The ferry to Flores

“No VIP tickets, finished”

Yelled the man “No problem, normal ticket ok.”

Now I’m sitting on a deflated blow up mattress on the cargo deck of the ferry to Flores.  Around me in no particular order of importance are:

About another 20 people who were also too late (or too poor) to get a seat or bed upstairs.

7 small ponies

12 boxes of chicks (as in small chickens), all “cheep cheep”ing their miniature hearts out.

One very irate girlfriend

Lots of trucks

Many small motorbikes

Hundreds of sacks filled with everything from garlic, to used plastic bottles…


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sally enjoying the cruise…

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the view from the top deck

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ponies to keep us company

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just about to disembark.

Fast forward 18 hours.

On the upside, we did manage to make it to Kupang in time to ship the new tyres we’re carrying to Bali, and then catch the 4pm ferry (which actually departed at 2pm).

The plan was to get a VIP ticket, which while it sounds great, just means you get to lay down in a cooled room full of bunk beds with another 40 people, mostly snoring, or playing different music on their phones at maximum volume.

The other class of ticket is “not VIP”, where you get to sit on a metal chair, in a hot room with 200 other people, most of whom are smoking, with bizarre music being played at eardrum shattering volume.

We arrived at the terminal at 1:55pm, and the loading door for the ferry was already being closed, so in the panic to get tickets and get on board, I missed the rising hysteria in Sal’s voice at the prospect of a 16 hour ferry trip in “not VIP” class.  It may have been more complex than that, but let’s not get bogged down with details here…

Once on board however I did pick up on some fairly clear signs that all was not well.

Anyway, we opted to sleep down on the cargo deck where at least no one was smoking.  The blow up mattresses we still have came in vary handy, and aside from the wind blowing a fucking gale, the horses screaming in panic every half hour or so, the chicks screeching all night long, the blindingly bright lights that were left on all night, the lack of any food or water and the 100% humidity from the fog that we passed through, it was quite nice night.

Did I mention the sea water running across the floor?

Never mind, it can’t all be white sandy beaches and Balinese villas can it?

We FINALLY arrived here in Larantuka at about 7am, and staggered into town to find another room, eat some food and crash out in another mosquito infested, then poisoned room.

Today was spent walking through town looking for some bits and pieces, getting a local sim card (our number is +6781337026357), eating some more and trying to find some vacuum hose for a minor repair on Betsy.

They don’t get many tourists in sleepy traditional Larantuka, so walking into a mechanics workshop with Sally in her short summer dress, while we tried to explain ‘vacuum hose’ in sign language – caused quite a stir.  Especially after I drew a picture of a piece of tube (that Sal said looked like male genitalia), and Sal made a sucking face complete with sucking noises to complete the mime.

The look on all the boys faces was priceless.

“Must be time for a beer” – Sally.

On that note, bye all!!

6 thoughts on “The ferry to Flores

  1. Dean, she may be just a girl but isn’t she tough?! So proud of you Sally, and I bet you didn’t complain at all really……… Very funny to read, especially the bit about the vacuum hose! Keep them coming, love you both, take carexxxx

  2. Tears of laughter…
    Dean, after years of living with Sally’s ‘irate-ness’, I reckon you’re about a broken toilet away from being poleaxed. Xx

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