A Travellerspoint blog

Bajawa, Flores, Indonesia

Homestay with Marselino


There aren't many transport options when travelling around Flores; you can either get a local van/bus that's crammed with people and no guarantee of when you get to a place or you can pay for a space in a car (it seems to be a popular way of locals making money). We caught a car from Labuanbajo to Bajawa (via a 3 hour stop in Ruteng) and then a short motorbike ride to our homestay.

There weren't many affordable accommodation options in Bajawa, but luckily we pre-booked a couple of nights in Marselino's Homestay...however...we got to his house and he said he'd got no message about our reservation! We arrived at the same time as 2 girls and ended up having a debate as to who should have the last room... luckily we won! It was a very basic twin room with shared bathroom (although the bathroom was more of a tiled hut with a bucket) and an amazing banana pancake breakfast.


Marselino was very 'rasta' laid back, with long dreadlocked hair and nothing was too much trouble for him. We took him up on his offer of being our guide around Bajawa the next day. For our evening meal we shared a huge plate of homemade guacamole, chicken satay and nasi goreng and then got an early night ready for our tour the next day.

Marseliono seems to be the man in 'the know' and had a busy morning sorting breakfast, bike rentals, transport for people... and finally we were off on our own guided tour with him. We followed him on a motorbike through beautiful scenery and local villages with the odd stops for photograph opportunities too. We stopped off a local cafe first where he collected our lunch for later... Hmmmmm, I was sceptical at this point whether I would enjoy my lunch to come as different sauces were ladled into a brown bag...


Our guide seemed to know everybody we crossed, something of a local celebrity. People were so friendly, almost every person would shout "hello" as we drove past and kids would be desperate for a high five.


Inerie volcano dominates the landscape. Jason was very keen to make the 4 hour climb to the top, but unfortunately we wouldn't have time. So instead we just took in the view.


The roads are lined with fruit trees, you name it and it was there...banana, papaya, pineapple, coconut, melon, guava and avocados. Marselino stopped to point out the avacado tree and to pick some of the fruits from the floor to make smoothies with. A conversation then started between him and a local farmer and they agreed a price of £1 for 15kg of avocados (Marselino couldn't believe the price in the UK, maybe £2-3 for one).


We visited a Ngada village named Luba first: quaint thatched houses with a centre piece of wooden parasols.


The wooden parasols in the centre represented a village clan and were constructed on top of animal sacrifices (a chicken, pig and dog had to be buried alive beneath them during a village ceremony). Marselino took time to explain about the Ngada traditions of the villagers; we learnt how they practice a fusion of animism and Christianity, that they still follow the caste system and how its a matriarchal society. It was fascinating to learn about their culture.


These buffalo horns and pig jaws are outside all of the houses and show what animals are sacrificed during the production of a family house.


We also visited Bena village, which is bigger than Luba and set up with souvenir stalls selling sarongs, nuts and jewellery. We got conned into buying macadamia nuts, only for Marselino to tell us that they weren't and if eaten raw in any significant quantitu they can be poisonous... lucky escape.


There's something to be said for living the simple life; families living side by side enjoying each others company, living off the land with plentiful fruit and veg, kids running around carefree, no video games or internet to distract. These kids were so happy with a plastic bag on the end of some string, running up and down the village screaming and laughing...I shall remember what joy a plastic bag can bring when kids at home beg for the latest computer game. I can hear my Wrinkles (Grandparents) agreeing with this sentiment as they have tried to tell me this for many years, "In the good old days..."


It was a short motorbike ride to the hot springs where we enjoyed a delicious Indonesian lunch (no need for my earlier scepticism). Wrapped in a brown bag we feasted on bamboo curry, thick vegetable omelette, spiced barracuda fish, sambol, rice and noodles... I wish I'd taken a photograph but we were too busy eating it! There was a local man there who insisted on giving us arak, homemade rice wine; the sory that when it goes down your throat it burns. Ergh! Not good, but felt impolite to decline his offer.

There's the perfect pool of flowing water at the hot springs, where a cold and hot water stream mix together. If you stayed in the flow of hot water for too long it was scalding, and with the weather being hot anyway it was unbearable. Nevertheless there were some patches that were just right and we basked in the sun. There was a really cute little boy there, who was showing off to Jason, jumping and splashing around like a fish.


After this we took to our motorbike again, collected Marselino's avocados from the side of the road and headed back to our homestay. It had been a really lovely day; we'd had a great guide, learnt a lot about a new culture and met some of the most beautiful people on our travels. I had well and truely fallen in love with Flores Island.


Posted by bloorsontour 02:14 Archived in Indonesia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


You're right Sophie,we do agree with your sentiments. Experiences leave happier and longer lasting memories than material possessions. End of lecture! Lots of love xx

by the wrinklies

Sounds like a really interesting place. Xxxx

by mutsi

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.