A Final Day in Indonesia
After over a year of living and working in Indonesia, it was only fair that on my final full day in country I would watch the sun rise and set (cue: awww). Leaving a place and not knowing when you will return is always tinged with a bit of melancholy and thoughts of regret: all the things you still want to do and the things you would have done differently. I still distinctly remember the balmy temperature and taste of the last chevre salad I had in Paris after almost 7 months of living there. I always distinctly remember my first day and last day in a place. And in all honesty, after 14 months, my final day in Indonesia was the best last day I could have ever wished for in a country that I grew to love and still follow very closely reading news and chatting with friends who live in Jakarta. The sunrise over Labuan Bajo heading out to Komodo Island:
I sipped hot, oh-so-sugary Jasmine tea as our boat cut through the waters, passing other islands to reach the famed Komodo Island.
We met up with another ranger and began hiking in the early morning heat. We saw many deer on the island and I watched one get extremely close to a Komodo dragon — thankfully nothing happened.
The ranger station was, as on Rinca Island, a popular hang out spot for my lizard friends:
Just look at the claws on ’em:
After exploring the island, we anchored off of Red Beach (pantai merah). The beach gets its name from the color of the sand. To me it looked a lot more pink than red. The water here was some of the clearest I ever saw in Indonesia. It was also fairly cold and I thought my guide was joking with me when he said I might be cold.
For about 30 minutes I was in the movie Finding Nemo. The coral, the fish, it was too incredible to describe. How much are those underwater cameras?
The teenagers captaining our boat that day prepared a terrific lunch of grilled fish and plenty of vegetable side dishes. For the next few hours I sat on the wooden deck of the bow of the boat. I let the sun dry me off and I quietly thanked all of my friends and family who told me to just drop some cash and take this solo trip. I am now a big believer in solo travel. A week was the perfect amount of time for me. It was the best way to think about my final days in Indonesia.
When we arrived back in Labuan Bajo, there was a lot of traffic getting back to the hotel. We pulled over and I got of the car and witnessed a Manggerai festival. Yes, I did momentarily think of asking where I could buy some of the textiles:
I was dropped off at my hotel and I wandered onto Pede beach to watch the sunset.
Oh, Indonesia: you know how to hurt a girl and make her want to stay. It was one of the most magnificent sunsets of my life.
The next morning I quickly explored Mirror Cave Park before heading to the one-building airport.
As I sat in the airport I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the signs I saw. I guess smiley faces mean it will all be OK?
After I landed in Bali, I connected on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where my adventures in new countries began…
Where to Stay: I stayed at Puri Sari Beach Hotel. This is a pricier option that is outside of the main strip in Labuan Bajo. It’s quiet, clean and the restaurant there has good food.