So I had to attend a small workshop last month. While the workshop itself is not so unusual for me – it’s a part of effort from foreign funded project trying to yield lessons learnt from four-year experience in the field, the workshop’s location is unusual for me. It was in Larantuka, a small town in Flores, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. I was quite excited for this trip because, well, this was going to be my first time to Flores. I came in from Maumere, another small town 130 km to the west of Larantuka. A driver picked me up at the airport, and off we go (east)!
The first sight out of the airport was women selling srikaya (sugar apple/sweetsop/custard apple), fruit that I love so much. They were sitting by the side of the road with small tables full of sugar apple. So I decided to buy some; I asked the price and the lady said “Ten thousand!”. Alright, I thought ten thousand rupiah (a bit less than USD 1) was not so pricy, assuming those were very original from the forest (or maybe even from their backyard!). I took out 2 ten-thousand notes from my wallet and gave it to the lady, which not long after that I realized that I had misunderstood her: ten thousand rupiah was not for one sugar apple, but for a small plastic bag of sugar apples.
Continuing my trip going east to Larantuka, I had to admit that the picture I had for Flores was wrong. It turned out that the island (at least this part of the island) was looking as green as most part of Java. We had to go through forest with tall trees and at some point the driver showed me this very tall tree where there were a lot of beehives in the branches.
To reach Larantuka from Maumere, around half of the road is mountainous, we climbed up and after sometimes, we went down. And this is where the view gets more exciting. As we were going downhill, we could see the sea with two islands on the east of Flores. It was Adonara and Solor. The view of the two islands is amazing. I guess what it was lack of was scenic spots where you can park your car and take pictures.
After a 3-hour drive, finally I arrived in Larantuka. It is a small coastal town – the driver said it is a long city because it stretches around 6 km along the transflores, which is also the main road of the town. My hotel was out-of-the-ordinary hotel I would expect to be found in small town like Larantuka: Asa Hotel – I gave very good review in Trip Advisor. Although Flores was known as island with good beaches, but I ended up not finding any near the town. I expected to find a good one near the town, so I drove north on the way to the airport, and I only found beaches with trashes and a little bit foamy. Such a disappointment. But I managed to take some pictures; those beaches I found look so much better in camera. Well, I guess I need to visit the island again, to the spots with good beaches.
* This post is written by my husband