Wiki Info Labuan Bajo
After our breakfast at Gardena Hotel
9incl.in price) we went down to the Komodo Park office, not really helpful, only prices. Fellow said we must arrange our own boat! Bon was hoping there would be a regular boat over to Rinca but no such deal. Checking more and finding all boats leaving to Rinca go before 8am - now half past - and include snorkeling, not just a hike on the island. Also, none of the agencies put together groups so we tourists must put our own group together. We go to hang out at 'The Lounge' where we spend the morning figuring costs, alternatives, 'the value' of each, etc. in what we are planning. Bon was figuring we'd save $$$ in Indo since 6 years ago when she and sister Mari were here it was quite cheap. This time much has changed with accommodations and transport majorly higher.
We talked with a Swiss couple(Silvio & Sabrina) who've been traveling for the past 11 months and they've just come from E. Timor where they say, due to the NGOs and UN presence, it is VERY
expensive (due to unlimited budgets of NGOs/UN I guess). They came from the direction we're heading on Flores and traveled by minivan not the local buses. It was a bit more expensive but very convenient and time wise much faster. After looking over all our options and NOT wanting to cram into local buses or return via the ferry etc. - the route we took to get here - we headed for Perama Tour Agency who we'd talked with previously. They were very helpful, especially young fellow, Rickey, who sold us tickets in their minivan shuttle to Bajawa (where we spend a night) and then onward to Moni where we will find local transport up to Kelimutu. Wiki Info Kelimutu
Likewise, we decided to book the boat thru them back to Lombok which will include a stop on Rinca, thus killing two birds! Bon is relieved, she's been stressed by all the pre-planning lately and my guilty attempts to 'help' have often made matter worse. My big mouth opens before the brain inside considers what might come out!
An Aside: Spoke to the ticket fellow in Sumbawa Besar who said 99% of the people living there are Muslims. It came up in conversation when a 'caravan' of bemos and vans passed by led by a flashing blue lighted police car and trailed by one as well. We asked what it was all about and he said, 'Haj group'. We asked him if he'd been to Mecca but he said 'Oh, no. It costs 45,000,000 r.' Equal to $5,000+ USD.