Nuabosi and Ende

Seeing Frando’s familiar face as we got to Ende was a breath of fresh air. He had been waiting for us to arrive for hours, but he did not seemed even slightly bothered by that… He soon invited us to come spend the day and night at his village. We were delighted to accept: there is nothing we would have wanted more than to experience an actual village, not your typical staged-for-tourists places that most people see… He flagged a Bemo to get to the market, from where his uncle truck would take us to the village. He explained the road  was very bad, so the tourists that tried to get there mostly ended up turning around and going back. The market was as busy as can be, selling all sorts of fresh fruit, fish and local dyed clothing (mostly Sarongs). Finding his uncle was easy regardless, and we climbed into this open ended truck with wooden benches. We shared the ride with about 16 woman returning to the village after spending the day at the market, carrying all sorts of groceries back to the village. They all seemed surprised to see two Bule (their word for tourist) in the truck, and asked Frando about us. Everybody in the village knew him well, as his mum was one of the two teachers there … and if anything, our appearance would only make his fame increase! As regards his mum, she seemed to be a bit excited about our coming, and called him about five times to see where we were and why we were taking that long. I guess mums are the same no matter where you are!

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As predicted, the road was bumpy, but still more enjoyable than the earlier one that day.. The views of Ende from the mountains were beautiful, and the cooler weather up there, a welcomed feeling. Wide eyes received us as the truck made its way along the village to Frando’s house. And half the neighbourhood had gathered at his house to receive us. No one but him could speak English, so he proceeded to introduce us to all his family. All that time, half the village kids were lurking around, trying to get a glimpse of the first white people they had ever seen in their life. His mum soon prepared some fried cassava chips for us, which were really yum, specially since we had not had any lunch. We evaluated our possibilities, and decided to go check out a cave with a statue of Mary a few hundred metres up the hill and just take a stroll around town. A lot of kids followed us around, laughing, running, screaming and playing. We took many pictures, and tried a few shots with the go pro (check Facebook for video). After about 15 minutes of walking, we found.. a volleyball net! (of sorts) I was sooo happy to play for a while, even if playing if tramping boots soon proved to be really hard, it was so good to be able to hit some balls after no fix for my addiction for so long!

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By the time we made it to the other end of town, we must have had about 60% of the village kids on our tail… All the time I was chatting to Frando, asking questions about his town, culture and towns lifestyle.

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I had a nice refreshing bucket shower after we returned to his place, and put on long sleeves, as it started to get cool soon. They lent us some Sarongs, to make sure we did not get cold. I had to ask for help to put it on, and they were more than happy to show me how it was done. We were sitting outside talking, when more cassava came our way. I warned Frando I was not going to be able to eat dinner with all this cassava, but his mum seemed to think we needed nourishment. When dinner time came, of course, I was not hungry at all, so, after grace, I just tried a bit of every dish: rice, vegetables, fish. It had been a pretty exhausting day, so we went to bed rather early. We had a room to ourselves, so, as we lied in bed relaxing, we agreed this was possible our most authentic and eye opening experience so far. We were soooo lucky to have met Frando and get to be part of all this!

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The next morning was a bit cloudy, but we still decided to eat some breakfast (more cassava!) and head out to a nearby waterfall. A bit over an hour away, with stunning views on the surroundings, and with 6 boys as our company, we started walking to the waterfall. The clouds soon disappeared, and it started getting hot, so putting our heads below the waterfall was a must do. After enjoying some time under the water, we visited an adjacent farm, that grew endless fields of watercress. They also had a pong full of fish, that I imagine they grow for their consumption. The farmer’s daughter decided to put on a show for us and feed the fishy so we could see them in action, and it was pretty fun. By the time we made our way back to the house, lunch and a bunch of people were waiting for us. This time his mum had cooked  fish with lemon and chilli, the most delicious fish I have every tasted in my life.. Of course, accompanied by more rice and boiled green stuff. This time she even put some salt out, which I imagine she only did for us.. And it was all just wonderful. After that we had a cup of tea, and I tasted my first Indonesian cigarette. They blend the tobacco with clove leaves, giving it this sweet taste that is incomparable. No wonder why most man here smoke!

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We needed to get some washing done, so it was time to finally leave the village and head back to Ende. This time we went down the hill on motorbikes, which was pretty cool on itself.. stopping along the way to take some pictures. We checked into our hotel, and said goodbye to our good friend, agreeing to meet up again the next morning.

What I learned in my short stay in Nuabosi

-Pets in Indonesia are not kept for their company. Nobody strokes them or cuddles them to sleep. Dogs are for keeping places safe, cats are for chasing mice and other pests away. Hence why they look suspiciously at you if you call them… In many places, they eat either…

-Girls help out around the house from a very young age. Boys have fun

-Corn grows all year around in the tropics. Kasava makes quite beautiful trees

-Some Catholic families here pray before AND after dinner; they also meet after dark in private homes for another prayer session

-Even if there is a table at home, they will eat sitting down on the floor

-You can eat cocoa right out of the tree; it tastes nice and sweet

-Families share similarities, no matter where. Moms will worry and try to take care of everybody around

-Life in a beautiful, peaceful village is all most people need to be happy 🙂

That afternoon, we set off to explore Ende. We walked for about an hour, not finding much to see or do, so we decided to check out the local supermarket. I am always fascinated by these sort of places, as they tend to give me clues on how people live and what sort of things they buy.. Tim and me are very mature, so we bought some snacks called “Balls” and “Ring”, while laughing our assess off like 12-year-olds… And were lucky to find our favourite crackers so far, Sayur Creckers by Nissin. We stocked up for our upcoming interisland trip, and then  headed off to the night market in Ende. We were expecting to find lots of food stalls; instead, we encountered ‘shops’ selling clothes, fresh fish, vegetables, beans, rice and all sort of things… Instead, we had to walk further down the road, until we found a place selling Martabak. We ordered one, and while it was being cooked, some kids convinced Tim to buy some strange fruits. One of them is called snake fruit, and tastes a little bit like pineapple. I cannot even remember what the other one was. Unfortunately, one of the fruit was a fire ant nest, so poor Tim got bitten and had a nasty rash soon enough.. We returned to the hotel with our food, had a quite dinner, and went to bed, exhausted from a full on day.

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The next morning we got our shit together (always takes us quite a while) and went downstairs to meet Frando, who was meant to come at 9.30. At 10.20, he had not showed up, so we cut our losses and head out for the road with our packs. We found a ride soon enough and started towards our next destination: Moni

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