu se poate nici cafea.
Cu greu găsesc doi ananași, îi cumpăr și plec mai departe, azi sunt frugivor. Dacă din Java până în Lombok, așezările erau înlănțuite una după altă de-a lungul drumului, Sumbawa e mai pustie. Mi-e cald și foame, mă opresc în fiecare sat ce-mi iese în cale, cu speranța că găsesc un ateu ce vinde mâncare. Nu am noroc. Oamenilor, mie nu-mi ajung doar fructele, am nevoie de orez!
Cu coada ochiului, la nici 200 de metri în partea stânga, zăresc un cătun așezat parcă pe apă. Asta e ceva nou, îmi zic. Nici nu întru bine în sat și e larmă mare:”misterrr, misterrr”. Un puști îndrăzneț, de nici 10 ani, cocoțat pe un scooter de 3 ori mai mare că el, se ia după mine:
– Mister, mister, bună mister.
– Unde mergi mister?
– Nici eu nu știu, spre est.
– Ce faci aici mister?
– Mă uit și eu la casele voastre pe apa.
– Mister, mister unde dormi?
– Mă uit la soare și-mi dau seamă că am pierdut noțiunea timpului, e aproape apus.
– Nu știu, știi cine e șeful satului?
– Da, mister, e unchiul meu.
O oră mai târziu motorul dorme în grădină iar eu urmează să servesc prima masă adevărată pe ziua de azi. Orez, cât de mult mi-a lipsit! Seara, la povești cu tatăl familiei, aflu că majoritatea localnicilor sunt de etnie Bajo, renumiții nomazi ai mărilor. Bunicii lor își petreceau întreagă viață pe apa, pe bărci de lemn, revenind la țărm doar o data la câteva luni și sufereau de o formă inversă a râului de mare, dacă petreceau mai mult timp pe uscat. Cu timpul viața oamenilor Bajo s-a schimbat. Deși depind în continuare de bărci pentru a-și asigura traiul, majoritatea trăiesc de-a lungul țărmului, în case de bambus, construite pe stâlpi deasupra apei. Mânat de curiozitate decid să rămân în satul bajo pentru câteva zile.
Revelaţii în junglă.
De trei zile m-am afundat în pădurea tropicală și nu reușesc să mă satur de peisaje. Mă opresc la fiecare belvedere să savurez priveliștea alături de o gogoașă și o cafea. După cum am fost avertizat încă din Java, insula Flores e altceva, e sălbatică, e junglă adevărată. Singură modalitate de a străbate insulă de la vest la est este direct prin pădurea tropicală, pe un drum de 550 de km aproape întotdeauna asfaltat, laț exact cât 2 mașini, pe care guvernul indonezian se încăpățânează să îl numească Autostrada TransFlores. Pesemne că proiectanții de drumuri din Indonezia sunt mari amatori de roller-coastere, șoseaua e o înlănțuire de curbe amețitoare imbricate din loc în loc cu porțiuni în care te iau amețelile când vezi drumul urcând sau coborând muntele drept. La deal cu viteza I, de coborât am coborât la fel, cu motorul urlând, cu mână dreaptă pe frâna de mână, cu piciorul gata să apelez la frâna de spate, de parcă ar fi funcționat. Aș putea să-i reproșez multe Hondei, frâna de picior nu functionează, în rezervorul plin de găuri nu încap mai mult de 4l de benzină, din toate luminile doar farul mai funcționează, suspensia față este aproape blocată, vitezometrul și kilometrajul nu funcționează, însă adevărul e că între noi s-a creat o conexiune. Mi-e limpede de ce motocicletele dau dependență. Pe două roți ai orizontul deschis înainte și ești direct conectat la natură, nu există nici o cușcă protectoare între ține și împrejurimi, ești intim cu vântul și ploaia care-ți bat direct în față.
Părăsesc drumul asfaltat la una din intersecții, instinctiv o iau către versantul sudic al vulcanului din zare care se termină prapăstios în apă. De aici drumul devine o adevărată aventură: gropi, bolovani gigantici, nisip și ocazional valuri. După o oră de luptă, extenuat, mă opresc să reevaluez situația, continui sau mă întorc? De undeva din mijlocul junglei aud muzică și hotăresc să urmăresc sunetul. Zece minute mai târziu un zid de boxe îmi ies in cale. Măi oameni, voi sunteți nebuni, treziți toată junglă?
Un bărbat la 60 de ani, cu șapca de căpitan de vas, se apropie și mă invită la petrecere – e nuntă. De pe drum direct la petrecere, nu am timp nici să-mi desfac bagajele ce să mai vorbesc de duș. Seara se termină târziu după prea multe pahare de sopi (vin de palmier) si nuci de areca .
Încep să realizez că prefer turele independente, în afara potecilor bătătorite de sute de turiști. Acest tip de călătorie este pentru mine mult mai provocator și mai personal. În loc să vezi tot ce este “de văzut”, tu îți faci damblaua ta, iar dacă asta inseamnă să petreci câteva zile sau chiar săptămâni în jurul unui sat uitat de lume în mijlocul junglei sau pe una din miile de plaje, cu atât mai bine.
Se pare insă că “civilizația” nu mă lasă chiar așa ușor să mă rup de ea. Deoarece nu-mi mai găsesc cardul, trebuie să ajung într-un loc cu semnal GSM să-l blochez. Între timp primesc vești din Surakarta: “In 2 săptămani trebuie să te prezinți la biroul de emigrări din Surakarta să-ți refaci viză.” Tocmai acum când am început să gust din viața de nomad. Știi ce? îmi spun. Asta a fost doar o introducere, Indonezia mai are 17.000 de insule și eu incă un an aici.
Ultimii bani pe care îi mai am în buzunar? Jumătate se duc pe un loc pe barcă, pentru mine și motor, iar cu restul de 70 de dolari trebuie să ajung pană în Maumere, 250 km mai la est, și să supraviețuiesc pentru 2 săptămani. Greu, dar nu imposibil.
More than 2 years ago I took the most irrational decision in my life: “I quit everything and I went to Indonesia” and it proved to be the wisest one.
What happened in these two years beat my wildest dreams. I learned Indonesian language, I traveled 3000 km alone with a motorcycle across five islands, I’ve climbed two active volcanoes, I’ve crushed a royal wedding, I slept on beaches under the stars while camping near fishermen villages in Maluku archipelago, I’ve free-dived with Bajo people – the sea gypsies, I’ve experienced ten days of complete silence, I’ve traveled for five days on a boat with 1000 Indonesians, for 1 month I lost myself in the tropical forest of Kalimantan along the Kapuas river, I observed environment influence on people behaviors and beliefs, I had a photo exhibition, I survived 1 month eating almost only rice, together with Tessa Moult-Milewska made a documentary about the people living on Komodo Island and probably my favorite experience so far I’ve climbed a coconut tree, at 10 m above the ground with no safety it’s a bit scary.
By now probably you think I am rich, but really from materialistic point of view I am not. What I understand from all this is that whatever you aspire to do, it comes down to these two things: daring and asking.
Daring because at one point you’ve got to go out, pick a path and believe it’s going to work out, even if there’s a chance it wont. You also need to remind yourself that if it doesn’t work, it’s okay, failure isn’t a disaster, you just need to find another way.
Asking, because you can’t do everything alone. We’re taught to believe asking is shameful, because it makes us weak, but it’s not true. When I ask, I’ve got your attention. I am made vulnerable, and your equal. From there, I can only be your friend, and you mine. You’ve got to ask for what you want, and hope people and the road will rise up to meet you. They will, I promise.
Since I came back to Europe people encouraged me to share my stories. That’s how LOST IN EAST photo-book was born. The book consist of three photo stories, that takes the viewer in a journey from the mystical volcanoes that tower over the Indonesian landscape and life to the sea level and bellow into the life of fishermen and drags you along the Kapuas river deep in the tropical forest of Kalimantan in the live of the much-feared headhunters tribe the Dayak Iban.
I’ve always believed that photographs truly become “alive” only when they have an audience. So thank you for being with me until now. And if you enjoyed my photo stories so far please consider buying LOST IN EAST photo-book. The photo-book has a recommended price, which means that this is how much I suggest it costs. But I know that we are not all alike, and there are up and down moments in everyone’s life. Nevertheless the lack of money should not block ones access to information. Saying that you are invited to propose your own price for the photo-book. For orders please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject LostInEast photobook.
The LOST IN EAST photo-book is available in two version:
Coffee table book:
- format size: 30 x 20 cm (landscape)
- pages: 32, color
- language: English
- paper: 250 g/m2
- cover: hardcover, glossy
- recommended price: 30 Euro
- file type: PDF
- number of pages: 32
- recommended price: 10 Euro
For orders please contact me at email@example.com, subject LostInEast photobook.
Spread the word!
The good news is that we did it, the crowdfunding campaign for our documentary film Siwa and Ora is finally over. And thanks to our contributors we manged to overcome our target, yes folks the campaign was 103% funded, that’s about 3089,999€. Lucky us, now we have money for coffee. Now the bad news is …, there is NO bad news :), well maybe there will be some sleepless night but that’s part of the game, isn’t it?
We plan to finish the work on the documentary until summer and as soon as everything it’s done we are going to deliver the presents to you. We also plan to have 2 private screenings for our contributors, 1 in Poland and 1 in Romania, so we can meet face to face and thank you personally. Until then I leave you with this clip that we made for our 81 supporters. Thank you.
Siwa and Ora trailer, in case you’ve missed it.
Great news the trailer of our new project Siwa and Ora, the documentary film about Komdo Island, is out.
Our crowdfunding campaign is already on for 30 days now and we are only 18 days (from 10 february 2016) and 1000 Euro away from our target. Al the money that we will raise will go in producing this movie.
We have some unique rewards to say thanks to our backers. Of course we have the Siwa and Ora movie in HD plus a mention in the film credits. We also have a few wooden dragons handcrafted by the people of Komodo Island and pearls that our host, Kaptain Alias personally fished out them from the bottom of the Flores Sea.
Eastwood our friends form Solo, Java Island, Indonesia, also joined our campaign and they send to Europe a few pairs of their unique handmade wooden sunglasses. Please mind, we have only one pair of each kind, as shown below, so first come first serve, sorry ;).
Please have a look at our crowdfunding page: http://igg.me/at/siwaandora for complete info. Support and share this project with others, helps us make it happened.
One last thing, I want to say thank you for believing in us to all our supporters, hope you’ll be on the list also:
- Tony Moult
- Krzysztof Janczak
- Krzysztof Dziuba
- Marta Szymanowska
- Marietta Milewska-Moult
- Katja Stolbova
- Raluca Popescu
- Toby Brown
- Bogna Pawlowska
- Adrian Siegle
- Sorin Dascalu
- Marta Sieczak
- Bradut Florescu
- Karolina Iwańczyk
- Simina Pasat
- Dana Manea
- Carmen Pintiliei
- Cristina Prunescu
- Ioana Hasan
- Miruna Georgescu
- Catalin Gavrilescu
- Damian Smug
- Marius Munteanu
- Mares Radomir
- Dagmara Szawdyn
- Paula Talaba
- Zachary Peel Mcgregor
- Agnes Baginska
- Dorina Vasilescu
- Mihai Kanyaro
- Diana Pura
- Hattie Aitken
- Sylvia Moult
- Roger Moult
- Alin Moigradeanu
- Catalin Gaja
- Adina Vaitus
- Trevor Moult
- Raluca Munteanu
- Sorin Gandila
- Nicu Hodos
- Ivan Struk
- Vlad Danila
- Iulia Cujba
- Adrian Stanila
- Maria/Rusalim Crapciu
- Anonymous 1
- Anonymous 2
- Anonymous 3
- Anonymous 4
- Anonymous 5
- Anonymous 6
- Anonymous 7
Thanks to all of the organizations listed below for their support in making our Siwa and Ora indiegogo campaign such a success!
Portal Miasto Poznaj: http://www.miastopoznaj.pl/kultura-i-styl/3173-tessa-i-smoki-z-komodo
Legalna Kultura: http://legalnakultura.pl/pl/strefa-wydarzen/wsp…
Watch us on the WTK – a Polish TV Station, where we met Maciek to speak about our journey in search of the reptile (In Polish): http://www.wtkplay.pl/video-id-21698-poznanianka_na_tropie_indonezyjskiego_gada
Many of you asked me why lately I wasn’t active anymore. Well a lot of things happened, first of all I returned to Europe, yes after 2 years I am back. The reason? hmmm my passport expired. And after all this time, there are a lot of friends to meet and a lot of stories to be shared.
I am also working at the photobook, lots of up and downs, but the most important thing is that me and Tessa (www.tessamoultmilewska.com), the other half of Lost in East, started to work on a documentary film.
During these 2 years that we spent around Indonesia we came across a lot of stories, that worth to be shared, but from all of them Siwa and Ora is our favourite one.
For nearly a month we lived with a family under the same roof, and thanks to our ability to speak Indonesian we had become friends, even part of the family and we could listen to many of their amazing stories. The time we spent there was full of breathtaking moments: we saw dragons mating, hunting, fighting; we even had tea with one of them.
Life on Komodo Island is a fairytale of its own kind. Thanks to the power of a local legend the dragons were able to survive and live in symbiosis with people from the Village of Komodo. Here little boys play with dragons and have a childhood like nowhere else in the world. This will be a story about growing up and living with the dragons.
What do you know about Komodo? Have you watched documentaries about the fierce, 3m-long, 70kg, man-eating komodo dragons? Did you also know they’re cannibals, have two penises and the females can procreate without a male (Parthenogenesis)? Have you heard they can hunt and kill a giant buffalo with a single bite? Can you imagine the power of this creature when it leaps at his prey?
The Komodo Dragons got their name from the Island they live on. The archipelago of Komodo is the only place in the world where the dragons have survived in their natural habitat. When I first arrived on Komodo Island I was in shock, as nobody had told me that this island is inhabited by a tribe of around 1400 people. They live in astonishing houses built on stilts and still speak between themselves the language of komodo. Here, human beings and more than 3 thousand dragons live on one island as brothers. There’s a reason why the Komodo Dragons survived on this island, while hunted down and killed in all other parts of Indonesia.
Is the name of our dragon-eyed friend, the eldest son of Captain Pak Alias. Although he’s only 15 years old, he takes care of the household when his father’s working as a guide on a nearby island. He can repair literally anything, starting from an underwater propeller to a generator; he’s always bursting with energy and is constantly working on something. He`s the most resourceful boy we’ve ever met, he helps his mother a lot and takes care of the other 5 siblings. But his biggest and most obvious passion is the dragons, and whenever he has some free time he runs to the hills in search of them.
Siwa can spot a dragon from many kilometers away, although for us it could just as well be a distant rock or tree branch. He can intuitively feel where the creature will be rummaging or searching for food. He has been raised in the company of dragons and very often we’d feel there’s some invisible bond between them. He can be naughty and set up traps to lure the dragons, although it is common for small dragons to come into the kitchen. Most of the villagers throw stones at the dragons to stop them from coming into the village, but not Siwa. His eyes change when he sees them; he chases them and plays with them. It’s as if he transforms from a hard working, quiet and shy boy into a vivid, happy personality – unconsciously he starts singing and his face is blooms with a wide smile. As he says – “Kalau tidak bisa lihat ora, orang bosan, tapi kalau bisa lihat satu saja, orang sudah senang” – People get bored when they don’t see a dragon, but if they see at least one, they`re happy.
Ora (the dragon)
There is a local legend we discovered while staying in the village on Komodo Island. The legend is about humans, dragons and their common ancestor. Thanks to it the dragons were saved from extinction, which they met in other parts of the world – hunted and killed by humans. “Ora” in the local language means scream and that’s how the locals named the dragon, because of the screams and cries heard when the dragon was forced to leave his family and the village where it had been born. We want to animate this legend.
Now we’ve finished shooting on Komodo Island, but we’re only half way to finishing the movie. We’re planing to combine it with a sand animation that will tell the story of the legendary siblings.
Although Tessa has directed her previous animations in cooperation with producers and production studios raising funds, this film has been self-financed. We have the support of local brands and the official support of the Polish Embassy in Jakarta. We are also planning a crowd-funding campaign in October 2015.
If you wish to be part of our story and support the work on this project, please do so. How? – we will let you know soon.
Tessa Moult-Milewska – Scholar of Warsaw Film School, has a degree in film directing from FAMO, Czech Republic. Director of animated films with international recognition and awards. Born of dual-nationality, Polish and English. Scholar of the Indonesian Government Program ‘Darmasiswa’ in 2014/2015.
Adrian Crapciu – Acclaimed photographer, traveller, blogger at Lost In East, co-creator of Solo24 hour photo project, winner of Your Shot photography contest by National Geographic. Born in Romania, passionate about distant cultures and doing things differently. ‘Darmasiswa’ scholar in 2013/2014, but refused to leave Indonesia for another year; you can read about the reason here.
This project has an estimated duration of 30 min with the majority of it being a documentary and will have aproximately 4 minutes of sand animation at the beginning and 2 minutes at the end.
The status of the production
We have already left Indonesia and are back in Europe, editing the shots. We have the image, but it still requires a lot of work with post-production, e.g. colour correction, sound design. We are also still looking for a workplace and equipment for the animation, we will need another few weeks to plan and shoot the animated legend. After we finish the movie we intend to submit it to festivals and in addtition promote and distribute it as much as possible.
Follow us on facebook at : facebook.com/SiwaandOra
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several touristic spots in Flores that seems to pop up in every discussion that I have with locals here. One of them is Kelimutu Volcano, famous because the 3 crater lakes that have different colors, yet are at the crest of the same volcano. If there is something in Indonesian landscape that I can’t get enough, that`s the volcanoe craters and there are plenty here – Indonesia is part of the “Ring of fire”. I don’t know, for me, there is something mystic about them, they are like portals to the underworld. So I’m on my way to mighty Kelimutu Volcano.
But first I stop in Ende, I need to check out the boat schedules for Java, and to take out some money from the cash machine. It’s been 6 days since I was out of a crowded place and all this big town bustle gives me headache, even worse – I don’t find my credit card, my only credit card. Yep no trace of it, it just disappeared. Last time when I was using it was in Labuan Bajo, 6 days ago and 400 km away. I might have forgotten it in the cash machine, it`s not the first time in Indonesia when I do this, because the machines menu is idiotic, after you take the money out of the cash machine you need to press another button to take the card also.
Status check: no card, but still 1.600.000 rupiah (around 140$) in my pocket. The next boat is in 4 days from Maumere, 200 km towards east. The boat ticket is 1.000.000 rupiah and that leaves me with 600.000 rupiah for about 8 days until I reach Solo. 3 out of 8 days will be on the boat Maumere-Surabaya and there is crappy cafeteria food included in the ticket price. I only need to survive 5 days with 600.000 rupiah, meaning 10$ each day for food, gas and place to sleep. Sounds like an adventure, I’m in, not that I have another choice.
What’s the best antidote for frustation? Yeap, FOOD, I got to try the local cuisine before ascending Kelimutu. I had a plate of soup fish with rice and fresh lemon juice- 20.000 rupiah (less than 2$).
Acording to my estimation there is another 3-4 hours drive until the village of Moni, near Kelimutu. I don’t know were I’ll sleep so it will be good to arrive there before night falls. But as I am getting closer, the road is blocked. There was a land slide up in the mountains and they are working on it. I take this as an opportunity to get some info from the locals about some accommodation places around Kelimutu. The cheapest place is an orphanage run by nuns, 100.000 rupiah per night, 2 meals included, not bad but, over my daily expense. Standing in the road I meet also some German tourists, they really like my way of traveling, a true adventurer they say, yeahhh especially now when I don’t have much money left. Finally, after more than 1 hour we start moving, slowly, but moving. Just before night falls I make it to the orphanage, I can’t bargain but at least it is for a good cause, the money is used for the kids.
At the dinner I try to get some more information, about how to get to the lakes, but it seems that again everyone has their own way and own time estimation, the answers were raging from 30 min to 2 hours. I want to reach the top before 5:30 am so I can enjoy the sunrise from the top, better go to bed and leave everything in the hands of randomness.
I wake up around 4:00 am, I put all the warm clothes on me and I go to find the mighty Kelimutu in the dark. After 1 hour I’m completely freezing on the motorcycle, and to bring down the spirit more, it`s is completely dark, no light, not even moon light and there is nobody on the road to ask for directions. Finally, when I think I am lost, I see a sign towards Kelimutu. I got socks in my sandals, 2 pairs of long pants, 2 hoodies and I’m still freezing. But the view is worth it and luckily there is hot tea at the top.
After a few hours on top of the Kelimutu crater I continue my journey east. In 3 days I have the boat back to Java, soon my journey will end, this if I can make it with the money that I still have. I`m in a melancholic mood today. From the crater of Kelimutu (1639 m), I descend to sea level in less than 4 hours . I am not in the mood for anything today, I need a nice lonely beach, to put my hammock and go for a naked swim in the night.
I wake up with 2 curious locals around me, probably checking if I am still alive. No time for talk, a quick morning shower in the sea and towards Maumere today, wait, breakfast first.
Near Maumere, as I was taking a photo, I meet 2 funny guys – Alfie and Bobby. They are on a hunt for a good place to watch the sunset, I join them, it turns out that I like more the moon than the sunset.
So now the difficult part starts, I did this a lot of times before, but it just came naturally I didn’t need to ask for it, and now that I am broke …
– Hey guys, look, I am out of money and I need a place to sleep, I can’t afford a hotel, I have less than 400.000 rupiah for 6 days.
– We know a cheap hotel.
– How cheap?
– Around 150.000 per night.
– Can’t do it, not enough money.
– Man, if you don’t mind, maybe I can sleep at your house, I don’t need a bed or anything fancy, I can sleep in the garden if I can put my hammock.
– Ok bro, come, you’ll sleep in my room. But I stay in a small house with my sister, my nephews and my parents.
– Thanks man, a roof for 2 nights, it’s more than enough.
After we check in at Alfie’s place, we meet the family and all the procedures, we hit the streets. The guys have a friend working at the local reggae radio station which is in the tower of an old wooden church, it’s a post-apocalyptic ghetto feeling. I never thought that I would do something like this in my life, but they want me to record a radio jingle for them, you know something like: “Hi, my name is Adrian from Romania and you are listening to… good vibes and don’t forget to pee.”
We start the day with a tasty Flores coffee served on the grave of Alfie’s sister. Yeah, in Flores some of the families bury their beloved ones in their garden in front of the house and it is normal for them to hang out around the graves. After this we head towards the local market, today I buy fish for lunch, to thank them for their hospitality.
What I didn’t know is that the guys prepared me a short tour for today. We go on the hill behind Maumere to admire the city and to see the big statue of Virgin Mary that was build after the town was hit by tsunami in 1992. After we do our noon siesta at one of Alfie’s relatives in a village on the hill near Maumere, enjoying the cold breeze. Here I found out Alfie’s story about tsunami. He was 10 years old and when the tsunami alert started he wasn’t at home, he was out. He remembers that he was running towards the hills and he jumped in a truck, no idea were he was heading. It took him around 20 days to get back home, in the beginning he stayed in a forest with people and then slowly they started to move towards Maumere. It’s hard to imagine the emotion of his family when they saw him alive after 20 days.
From the hills I spot a small village build on stilts near Maumere, a bajo village. After 4 days spent in a bajo village in Sumbawa it’s seems that these people manifest a certain attraction to me, we make them a visit in the afternoon.
I want to finish the day earlier, since tomorrow morning at 3 am I a have a boat, but my hosts don’t care about this so we have a long dinner followed by a long discussion and a few shots of soppie – the local alcohol. Good night Flores for the last time.
It’s a nice chilly morning in the mountains of Flores, it’s only a 20 min ride from Cancar to Ruteng, it’s a bendy road not wider than 2 meters, part of the Trans Flores Highway. It takes me another 30 min to get out of Ruteng, there are no road indicators and it seems that everyone has his own way of getting out of town.
Today I want to reach the village of Bena in case I don’t find anything else on the way. Again the scenery is breath taking. Every 20-25 km there is a place to stop and enjoy the view together with a Flores coffee. Very tempting, so I stop several times. The road takes me up in the mountains for about 3 hours and then in less than an hour I descent to sea level. I make a small detour just to touch the sand and the sea. Near the beach I find a small waroeng (restaurant), I want to stop here for lunch, but they don’t have fish, all the fishermen are busy playing billiards.
I continue my road through banana plantations going up in the mountains just to descent again. And then the most perfect cone shaped volcanoe appears in front of me. I stop to admire it from far, check the name on the map – Inerie Volcanoe. A decision is made: tonight I want to sleep on the slopes of this volcanoe.
I ask in the first village for information about the villages in that area. It seems that the village of Bena, my destination for today is somewhere on that mountain and there is an alternative dirt road that goes around the volcanoe on the south slope, near the sea. I am attracted by the idea of finding this road and the posibility of getting lost a bit. It turns out that it’s not that hard to find the road and yeah, they were right, it’s a dirt road. Maybe 10 years ago it was tarmac here but now mostly rocks and some tarmac leftovers. After an hour of wrestling with the road and the motocycle, I hear some music at a crossroad, something like carribean style. The “main” road goes paralel to the sea, the other goes straight upwards the volcanoe. I take the second one and in 200 meters I stop again in front of a big sound system. I am greeted by The Captain, a man in his sixties dressed in a shirt and a saylor hat, the only thing that he misses is a rum jar in his left hand. I am invited to join a wedding party, just like that, from the road straight to the party, no time for shower or makeup. I meet the couple and then I’m served with a glass of sophie (local alchool) with some porc stew. It seems that I am the VIP of the party, everybody is wathing me. The old ladies invite me for some betel nuts (a light hallucinogen), I give it a try, it tastes awful and I can’t feel half of my mouth, but I am a bit high. Then The Captain attacks me with more sophie. In one hour I’ve made 30 new friends, eaten, chewed betel nuts and got drunk with sophie, well, life is hard sometimes. The party goes on until morning but around 1 in the night, exhausted, I retreat in a neighbouring house to have a rest.
We start the day with shots of sophie on an empty stomach and the party mood is on again. Between betel nuts and shots of sophie they “sacrifice” a small piglet, cook some rice, papaya leafs and prepare a spicy souce. Afer this heavy breakfast, we rest for a while in the shadow, for the food to settle, then the music starts again, it’s like a non stop party here. I take a break from all this madness and go around the village to take some photos.
This community is amazing, I want to stay one more night with them, smiling faces all the time.
This morning I leave towards the megalithic village of Bena. I say good by to everybody and I am on my way to the turistic place. After a few hours of enduro driving I arrive. Well, the houses look amazing and everything, but the people are so different. They all want to sell me something, I don’t feel ok. Still, I am determined to find a house, to sleep tonight here. The chief of the village lets me understand that for a certain fee I can spend the night with a family here, hey, this is not what I’m searching for.
The luck is with me again, as I was taking pictures of some coffe beans laid on the ground to dry, a young guy approached me and invites me for a coffee. He is a truck driver, but now he has a short vacation, so he is at home and he is bored. We spend the afternoon together, preparing some coffe beans and going for a hot bath at the river in the forest. I tell you there is nothing more awesome after a sweaty day, to chill in a hot river, looking at the stars, surounded by the sound of the forest. To top it all our food for tonight is some baked banana, delicious. Around 10 pm I go out to take some night shots of the village, it’s a creepy atmosphere, similar to a horror movie. The village is completly deserted, in the middle it’s a big altar stone surrounded by graves and from time to time you can hear sounds and voices from the houses around.
Such a big difference between these 2 villages. The turistic village of Bena looks very good, the traditional houses, the fact that they preserve their culture untouched, the stories but almost everybody saw me like a walking cash machine, except my host family and I thank them for this. You can find more info about the village of Bena and the Ngada culture here http://www.florestourism.com/where-to-go/bena-village. By far the best time on this mountain, and in the last few months were the 3 days I’ve spent in Inerie village, those people are just amazing. Sophie UP.
Back in December, last year, I was telling you that the journey continues. This time not on land but on water. Together with 2 friends we headed towards Maluku archipelago. Two lazy months wondering around the islands of Maluku off the beaten tracks, jumping form beach to beach, from island to island enjoying life with no roof above our heads. Backpacking, big boats (+1000 persons), small wooden boats, hitchhiking, trucks, scooters, beaches, hammocks, sun, storms, tent, snorkeling, coconuts, sopi (local alcohol), sunsets, sunrises, music ……. and FRIENDLY LOCALS, you know that kind of adventure, my kind.
Don’t you dare even think about being jealous because life sucks sometimes even if you are in this “paradise”. For example – in this journey I got an infection and temperature and the doctors didn’t know why, for 4 days we were traveling on a boat (the mighty Kelimutu) with +1000 Indonesian sleeping wherever they could on the deck, eating only rice with something that looked like fish, while traveling with a small wooden boat an 1 hour rain started that completely soaked us, for 2 days we were eating only instant noodles, sometimes we were sleeping directly in the port under a shelter, all our clothes and equipment were full of sand, we survived a cockroach invasion and many more. I don’t speak often about these because they are part of the experience and you have to get used to them if you want to travel out of the touristic path, what the heck, now I am laughing when I remember all this.
And don’t you think that I have a lot of money, because I don’t. I have a small scholarship 50$ a month, still got some savings from the time I was working and I got some people that liked my work and supported me by buying my photo book and prints – thank you again (if you have no idea what I am talking about take a look at my goodies page https://lostineast.wordpress.com/goodies/). For example this trip cost me 500$, 2 months for 500$, 2 months of adventure of meeting new people, 2 months of discovering new parts of the world and myself.
And don’t you think I am special, I am not. I am just a ordinary guy that when he was a child dreamed to see places, meet people, get in contact with cultures from the other parts of the world, I am still a child.
Hats off for the locals that we meet on the road, thank you for sharing your food with us, your bed, your cars, your boats, your stories, your beach, your thoughts … some of you redefined the term of hospitality.
Why the title of this post “Cantik, Tinggi and Rambut visit Maluku”? Because the locals gave us nicknames. Cantik – the Pretty one (Tessa), Tinggy – the Tall one (Bartek, yeah he is 2 m tall) and Rambut – The Hairy one (me, Adrian, and yeah this is my natural hair).
Enough talk, enjoy a few moments of what we experienced. Filmed by me and Tessa, edited by Tessa, color corrected by me.
After this experience I know for sure that my favorite travels are of when there is no expectation, no line of backpacker zombies doing the same thing as each guide book more or less draws them too. I kinda like the more independent, less tour based and I admit more sketchy off the beaten track travel. For me, there is a bigger sense of appreciation for this kind of travel, it’s more challenging, more locally orientated and more personal. You are you. You do your thing. And that kind of travel may just be experiencing the life of the place. Rather than doing everything that is ‘beautiful’ or a ‘must see’.
Share with your friends our story, it will help us – me, you and him.
From all the islands that I’ve passed so far on this road trip, Flores is the most remote. Prior to leaving for this adventure I asked a couple of people about Flores and they all said it’s wild, it’s still a jungle. I didn’t want to know more about Flores, I wanted it like a final test of my adventure, to see if I can do it without knowing to much, if I can cope with everything that arises on the road, to be free to make my plan on the road in real time. All I knew where the names of 4 big cities, 3 touristic places and that there is only one way from west to east called “Trans-Flores Highway”, a 550km stretch of asphalt (not always), that goes through mountains and some parts are not in good condition.
I wake up my Honda around 8 in the morning, after 3 days of rest I think she’s happy to go back on the road. I tie the backpack on the seat, say goodbye to Pak Figgo and his family and on the road again. Wait she’s thirsty I need to put some gas. I notice some bensin bottles on the side of the road so I stop. What? 15.000 rupiah 1.5 liter? That’s 1.5 times the regular price, I don’t want bule (foreigner) price. 20 min later I spot a gas station, I wait on the queue almost 1 hour to put 4 liters, nice way to start my day, waiting. Some locals told me that when they have bensin at the gas station, they buy everything in a couple of hours, and then sell it 1.5 times the price on the side of the road, creative economy, you got to love Indonesia.
In the first 50 km I get familiar with Trans-Flores Highway. The road goes up in the mountains leaving behind the sunny beaches, cutting the jungle, bending to left or right every 300 meters or so. Each 2-3 km there is a construction site, working to enlarge the road, which now is not wider than 3-4 m.
Fresh cold air, mountains and green, remind me a bit about Romanian Carpathian Mountains. After Sumbawa which was all flat and burned by the sun, Flores feels alive. I stop several times to admire the view and take some photos.
It started to get cold, I need to put my hoodie, long pants and take the rain clothes over because for the second time in this 3 weeks it rains. The first rain was in Solo, the day I left in this adventure, now I’m in the mountains in Flores. I drive very slowly, a bit paranoid, my front tire is wearing out, the road is bendy, I’m freezing and I can’t see to much because of the rain droplets on my glasses. I don’t stop because it’s already 2 pm, I am somewhere in the mountains, in the middle of the jungle and I have no idea how far is the next village. The clouds starts to break after 1 hour and down in the valley I see some rice fields. By the distinctive shape of them it must be the spider web rice fields near Cancar village (manggarrai area).
I’m hungry, I just realize that I didn’t eat nothing for half a day, I need a waroeng (small restaurant on the side of the road) with some hot food and a coffee. They say there are just 2 in the village, one with bakso (something like meat balls) not my favorite food and one with rice, fish and vegetables, this sounds better. By the reaction of the owner it’s clear that I am the first bule (foreigner) entering her waroeng, the surprise is even bigger when she hears me speaking Indonesian. She advises me to stop here for today and offers me a bed in her house, since it’s almost dark and until Ruteng it`s another 1 hour of driving. I accept, after all that food I start to feel sleepy. Entering her house I notice 2 uncommon things for Indonesia: donuts and a virgin Mary statue. Catholicism is the dominant faith in Flores and because of this they do bread and donuts, happy me. It`s surprising how mountains, donuts and bread make me feel home sick, for the first time in 1 year. After 2 Flores coffees, some discussion and to many donuts I go to sleep on a mat wrapped inside a traditional hand made textile (ikat), it’s cold in the mountains.
They are catholic but they still get up early in the morning. At 5:00 am I’m up, taking a shower with cold water, fresh from the river. I go for a walk before sunrise to catch the morning life of the village.
I return home, have breakfast – again to many donuts, a Flores coffee (one of the best so far), put everything on the bike, a photo with the family and here we go again. Before leaving, Ibu Maria gave me some food for the road, guess what? yeah DONUTS. Thank you again, amazing people.
The first reggae song that I heard in Indonesia is “Welcome to my paradise”. That was 1 and half year ago in a reggae bar in Jakarta. The first time I enjoyed it, but after that, hearing it every day in buses, waroengs … 8-9 times a day it started to be annoying. But when I reach Flores my first thought was – finally Welcome to paradise.
The Fajr (mosque morning prayer, around 5 am), wakes me up, to earlyyyy. One year in Indonesia and still I didn’t get used with this, shit I deserve 1 more hour of pure morning sleep. 7:00 am, quick shower, packed everything, take the bike from the reception and go directly in the port to buy ferry tickets. 8:30 am, I got the tickets for me and the bike, but the ferry leaves only around 12 o’clock, so plenty of time to do nothing. Chillin’ in the port, breakfast and watch the activities around the port. It’s a big melange of different cultures, but all are Indonesians, there is a saying in Indonesia – same same but different. I can spot the locals – Sumbawanese, and then the Javanese and also a new distinctive face structure probably they are from Flores. Finally after 3 long hours of waiting, everything (including chikens) was loaded on the ferry and we leave.
Sumbawa – Flores journey is another 4 hours of playing hide and seek with the sun around the ferry. We get closer to Flores and the view is changing, all this small islands popping out in the middle of the sea, with perfect white sand beaches, coconut trees, amazing view of the big islands, small fisherman boats… paradise?
We arrive in Labuan Bajo (Flores) in the afternoon, so I go directly to search for a travel office to plan a trip for Komodo and Rinca island, no time to loose. The place is tourist oriented, there is a long one way street full with hotels and travel agencies, and the price even after negotiation and the student in Indonesia “discount” is a bit to high for me – 150$. I know it’s still a “special” bule (westernen) price. Out of nowhere I remember that 2 months ago while at a party in Jogja, half drunk, a friend told me about his trip in Komodo and gave me the name of a place were he got a very good price, but what was the name? I wanted to write it down somewhere but of course I didn’t, I was drunk. It was something with sun-sunny travels or tours… I got a new plan, go to the beginning of the street and look for travel agencies with that name. After 1 hour of asking around and almost giving up I see a small plate with Sunny Tours Travel. I enter and tell the guy that I have a friend from Hungary that was here 1 year ago and he recommended me this place. Luckily the guy remembered my friend and:
– Kamu mahasiswa di Solo? (Are you a student in Solo?)
– Yeah Pak, aku punya scholarship di sini, ambil bahasa Indonesia. (Yes, I have a scholarship there, I learn the language.)
– Ok, harganya untuk kamu, 2 hari 1 malam 750.000 rupiah, baigamana? (Ok, special price for you, 2 days 1 night 75$, what do you say?)
– Ok Pak, bagus makasih. (Sounds good, thank you.)
– Tidak bilang orang lain yeah? Kamu tidur di mana? (Don’t say to others yeah? Were do you sleep?)
– Belum cari. (I don’t have a place yet.)
– Kamu bisah tidur di rumahku, nanti aku antar kamu ke sana. Ayo ambil 1 beer, istirahat di sini 1 jam. (You can sleep at my place. Take 1 beer, have a rest here, I close in 1 hour. )
– A BIG SMILE on my face.
A big dinner some more beers and a proper bed, good night.
7:00 am I am already on our “cruise ship”, an old wooden boat with a super loud engine. We are 9, the captain, 2 locals and another 5 tourists. I am excited like a 7 years old kid that goes for the first time in a trip with the school. Direction? Rinca island, to see the Komodo dragons.
This places are amazing, the views, the animals… but the most striking thing is that I don’t see trash, you see Indonesia you CAN if you WANT.
Night comes and we stop near Komodo island, tonight we will sleep on the boat. In the menu we have fried rice with fish and special samba (spicy sous), delicious. I spot a local in a canoe selling beer, hmm that would be just perfect, you can’t love Indonesia, everything is possible here. The starting price is 10$, man I know you have to feed your family but you don’t have to completely rip me off, I’m not the Australian tourist packed with money, with 10$ I live 2 days. 15 minutes later the price goes down to 4$, still expensive, but what more can I ask in the middle of the ocean.
As I was laying down on the boat completely lost in the night sky and universe… and all of the sudden something huge felt from the sky almost hitting me. I jumped and almost fall in the water. It was a huge flying fox, at least 1 m long.
I wake up with an amazing sunrise, I just realize that since I am on the road I didn’t miss almost any sunrise or sunset, I am all the time outside and a certain feeling established, man I love to travel like this.
After a few hours of trekking and snorkeling, tired and burned by the sun, we go back to Labuan Bajo. We all fell asleep, background music – the sound of the engine.
Whenever I have the opportunity I visit the local markets, is something there that attracts me. So with the last drop of energy I make a short tour.
I want to apologize to all the people that helped me. I promised that I will send you the postcards and the photo books in a 3 months time frame, and I didn’t. After I came back from Maumere I needed 1 month to get used with a daily routine again. And then another great trip, the adventure in Maluku, 2 months of hitchhiking from island to island. I’ve change a lot and it took me some thinking to realize what I’ve experienced and how it rewrite me. Now the hardest part is to put all this in a visual story. But the good part is that I feel inspired and I start to feel what I want to put between those 2 covers.
If you are new here and want to support my work check my goodies page, maybe I have something for you.
I’m beginning to realize that my favorite travels are of when there is no expectation, no line of backpacker zombies doing the same thing as each guide book more or less draws them too. I kinda like the more independent, less tour based and I admit more sketchy off the beaten track travel. For me, there is a bigger sense of appreciation for this kind of travel, it’s more challenging, more locally orientated and more personal. You are you. You do your thing. And that kind of travel may just be experiencing the life of the place. Rather than doing everything that is ‘beautiful’ or a ‘must see’. Before leaving in this trip I didn’t knew what to expect, but for sure I didn’t think that I’ll find a second family in the middle of Sumbawa, in a bajo village (sea gypsies). Maybe because they are nomads that they understand what travels means, and how good is to find a place to recharge your batteries for a few days, or maybe because I was the only western that entered their village in the last 2 years, it doesn’t really matters, thank you again.
I wanted to leave early morning before the sun gets to strong, but before I managed to say goodbye to everybody, make the last photos with the family and put everything on the bike it was already 10 am. For today I don’t have a clear destination yet. Until Sape, which is the crossing point from Sumbawa to Flores is around 200 km, part of it through mountains, doable but I have to push the old lady. The other option is Lakey beach, 120 km away, but with a 40 km detour. Will see, I still have to make 80 km until I have to make the decision.
After not even a hour of driving I feel my brain boiling, is just to hot. I stop in the first village to cool down and to take some photos of the fish drying on the side of the road, a men approach me:
– Asli darimana mas? (Where are you from?)
– Dari Romania Pak. (From Romania.)
– Kamu bisa bahasa indonesia? (You can speak indonesian?)
– Bisa Pak. (Yes.)
– Udah lama di Indonesia? (For how long you’re in Indonesia.)
– Udah 1 tahun. (Already 1 year.)
– Whaaa Kamu pinter sekali, mau makan? (Uauu you are smart, you want to eat?)
– Tidak Pak, makasih. (Thank you, but no.)
– Ayo, ada ikan dan kepiting segar. (Come I have fresh fish and crabs.)
What can I do? I have to accept his invitation, fresh crabs sounds very delicious. As the conversation goes on I find out that he used to smuggle people from Indonesia to Malaysia. Now he retired, he has a a wife, 3 children and a boat.
1 hour later and full belly I hop on the bike to continue my road. The only discouraging think is the sun, which is too strong today. I can’t do it anymore, I need to take my helmet out, is to hot, I know is a foolish think to do, but the sensation is one of a kind. After cooling my head down, I decide to go to Lakey beach, camp there for tonight and start again tomorrow morning, better for my bike and me.
It’s almost 4 pm and I finally arrived to Lakey beach, I let the bike on the beach in front of something that seems like a surfer’s bar and I go directly for a swim, to wash off the dust an the layer of sweat. I end the day with a fish kare, 2 beers, a nice sunset and a camp fire on the beach, too bad that I am alone. Finally I got to use the hammock that I bought in Bali, pretty comfortable, night.
And morning again. A cow decides that she wants to be my alarm clock. A quick swim instead of a shower, pack everything, say goodbye to the cow and go, all under 1 our, that’s a new record.
I continue my road to Sape, empty minded enjoying the curvy mountain road and the scenery. Today I have a big stupid smile on my face, probably because I’m getting closer to Komodo Island. I am amazed by this motorcycle, to be honest before leaving in this trip I thought that I would have more problems with it, but no she’s still alive.
Before sunset I reach Sape, that means that tomorrow I’ll take the ferry to Flores, if I survive the night. Quick I find a cheap hotel, it looks like a rat hole, I park the bike inside, near reception, put everything to charge and I go to search for some food. For the first time in Indonesia I don’t feel safe walking alone on the streets after night falls. People here seem to be a bit more harsh and crazy and the town looks like a Mad Max set. I take a seat in the first waroeng that I find, is empty. A cat enters, makes herself comfortable on the other side of the table and challenge me for a staring competition, I lose, therefore I share with her my fish. Good night.