Back in the high life!
15 August 2012 | Maumere, Flores
So more than ever this place is reminding us of Baja, hot and dry, and a river that looks almost exactly like the way the tide cut into the Mogote in La Paz. Then this bay with the big city of Maumere seems like Banderas Bay, but it's not really that large. There were several boats and about 5 more boats came in at the same time as us so there were 11 total. We dropped the hook about 11am and found out that there was another hour time change set back, the 4th one in so many weeks?! (Indonesia has 3 time zones itself!) so it was really 10am. I had slept well with the engine running, covering the noise of the boys who had gotten up at 0630 to open birthday presents but had to wait for me until 0830. I also made some delcious chocolate Belgian waffles for Wyatt's birthday breakfast treat. So we really hit the ground running when we got here because of the birthday and most of these boats have kids onboard, so that was exactly what we needed. Our friends on Uliad came over immediately and took the boys and the dogs ashore while Allen and I tidied the boat a bit. Then the kids from the other boats all came ashore to meet M&W, and there were 4 Aussie kids on one boat (3 boys and one girl), 2 Aussies on another (boy and girl), 2 Kiwi boys on another, and Emmett from Uliad. There are even a bunch of little kids (two 3 year old girls and 2 baby girls). The kids hit it off and played on the beach for hours while Allen and I went to Uliad to visit. They were planning a tour to the other side of the island for Tuesday morning to see some special traditional weaving so I jumped in on that all day yesterday. We ended up back at Uliad for birthday cake Monday night and all the kids came and sang to Wyatt. It wasn't exactly a party but he didn't complain!
The trip to the other side yesterday was pretty amazing. This island alone has something close to 4 million people?! There are scooters/motorcycles zooming everywhere and it's insane. We took fancy taxis at 9am from the resort. They honk constantly to drive around big trucks. It was about an hour across and non stop traffic and houses all the way, but lots of green gardens and banana trees in the mountain pass. It's all black sand beaches around too, so it's not great to have a yellow dog bringing black sand back when they go to the beach, but it's pretty to look at from the mountain top. The little village was on the windward side so it was cooler, and it's a group of women working through the Catholic church where we went. The church itself was shipped from Portugal in the 1800's, and it's very beautiful, with giant cemeteries on either side. There are 5 thousand parishioners so Mass goes on all day on Sunday, about a thousand people per service!
The Ikat weaving tour started with the ladies showing us the cotton bushes they pick from, then a woman cleans it, another wads it and pulls it through a spindle and spinning wheel to make thread, others dye it and use indigo plant and some roots to make natural colors, then they string it around poles to make the patterns and have to line everything up by eye! Then yet more ladies in these contraptions they sit in like an ox yoke on the ground send the thread through the top and bottom strings, press it back to condense it, lift the separate colors and send the spindle through again, and press it back again...it was really quite convoluted. They make wonderful stuff and it was so cheap I couldn't possible bargain, which they like to do to feel that you really want their stuff, but it's so much work that you want to even over pay them! But we paid for taxis and the tour, so I bought a couple of scarves and amazing little shirts for the boys. It really breaks your heart to not be able to buy something from everyone as there's like 35 of them all saying, "Hey, lady!" trying to catch your eye with their style. My head was spinning not only from the car ride alone, the "jet lag" of sailing, and all of the stimulation that I finally sat down and had some water and had a moments peace. Did I mention too that I rode in the van with all the kids, and boy are they a worldly group. M&W didn't go, but most of the rest did. The boys stayed home to go "pulling" behind the dinghy on their surfboards, and one boy from another boat was with them too. They had a great time.
After the tour we drove back over the mountain and stopped for lunch, the "bazaar" fruit and veg market, and finally got back about 5pm. I was exhausted for sure! Then we ended up going out to dinner with most of them again because Allen had fixed the freezer on one of the boats and they were so grateful that they wanted to treat us! That's when I had the amazing pumpkin soup and "gado gado" peanut chicken satay at about 10pm!
So today we were trying to get into town again to find stuff like peanuts and cashews which are supposed to be plentiful here and cheap, but we didn't leave the resort when we got to working on trying to install the internet connection and I visited with all the boat ladies with the toddlers and babies, all girls. It was fun. Then one of them said she'd like to go for a run with me on the beach so we ran this afternoon at 5pm and the dogs ran too. They're awful tired as well from all the fun. They both seem too thin and bony after this trip. I hope my dog food supply lasts until Bali because I can't make enough scraps to keep up otherwise.
Tomorrow I will try catching some fresh beef at the butcher and a few more eggs and veggies. We will probably go to a couple of more stops along the way hopefully to make the last 300 miles more enjoyable since we have friends out here now. That always helps!