Wednesday, 12 March 2014

That's Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, March 3rd-9th 2014

And that's Labuan Bajo...

So, having seen the Komodo Dragons and hopped onto a couple of tropical Islands all in the space of a few hours, there really isn't a great deal more to do in Labuan Bajo for someone on foot. Rent a moped and see some countryside, visit a few more rustic settlements perhaps. Hiring a moped around here though is a risky business, especially as I don't have an International Drivers Permit. A short hike following the coast road is nice with elevations along the way providing a few scenic photos. Very quiet too and a nice escape from the endless stream of mopeds and bikes in the village. Labuan Bajo is one of those small places that attracts a surprising amount of traffic leaving folks wondering where it all comes from!

  A hike in the opposite direction leads to those high end Western standard hotels and a fairly serious attempt at turning Labuan Bajo into a resort - although with the amount of garbage on the beach and around the place they have a long way to go. Actually the furthest hotel, Bintang Flores, is a good spot to relax by the pool and use their good strong Wifi, all for the cost of a coffee which can be made to last a while. Nobody seems to mind, the place is deadly quiet anyway with only ever half a dozen guests, all Westerners, so there's not exactly competition for the best sun beds!

A large village or small town, that's quite hard to quantify here - somewhere in between and the place is developing with plenty of small scale building going on. The majority clientele here are westerners, mooching around waiting for their boats to leave the place for a few nights and days - some never to return of course as they either head on to Bali. Some of course sink with sad consequences, especially for those over inebriated passengers struggling to put on a life jacket, if indeed there are any jackets at all! Plenty of western trappings to keep the moochers occupied from the inevitable flat screen football TV, pool tables and pizza, not to mention beef burgers and chips and , well, it just go's on from there with prices to match those at home almost.

So there you have it - Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia. A hotchpotch of tin roofs on concrete blocks below the hill while smarter places are being carved into the hill and beyond. Open sewers crisscross the place and with a significant amount of garbage strewn about it's hardly a place to be remembered for its charm - indeed rustic maybe to kind a description for Labuan Bajo. Having said all that it's pretty easy to stick with the principles of budget travel here with the necessary sacrifices of course!

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