<<  Moni, Flores, 9-Aug-2013  >>

Kelimutu volcanic lakes

Indonesia - land of volcanoes: one of Indo's must-sees, Kelimutu in Flores

From Kefamenanu I returned to Soa and from there to Kupang, all in one long day, and it wouldn’t be worth of mentioning if… if I didn’t get my new driving license along the way! Without mentioning too much details :-) let me just say that I stopped in Soa to meet Andy, the guide who took me to Boti and after few hours in Soa I’m proud owner of Indonesia driving license which will hopefully substitute the Slovak license I had lost in Australia. And I guess it’s step 1 in becoming Indonesian resident…
Andy and his family are really super nice people, they even invited me to wedding of Andy’s brother, but unfortunately I would have to stay in Timor for few more days and I had to rush to Lombok to extend my Indonesian visa so I couldn’t afford to wait for it.

As buying airplane ticket with credit card less than 48 hours before departure is not possible in Indonesia, and I couldn’t buy it earlier because I was not sure when I would make it to Kupang, at 8-Aug I went to the airport at 4:30am without any ticket with intension to catch a flight to Flores at 6:10am hoping to buy the ticket for cash on spot, which luckily worked so… HELLO FROM FLORES!

I flew to Ende from where I headed straight to tiny Moni which is the closest village to one of Indonesia’s highlights: Kelimutu volcanic lakes. Kelimutu is a volcano (possibly still active) and in its craters located 1600m above sea level are 3 lakes of striking and changing colors. The color of the lakes changes unpredictably with changing saturation of minerals in the lakes, each of them having different color, ranging from green and blue to orange and dark brown.

I promised to write shorter posts so I will not waste too much words here, anyway the photos say it all, let me just tell you that as I was watching the lakes for 7 hours (from sunrise until afternoon, when the lakes reached their full hue in strong sunshine) I told to myself, that if seeing this was the only point of my entire life, it was a life worth living!

Apart from the Kelimutu, let me just mention here one more thing: both Timor and Flores are extreme Jesus land. Both of the islands as former Portuguese and Dutch colonies are dominantly Christian (almost 90% of population, although many of them mix Christianity with remainders of their animist traditions such as animal sacrifice) and there are churches, Jesus posters and Virgin Mary souvenirs everywhere. As many people I had met added me as a friend on Facebook I now see their statuses, and majority of them are religion-related. I even received some “daily gospel” SMSs from the people I had met. Actually, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I “had to” lie about my (non)religion here. Everyone you meet asks you what is your religion (first question is always “Where are you from”, then “What is your name”, then “What is your age”, then “Are you married” and finally the last conversation-opener “What is your religion”) and according to Lonely Planet if you would say that you are atheist, nobody will trust you anyway (how could someone possibly NOT believe in God?) and they will think that you are just hiding your religion and such are highly suspicious and so I decided to save me embarrassing moments and also save the locals from facing the shocking truth that somebody might be atheist and when somebody asked about my religion (usually they didn’t even really ask “What is your religion” but asked right away if I was Catholic or Protestant), I betrayed my deep rooted atheist ideals and I chose the lesser lie and told everybody I was Catholic as “at least” I was baptized Catholic when I was born (which was also the very end of my Christian “career”…). Charles Darwin, Zeus and Shiva, please have mercy on me!
Now that some of my Indonesian friends will maybe read this and find out that I am a heathen, I wonder how many will un-friend me on Facebook… :-/

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak