I arrived in Labuanbajo without any accommodation booked but I was lucky. I found a nice little motel/room behind the Main Street pretty quickly. It was snuggled on a hillside between all the local homes – clean room, big bed and no rooster! Labuanbajo is a town that has thrived due to it being on the doorstep of Komodo National Park and the diving industry. It is a laid back, colourful, sleepy town with handfuls of tour companies and some cute cafés and restaurants thrown into the mix. Strangely enough some quite tasty Italian food. It is also the only place I found on Flores where you can actually get wifi, so if you do go to Flores be prepared to be cut off from the world for a few days. As a word from the wise, or not so much, perhaps don’t leave your last message to your parents or loved ones as “right getting on a small local airline, slightly nervous but sure it will be grand, wish me luck. :).”
My plan was to relax on Saturday night, get a pizza, collapse early after the two days of travelling and then get up Sunday morning bright and early and find a tour boat which would leave on Monday morning and head to Lombok in four days so I could make my flight to Australia for the 10th. Simple, straightforward, definitely won’t be a problem. Nothing is ever that straightforward.
I found a sweet sailing themed cafe with a balcony overlooking the bay to take my breakfast. So after a delicious breakfast at La Cucina of home made granola, freshly baked bread toasted with strawberry jam and a cup of tea I started my search for a tour while exploring the town at the same time. Unfortunately, my easy straightforward plan of the previous night was not so straightforward. I found out that most tour companies are closed on Sundays and most tours only leave certain days of the week like Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday.
After an afternoon nap to help me chill out, internet searches, and many tour companies later I was still none the wiser as to what to do. All the flights were booked solid and finding a tour that fit the bill didn’t look possible. My solution – find a tour of the National Park for two days and then take the overland option all the way back. Not the best but I would get a better tour of the park this way. One birthday I gave my sister a magnet which stated, “Everything will be alright in the end. And if it’s not, then it is not the end” This is chanted on regular occasions. Anyways after I booked my transport and accommodation, truly, I think the world just likes to make me scramble sometimes, I came across an agency that had a three day boat tour leaving Monday, heading to Lombok hitting Komodo, Rinca and Manta Point. I immediately booked it and then went back and undid everything I had just done and decided to celebrate with a delicious Italian in Made in Italy. Polenta bruschetta, octopus salad and a healthy glass of red wine.
Over dinner, I pondered the next three days with apprehension and excitement about travelling on a boat that hopefully passed all it’s safety requirements and laughing at how my sisters quote did ring true.