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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Indonesia : Flores & Bali

We happily left Sanur, since it was geared toward Ozzies in their mid 50s looking for a cheaper version of the Gold Coast without crocodiles and stingers.

Landing at Labuanbajo, our base for a week in Flores, we were greeted by goats and chickens patrolling the main street. Even if the city lacks some charm, the people are nice and the setting gorgeous. Nested on the side of a mountain, the town opens-up on a beautiful bay with hundreds islands. Watching the sunset from the balcony of our room was almost a daily activity.

We primarily visited this area for the Komodo National Park, famous for its dragons and its marine life. The dives we did there where the best of our underwater life, out-ranking Sipadan or the great coral reef. But the area is far from being a play ground for the beginners : the current is strong and sometimes it might even give you the impression to be stuck inside a washing machine. It was the first time that I saw my bubbles, instead of rising up to the surface, going horizontally before dropping down. Even the Napoleons, usually looking very «phlegmatic», were struggling with their buoyancy. But still, it was better than diving in an aquarium : we saw a constant parade of sharks, turtles, eagle-rays, tuna and barracudas. The best was the manta ray that went back and forth, fashion-show-style, in front of our wide open eyes.

The varans were also easy to spot. They were in the shade at the entrance of the national park, although not really waiting for us, but rather because the smell of what was cooking in the rangers hut attracted them. They reminded us of their far-cousins the Galapagos iguanas, except that you have to be careful approaching them as their length reaches 3 meters and their bite is venomous. It will take 15 days for a buffalo to die from it, and the dragon will follow him all that time.

We left Labuanbajo, wishing we would have stayed longer in Flores. Initially, we were thinking about using buses and boats to go back to Bali but when we learned that it might take 3 days and remembering our journey out of Java (see the previous post), we decided to take a flight that shortened the trip to 1 hour. Even if nearly all the domestic airlines are black-listed, it sounded as the best option.

During my high-school years, the body-board was quite popular. From time to time, we went to spots around Casablanca trying to rid some waves. At the end of the session, we used to seat on the beach talking about the day waves and the moves each one supposedly did, while looking at surf magazines. The most beautiful shots we often came across were taken in Bali. Since then I wanted to visit this place. For a long time, I thought it was an Australian or an American city, as most of the surfers were blond with a western type. I felt ashamed when I learned that it was an island in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, Bali was far from what I had in my imagination. The traffic and the concrete is heavily spread across the southern part of the island. The inefficiency of the public transportation makes you an easy pray for the taxis unless you stick to the «gringo trail». Our answer was to rent a motorbike and for as little as 3.5€/day (after bargaining), we regained our freedom.

After taking advantage of all the cultural activities in Ubud, we left our big backpacks in the hotel and went to explore the island for 8 days. On the east coast, we did some fine diving and snorkeling. Around lake Bratan, we walked in a New Zealand like scenery and back south, we visited the touristy temple of Tanah lot.

We enjoyed this journey through nice scenery and meeting the locals while discovering the unique Balinese Hindu culture. But as the rest of Indonesia, you have often to scrape beneath the surface to be rewarded with the country beauty.

We leave this country with a bitter-sweet taste. Indonesia has some true gems and offers a nice change of scenery. But we did not like all the attempts to rip off the orang-asing (foreigner). Most of the time, the «tourist» price is from 2 to 10 times the local one. Even if you are always greeted with a big smile buying a basic item, such as a banana or bottled water, could be close to arm wrestling.

That closes the south-east Asia chapter of our trip. Unlike South America or India, the magic did not work but we will definitely come back, at least for diving and maybe exploring less touristy areas. We are now flying toward the middle-east, the last stop of our trip, which after 15 days in this region will be just a memory.