Day 410 Sumbawa – Labuan Bajo, Flores (Indonesia) / motorbike GS Dakar RTW overland adventure traveller

  • Left – 8.00am 
  • 19th May 2015
  • Miles rode – 88 (141km)

I was woken at 4.30am by the cockerels and the guy in the next room chanting something. Why people feel the need to chant a 4.30am when 4.30pm is a far more sensible hour I have no idea! I sort of fell back to sleep on and off for the next couple of hours wishing I hadn’t had to stay in such a dump. Looking down at the floor the ‘ant super highway’ was in full flow this morning!

Today was all about taking it easy and stopping as it was under 100 miles to the port. First stop was the local market just around the corner form the hotel. It was well underway by the time I got there at 8am, I walked around the dirtiest and most disgusting place you’ve ever seen, rubbish everywhere and stagnant water that was filthy black. This didn’t concern anybody other than me as everywhere I looked people were smiling and chucking their waste to the floor. Again I was the source of amusement as everyone shouted ‘hey mister’ constantly. I looked everyone in the eye with a smile and they smiled back, I asked if I could take a few pictures of locals and that led to everyone in the market wanting me to take their picture. I spent 40 minutes with these wonderful people, I left smiling. Rubbish, what rubbish, it may have taken me 10 minutes but I stopped seeing the rubbish and started seeing happy people…

It’s all about the people.

A few miles further and I saw five ladies working in a padi field so I stopped to take a photo and they waved, they gave me the impression they liked the fact I had stopped, as I went to ride off I put my earphones in to listen to some music and they started dancing and laughing.

By 10am I needed my first coffee of the day (usually I would have had at least two coffees by now) and whilst looking for somewhere to stop I saw a donut shop in a small town. A coffee and two donuts cost 15pence.

By midday I had arrived at Sape where I wanted get the ferry to Flores which everyone has told me is the most beautiful island. I was also told that there is only one ferry each day which leaves at about 8am, as I was 20 hours early I decided to investigate myself and a man said there might be a ferry later (later in Indonesia could mean anything from 1 hour to 1 week!) I spent the following hours talking to locals and taking it easy and at about 4pm a few other people started to turn up. The general consensus was that there may or may not be a ferry later which was really useful to know. Over the next 3 hours more people, buses and lorries started to arrive and still nobody knew if the ferry would arrive. The Harbour Master was no help as he didn’t know if the ferry would arrive let alone leave to my destination.

At 9pm someone told me the ticket office had opened so I purchased the ticket and at 10pm the ferry arrived and chaos ensued. How so many lorries and people emerged from such a small ferry astonished me. It was a crazy scene as people and vehicles pushed to get off the jetty and on their way. People walked off the ferry with goats, chickens and the largest boxes you’ve every seen. I wasn’t sure what the bus drivers were doing but they seemed to be hassling the people passing, many of them young teenagers, I saw annoyed expressions and some people pushing the bus drivers away. I’m not sure why but I felt a need to see what was going on and walked over, for some reason the hassling stopped and I returned to my bike.

As I had seen so many people emerge from the ferry I was concerned that I wouldn’t find a space but I needn’t have worried as hardly anyone else embarked, the ferry was empty. I found a few comfy chairs, inflated my micro air bed and got about 5 hours sleep. 


One Response