Tuesday, October 21, 2014

INDONESIA - FLORES - PAGA - 7 to 8 September, 2014 - 'A TOUCH OF PARADISE'


Homestay at Paga Beach – 100 000R
My Journey

I left Ankermi’s at Maumere by motor bike after an early morning snorkel. I had the smaller day pack around the steering column and the larger backpack on my back but with the weight totally on the bike seat. I arranged the angle of the pack so it was like a back rest so the ride was quite comfortable.
The road stated off long and relatively straight to the junction just before Maumere city. The road then started to rise passing a number of seminaries and churches. I stopped at one but it was closed to the public. I continued onwards towards Moni and stopped where there was a nice view or where I felt like a rest.
The traffic was good with cars and bemos and other bikes passing safely. A few people drove a little close with the ‘hello mister’. The ‘hello mister’ was all along the road with bright, white teeth smiles adding to the magic of the journey. It was easy to keep a smile on my face and return the greeting with a ‘Selamat pagi or selamat siang’ as the day progressed. The road continued up and down large hills until I reached Paga Beach.
I pulled into a guesthouse on the beach side of the road. I looked at the beach, I thought that this place was definitely a place to spend the afternoon and night. I checked out the rooms which were basic, right on the beach but a little mouldy. Across the road, there was another homestay with basic but clean rooms upstairs for 100 000R. I loaded my gear in the room, had a nasi goreng lunch and went down the beach.

The beach was excellent with white sand, safe swimming and shady tree spots along the length of the beach. I chose a nice quiet place to sit, read and have a swim. Anyway, that was the plan but it was Sunday and groups of school aged kids and adults began wandering the beach and I was an obvious target as the sole ‘bule’.
It was fun though as most people wanted to practise their limited English and it was good practise for my limited Indonesian. The swimming was good but I wasn’t alone there either. Back on the beach, I did manage to read a few pages.
I walked along the beach to a break wall at the east end. Strange, I couldn’t work out why such a solid structure was built. There were a number of these groynes further east.

Towards the west end and the headland, the walk became very interesting with overhanging rock formations and evidence of recent rock falls. Further around the headland, was a small bay with the potential of good surf if any swell managed to hit. The rock area around the small cove was dotted with people searching for edible shellfish under the rocks. I sat there for a long time quietly, contemplating their simple but hard life while enjoying the shade provided by the headland cliffs.
That night at dinner, I was approached but a couple of the high school girls – Erica, Nasa, etc - who were part of the homestay family to practise English. It was a lot of fun with all of them dancing to the ‘hokey pokey’ while I sang and showed them the moves at the end of the night. A good laugh! 

I was up early the next morning to a beautiful clear sky. I walked down the beach along a dry sandy track for a sunrise swim which was cool and refreshing. Watching the sunrise from the water was relaxing and dreamy, especially with me singing in my head ‘Morning of the Earth’.

Back to homestay for a saltwater mandi. Soap would only lather due to my persistence. I had breakfast and continued my bike sojourn to Moni and Kelimutu.

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