We left the Losman Iklas at 8:30 and trudged down to the bus station where a truck was just about to leave for the town of Moni. We all climbed aboard and found places on the uncomfortable rough-sawn planks that formed the bus’s seats then settled in for the ubiquitous cruise around town looking for extra passengers!

The road followed the left bank of a river enclosed by sheer rock walls and dense rainforest. The road was rough and ill-kept and the truck jolted and rattled on the uneven surface. After half an hour or so the road turned east and followed the course of another river then climbed gradually above the forest and through a low, scrubby pass before descending to the village of Moni, nestled amid lush plantations of bananas on the eastern slope of Keli Mutu.

We found a place to stay and then had some food at a little family-run restaurant overlooking the valley. Thierry went off to reconnoitre the route up Keli Mutu and Ed, Michelle, Trish, Linda and I went for a walk down the road out of town towards the distant sea, accompanied by about 40 local kids. We took a lot of photos of them and Ed and I climbed a tree with some of them before they all went home happy.

Local Friends, Flores. L-R: Michele, Ferg, Trish, Ed.

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