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!
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.
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!
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!
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.