Written by Yulianus Irwan
Bajawa, the Pyramid Inerie, and the Jurasic park of Flores
My first page of 2019 is begun with a tremendous trip to the village hidden in the jungle, Wae Rebo. It was not because of the destination which made it memorable but the journey and the lots of luck behind it.
This time, we started the trip from Bajawa, a middle part of Flores which is about 8 hour-drive to Dintor, the base of Wae Rebo.
When knowing this many hours drive, it is only predicable tire appeared in mind added with the story of some bumpy roads created of how crazy the trip will be.
But, hold on! That was not the end of the story. The incredible thing before the trip was the atmosphere around Manulalu vila Bajawa where our guests Ben and Tim were picked up. They were amazed and energized by the beautiful sunrise and sunset around Manulalu with view of pyramid mountain, Inerie. This made us feeling that there would be miracle among the storm.
Almost the whole part of the island was having bad weather since the beginning of January. Just on our way, there was a big falling tree crossing the road which fell about 3 days before. Drivers had to be more attention when driving in this mountainous road.
As the trip was started, it took us about 30 minutes off the trans Flores which the road is skinny and windy but so well-constructed by the local government of Bajawa. The first part of the drive gave us such a chance to more seeing the Pyramid mountain, Inerie almost the whole part, its back and front part. We indeed did not miss this rare chance when the weather was so good.
After an hour drive, we stop for taking some pictures of Inerie with its small mountains on surface. Tim was just so impressed with the stunning view of the mountains and said if it looks like Jurassic park which he has seen in the movie and its park in US. This great attraction accompanied our first 1 and half hours drive.
The Superb Stops For Fresh Coconut And Mangoes Along the Road
“The road is considered as the windiest road I have ever drive” Ben said as an intro to his sleepy. He also said if he always falls asleep easily when sitting in the car but then immediately it has gone away as he found his favorite fruit that is fresh coconut. We decided to stop and spent about 15 minutes to drink fresh coconut water while enjoying the beautiful landscape of green Inerie.
It is perfect stop! Ben and Tim said all together. As we continued driving, almost arriving to the south coast of Bajawa, we were welcomed by thosands of mangoes sold along the street. As I know a very good lady, we decided to stop in her place and trying some of her tasty mangoes.
Enak! One of the words of Indonesian to say good taste that Tim could have said to the lady, owner of the mango. She even gave four mangoes for free to test. With no hesitation, I bought some of the mangoes to eat during our trip. We were just lucky that it was still mango season.
Arak was our next stop, the famous alcoholic drink in Flores. This is one of the main drinks for people in Flores to serve guest when there is special occasion and ceremony. Like in Bajawa, when there is a ceremony of building traditional house, they firstly start with greeting people who participating the ceremony by having speech while holding a bottle of arak as a sign of warm welcome.
In Manggarai, arak is also used to unite people who are in conflict. The mediator who is chosen to solve problems mostly using a bottle of arak as the medium of unity. The traditional rule is whatever happens if you have arak to unite, there is no way you decline. You must accept the solution.
Aimere is one of biggest towns to process arak traditionally from palm tree that we visited during our trip. They rely much on arak as their main income. They can produce 35-50 litters of arak per day with the percentage of 15 to 50 depending on buyers’ request. Bapa Aloysius, arak producer said that people in Flores mostly buy the strongest arak of 40 % to 50 %. Most of them buy for ceremony and New Year’s event in which each family of Flores doing small ceremony to end the old year and accept a new year.
After tasting little bit of arak, we continue driving and enjoying nice panorama along the road. Something that never missed on our journey was music. Ben and Tim were just so much enjoying the musi. Tim even sang karaoke, he sang couple of songs. There was a moment when Ben joked if he had to wake up because of strange voice. What a fun! We can’t stop laughing.
For them, traveling in Indonesia is not the first time. Ben, has been to many islands of Indonesia especially in the west part. What he really impressed was just trying lots of Indonesian culinary. He likes so Indonesian foods especially Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. That is why, during the trip in Flores they ate mie goreng that every restaurant has different taste like they did in Borong, Flore for lunch which they found so interesting and loved to eat.
One of the highlights of this first day tour was the visit to spider web rice field located in the west part of Ruteng which takes 30 minutes drive. Again, we were just so lucky we could see all the paddy fields were almost done planting. So green and all of the parts could be fully planted due to having so much water after the rain. This serving us an incredible experience that made us could not stop taking lots of pictures.
Spider web rice field is primarily made based on the structure of the traditional house belongs to Manggaraian tribe which is cone shape and middle structure inside. Each triangle form indicates the distribution of the rice field for each family in the village and centralized in the middle known as “Lodok” at the paddy field and “Siri Bongkok’’ in the main house of the village (mbaru gendang). As this paddy field located about 1.100 m above sea level, the farmers could only harvest twice a year, December and July that is just enough for their daily consumption not for sale.