07/13/2012 - 07/13/2012
Raining this morning in Bajawa so we prepared mentally for an uneventful day, little did we know… We switched rooms – unhappy with the boxy accommodation on the hill so we went to Happy Happy Hotel where the name says it all. The amazing owner fed us another breakfast and then we decided on making a hike of a village out of the main destination of the day – Bena.
Bena lies on the flank of the Gunung Inerie and is one of the most traditional Ngada villages. Houses with high thatched roofs line up in two rows on a ridge, the space between them filled with ngadhu, bhaga and strange megalithic tomblike structures.
Most houses have male or female figurines on their roofs, while doorways are decorated with buffalo horns and jawbones – a sign of the family’s prosperity. (LP)
We arrived in Bena and had a lovely walk through the village, empty of any other tourists. We had lots of photo opps and villagers were very welcoming and unassuming.
Afterward we set off down the hill on a walk to a hot springs and another village – Nage. The trek was simply amazing – jaw dropping views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea, through mixed banana, palm and bamboo forest.
We made Nage in 2.5 hours and had a quiet walk through the empty traditional village – we had the place to ourselves. It was a smaller village but we were impressed by the locals - they clearly were doing their daily biz and not putting on a show for the passersby.
The hotsprings were cool-looking, we opted not to jump in with the other expats bathers present. The waters were a bit murky.
We looked for ojek (moto transport) on the way back and lucked out when we stumbled on a few guys fixing a moto on the trail. They whisked us back to Bena as I had a moment of panic when they turned right instead of left at a turnoff. I screamed STOP and they explained this was the other way around the valley that would lead to the same destination. They were such earnest young guys that I felt reassured and enjoyed the alternative route back. (Equally exotic and beautiful all the way back) I was salivating thinking of what a beautiful mountain bike loop it would be.