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Written on: Monday July 14th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

I left the Sea Adventurer and Labuan Bajo early the next morning, reminded by my pounding head that I'd drunk too much arak the night before, and took a five hour bus ride east to Ruteng. Looking at a map of Lombok, to travel from one side to the other doesn't look particularly daunting, especially after overcoming the hardships of overland travel through Burma and Sumatra, but because of the mountainous spine that runs the length of the island and the fact that the roads are so windy it takes hours to get anywhere. At least the journey was beautifully scenic, climbing cliffs strewn with lush green paddy fields and majestic volcanic peaks. The only off-putting part of the drive was that each time the bus rounded a corner (and there were many) I would look down through the window and see just how close the wheels were to the broken asphalt road surface at the edge of the road, that were we inches closer would crumble further taking the bus with it rolling down the side of the mountain. Forget crash barriers at the side of the cliff to prevent any out of control vehicles from hurtling off, you were lucky here if the road still had tarmac on it.  There wasn't a real reason for me to visit Ruteng other than to break up the journey between Labuan Bajo and Moni where Lombok's main tourist draw of Gunung Kelimutu, a volcano with three volcanic lakes sits. Ruteng is the first major town after the port of Labuan Bajo, but is pretty uninspiring apart from some rice fields that are laid out in a circular formation, looking a little like a spider web. The hotel owner of the Rima Hotel where I stayed continuously tried to talk me in to taking a tour out to see them the following day but I declined happy with the 20 million rice fields I've already seen and took another bus eastwards the next morning. Needless to say Ruteng isn't high on my recommendations of places in the world to visit for your only holiday of the year, unless that is I think you're an idiot, and then I might tell you it's unmissable.