Monday, March 9, 2015

2/20/15 Day 400 Blue Stones Black Beaches: Ende, Flores, Indonesia

We hightailed it out of Moni after we had a rather melodramatic goodbye from the crazy owner of Bambu. We hopped on a minibus for 30,000 rupiah ($2.30) and the four of us were pretty quiet for the next 50 kilometer drive past the waterfalls and rice fields of beautiful Flores island. When we arrived to Ende, we didn't really know what to do with ourselves anyways, we had only slept a few hours, had hiked more than 16 kilometers up to Kelimutu and back and been threatened with a machete, all before noon! We checked in at the Safari Hotel for 100,000 rupiah and called it a day. Certainly nothing fancy but it did come with a good breakfast and wifi, we happily devoured both. It is fortunate for us that Ende is a small town without an overwhelming number of attractions because our inhibitions were low with relaxation the primary agenda. My favorite thing about Ende turned out to be the bemos for some incredibly amusing reason they are all equipped with ridiculous sound systems and they bump up the volume of their poorly balanced, high treble sound along with their flashing led lights and furry steering wheel covers. As an extra bonus their horns have a fade away effect, you can hear your bemo from streets down, with nothing left to do except laugh as climbing aboard. We hopped in one of these pimped out bemos and away we went for 20,000 rupiah to Mbuliwaralau, more famously known as the blue stone beach. The road had its ups and downs over the hot asphalt and over one especially steep crest we heard a squeal POP thud-thud-thud as our now flat front tire struggled to the shoulder. With 30 minutes and a touch of patience we were bumping our bass along the coastal road again, deposited at the immaculate back sand beach covered in blue stones of all shades, shapes and sizes. We happily passed a couple of hours admiring the robin egg blue stones, turquoise pebbles, and sea-foam green rocks. The beach is well known and many of the surrounding villages have been taking the coveted stones for landscaping purposes, each day local beachcombers come and strip away one piece at a time, the geology that makes this place special, storing them in rock piles just meters from the beach with intent to sell them. No one knows where the stones came from in the first place and they are certainly not renewable by any foreseeable scale. Already the beach is covered in swaths of naked black sand, also beautiful, but not as unique as the stones. We managed to get a bemo back for 15,000 just after the sun set and we said goodbye to our magical beach. 

Our tricked out bemo
Flat tire
All about those decals
Nearer to the town the black sand is more trashy
But as you walk further away the trash fades and the black sands triumph 

Locals laughing at us as usual

Sorting through the blue rocks, and only taking the best ones, bucket by bucket
One bucket at a time still makes a big difference when this many rocks are stripped from the beach

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