Excursion to Luba and Tololela Village

Tuesday morning five weeks ago, after a cold night – but luckily I had two blankets, I rent a scooter for an excursion around Bajawa. They first offered me to drive for 200k rupiah the full day, but I neglected. For the full day the wanted to have 100k, but that seemed too much for me, so I negotiated 6 hours for 80k rupiah. That’s still a lot of money for them, if you recall that the weekly salary of a teacher is just about 700k. In the end the guy who I was haggling with just stopped an Ojek driver and in the end I got his scooter. I’ve no idea how much commission he took for hisself. The drive to traditional Luba village was pretty nice and only the last few metres were gravel road. The Inierie volcano, which is the highest volcano of Flores, is always insight and the traditional villages are situated on its Eastern slope. The traditional village of Luba consists mainly of about 20 huts which are arranged somehow in a rectangular shape. The people in the village doing their daily job. The men were maintaining a bamboo roof when I visited them. The first boy I met wanted to already have money from me. In the end I paid the entrance fee of 10k rupiah at a woman and signed into the guest book. There are also some small souvenir shops. I bought a woven belt, as I really liked the colour. Typically I’m not into buying souvenirs in such locations, but this one I definitely liked it from the first moment. Unfortunately, without a guide you don’t get much information, as the villagers hardly speak English. And with a guide you might get a lot of information, but also don’t speak with the villagers directly. After a while I sat next to Martin, an old man, and at least I understood his name from some words of English. Officially the people her are Catholics but they still practise their animism beliefs. After 20 minutes or so Pasha showed up. We were happy to see us again. Once we left an old lady came by and greeted us. I had no idea what she wanted. She was the neighbour from the hut of Martin and I saw her before. Somehow she pointed on top of her hut with the doll – first I don’t know how they get the stuff onto the top of the roof, and secondly I just hoped that it was good magic.

I suggested to go to Tololela village and not to the mainly commercial tourist village of Bena, as I got this hint from Joana. Shortly after Bena we saw a sign which pointed to Tololela. I couldn’t see any road on the map, but I thought OK let’s give it a try. Unfortunately, the road turned out to be pretty bad and I crashed also once and felt on my left side. Luckily nothing really damaged and I was not injured. But then the road just became a small hiking track, which was really hard to follow. So after a few hundred metres I stopped, as I wasn’t sure I far I could go with the scooter. If there’s a step in 2 kilometres I’m fucked up and need to drive back all the way. And the worst thing is I broke my camera at this small crash. I had it on my belt and unluckily I felt onto my left side, where the camera was. From now on, the lenses are no longer opening completely (I already had the feeling, that in the last days it was hard for the camera to open at all, and related that to some dust in the mechanics). In the afternoon I did an extensive Google search and it seemed that this is a standard problem of this camera type. Also the workaround didn’t work. Well in the middle of nowhere there’s no possibility to fix such things. That means from now on I can only make blurry photos with my smartphone, which is a shame for this beautiful landscape. Even the resolution is the same, but the CCD chip is less than a quarter in size, which affects quality dramatically, and the lenses and aperture are far from being the quality I had before.

I turned back to the main street and drove down to Gurusina, on my way back I saw a snake escaping from the small path…😲 Luckily I’m on my scooter and not with the feet in the high grass. Pasha followed the gravel road for a while, but it turned out the wrong way. I missed the junction in Gurusina near the police station and followed the main road for a while, until I realised that the road on the map is just a mountain path and I can’t take it. So, in the end we found again and drove up to Tololela. There were some construction works on the road and we had to walk the last few hundred metres, but in the end that was fine. Tololela is not yet touristy at all. It consists of two parts, a lower and an upper village. All the villagers are friendly only the dogs may barking. Beside coffee and cacao they also dried some nuts. I tasted them, they’re very rich in oil and tasted similar walnut, but a bit more bitter. With a special tool they open the nut while clashing on a stone. On our way back we passed by a hot spring, which was in the end just two creeks in coflow. One very hot and a cold one, which made warm water, pleasant enough to splash inside.

In the morning there are typically no clouds around Inerie volcano
As long there is water, the soil is very fertile at the slopes of the mountain
The huts in the middle seem to be for animism beliefs, while the graves next to them are Catholic based
In Luba the men of the village repairing a bamboo roof
Each hut has specific things on the roof. I guess that each hut belongs to a different family.
I was sitting next to Martin in the shade while waiting for Pasha
Don’t follow that sign with a scooter or even car…
…otherwise you’ll end up like this
Finally arrived in Tololela village
The huts are similar and the people drying different fruits on the square in the sun
The family doing still their daily business. During the day mainly the woman, children and elderly are at home. Her one girl opens the nuts. Weaving their own clothes is still common, and takes a lot of time.
This pink Church remind me to the own at home.
Back in Bajawa, near the place where we got late lunch.

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