Got a relaxed and easy trip by sharing experience

May 17 2024

Working as a tour guide is always fun.

Even it has been done many times, there are always new things discovered, sometimes surprising.

Just like last week. Exactly from 29th April to 3rd March 2024. Ino, one of our tour guides managed a tour for a family group from Italy for 5 days and 4 nights in Flores and Komodo National Park.

On the name board that we usually use for airport pick-ups, the name of the contact person from the group is written Massimo Yamato. It is very identical to Japanese names.

Then, to impress the first meeting, Ino tried to remember several words and expressions in Japanese, such as: O genki desu ka? Arigato gosaimasu, and others.

Mr. Yamato’s group arrived at the airport in time, just the same according to the schedule stated in the copy of the ticket sent to our office.

 

Seeing Ino showing his name board, Mr. Yamato immediately approached and shook hands. His wife, Mariam, and his son, Allesandro, also introduced themselves. Then followed by their two colleagues, Mr. Michele and Mrs. Anna. Yamato, Mariam, and Alessandro are a family. They live in Milan. A Big fan of AC Milan. Meanwhile, Michele and Anna, a husband and wife, live in the city of Turin. Of course, they really love El Signora, Juventus.

After checking their suitcases and everything, Ino took them to the side of the airport to get away from the crowds and good space for waiting the minibus.

As usual, our guide did some greetings and asked about the flight situation in English. However, specifically for Mr. Yamato, Ino asked in Japanese. O Genki desuka? No verbal answer. Mr. Yamato just smiled. Ino thought, muttered, oh maybe Mr. Yamato is not  comfortable using Japanese words because most of his colleagues are Italian.

After a few minutes, the car arrived. Saris (driver) and Ino immediately lifted and arranged their luggage in the car trunk. Then invite the guests to enter.

According to the program, after lunch, the group immediately went to Ruteng.

On the way, Ino explained about Flores in general about geographical, cultural, natural conditions, including religious life.

He also informed that some Flores people still believe in myths. The guests were amazed by this fact, especially Mariam and Ana.

They were very enthusiastic to hear the story. They replied that the myths also still exist in several regions in Italy. Even them who live in cities as modern as Milan and Turin still believe in myths.

One of the myths they told about is the bad luck that will arise if we encounter a snake or black cat.

If this happens, Italians will try to avoid it, or perform certain rituals so the bad luck doesn’t actually come to them.

Usually, according to Meriam and Anna, they will take a handful of salt and then throw it backwards over the top of their heads.

Surprisingly, the group had completed half of the journey. They stop for a moment and enjoyed a cup of coffee in Tado village. Ino and papa Kele ordered tea, the others preferred coffee. While drinking, sharing experiences continued.

They said that Italians still often get together and spend time with their extended families.

Ensure that the Italian is still considered as a family people. Then Ino tried to ask Mr. Yamato’s opinion about being part of an Italian family.

“As a Japanese, how do you feel about marrying and living with an Italian?” Suddenly they all laughed. Ino was so confused. Why are they laughing?

Then, Mariam explained that Mr. Yamato was originally from Italy. Born and raised in Italy. Mr. Yamato added that the name Yamato is somewhat similar to a Japanese name.

Ino himself felt so funny and laughed out loud. It was quite surprising but really helped to bond and made the trip relaxed and easy.

On this tour, the group did not visit all places in Flores, it is only on west Flores.  It’s a round trip. Labuan Bajo – Ruteng – Labuan Bajo. First day, pickup in the airport then directly transferred to Ruteng.

 

There are view stops for coffee and taking pictures. In Lembor, when the season is right you will have a big chance to see how farmers harvesting rice. In this tour, our group had it.

They saw the harvesting. One of them, Mariam even trying to give a hand. She helped to shortage the good and bed grains.  The second day in Ruteng, they visited a coffee plantation, walked around the rice fields, and got an explanation about the coffee process in seeding, planting, harvesting, and packaging.

Our guests were very impressive, especially after knew that Flores coffee had won the national coffee competition twice. They also bought several packs of coffee as souvenirs.

Next, they visited Bangka Tuke, one of the traditional villages of the Manggarai tribe. After looking around, our guests really enjoyed chatting with the residents who live around the village. 

From Bangka Tuke, they closed the second day’s activities by visiting the Inpres Ruteng traditional market. This market is quite attractive.

As one of the largest traditional markets in Flores, this market provides various commodities such as vegetables, rice, fresh meat, farmers’ work equipment, typical Flores sarongs, and some other things.

On the third day, the group headed to Labuan Bajo. In the first 20 kilometers we filled the activities with cycling. The chosen route was the Trans Flores road for 5 kilometers long, the road around Lingko Lodok or the Meler spider rice field for 10 kilometers, then back to Trans Flores for 5 kilometers. 

Our guide, Ino was a little pessimistic if they could reach the finish point or not. There were some reasons. Firstly, the group seems hadn’t cycled for a long time.

Moreover, the bicycle used is a mountain bike with a quite complicated gear system. Apart from that, the route has quite a difficult incline. However, their spirit turned out to be stronger.

They really enjoyed it and everyone reached the finish except for Mariam, who chose not to cycle from the beginning. After cycling, they continued journey to Labuan Bajo by minibus driven by Saris.

They stopped once to just stretch the legs. They slept more as they were a bit tired from cycling. On the fourth day, we took a full day tour to Komodo National Park. Unfortunately, Ale didn’t have the chance to join. He got a stomach ache. Get well soon, Ale.

Hopefully there will be an opportunity to come to Flores again. They trekked and took photos on Padar Island, snorkeled at Long Pink Beach, saw Komodo dragons at Loh Liang, took photos at Taka Makassar, went to Manta Point, and finally snorkeled and relaxed on Kanawa Island.

We were not so lucky with the Manta Rays. None of them could see from the Speed ​​Boat. The waves and currents were quite strong. In fact, this month is not a good season to see mantas. They decided not to snorkel and chose to spend more time on Kanawa Island.

The last day, there were no tour activities. Pick up guests at the hotel and drop them at the airport to fly to Jakarta. Before checking in, they expressed their feelings of happiness and were very impressed with this trip. Thank you, Mr. Massimo and all family members. Hopefully one day you had more chance coming back for traveling the whole Flores Island. Sayonara.  

“We found the tour guide very competent and make our tour very exiting”, said Massimo on his response to our tour questionnaire, few days after they are back home.

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