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Flores' beauty is exciting. When the Portuguese got here in the 15th century they called the island Cabo das Flores meaning Cape of Flowers due to its luscious green landscape. Like most of Indonesia the soil is volcanic so very fertile.
The whole island is like the biggest botanical garden, it never changes or diminishes the intensity of its millions of shades of green, aided by frequent rain that is never bothersome but only adds to the magic of the place. The clouds seem to be constantly hugging the volcanoes, leaving the blue of the sky to mix into the other colours of the landscape. Palm, banana and macadamia trees create several levels of tropical canopy and only jagged volcanos extend higher while lower down, white water rushes through bouldered rivers in steep sun kissed valleys where big colourful butterflies flirt with each other.
Everyone dries cacao and coffee outside their houses and the daily rain promotes a choreographed dance, involving pilling up the grains when the black clouds gather, covering them with tarps and vice versa when the sun comes back out twenty minutes later. In Flores we saw the best umbrellas, banana leaves, which seem to be the perfect size and rigidity as well as being as waterproof as goretex, unfortunately not so practical to pack into our bags.
We stayed only a week in Flores. Not on purpose, but things just seemed to slot into others without our interference, so we went where the wind blew us. The flowery journey started where another ended, as we disembarked from the pelni ship which had got us from Makassar in Sulawesi to Maumere in Flores.
As we walked through the harbour we were greeted by what felt like a million people who proceeded to hassle and chase and touch us. But there was one tout who walked with us for a while without asking anything, and when the big crowd had been left behind he interjected in the conversation correcting another tout who was hassling us, explaining that he should say "Excuse me mister" when speaking politely to tourists. We carried on dismissing them, but it was nearly midnight and we had no clue where to go.