Labuan Bajo is the launching point for the famed komodo dragons and komodo national park. We flew into LB for the worlds heaviest lizard, and left without visiting the park bound for Kalimutu and the three coloured volcano lakes.
After the lakes we had delicious food, visited and swam in the waterfall that is a three minute walk from the centre of Moni, a township of 1000, and right under Kalimutu national park. After the waterfall we visited one of two hotsprings 3km from town. One in a small farm village, the other in the middle of the village's rice patty. As the mountains are dryer and cooler, the rice patties are perfect. ONe thing about the tropics is sea level may be warm, but the temperature is consistent. As the elevation increases the temperature drops, allowing indonesia to have a glacier, right on the equator!
Cacao!! we drove out to moni with a guide who is interested in helping farmers get higher prices, as he still is a farmer himself. We spoke of fair trade, organic... and get this, the indonesian government is pushing the use of chemicals, most flores farms are chemical free, and deciding whether or not to go organic! On top of that, here on flores the land is owned by the farmers, small land holders, and the difference between wealthy and poor is very small, everyone has food, there are food forests everywhere :)
From Moni to Ende (45000 people) we found a government man to take us out to a cacao farm, where the farmer we spoke with (bahasa only) had a university degree. he showed us cacao, and wow, the sweet white flesh surrounding the bean is sooooooo enak! delicious! and this is what is fermented away...
Cacao prices are 15000 IDR per kg, or about $1.80 Canadian, and it takes 20 to 30 pods to make a kilo. Many places sell organic raw cacao for 40$ per kilo... check out prices at http://www.naturalzing.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_48
Farmer direct, just like Saltspring coffee is my goal, and I want to help turn flores into the worlds organic, food forest darling, the global role model. The ground is ripe here, people are deciding whter to use chemical and are currently organic, the people are wealthy is food, love and peace, the land is rich, the children happy and at school.
Stoked on the next chapter, time to find out about shipping and importing!
A little more on flores
Immediately Flores screams wild. The mountainous terrain consists of smoking volcanos and on trans island snake road hugging the steep slopes. All people on Flores have food, there are amazing vast rice patties, yet most of this virgin island is wild land. Everywhere is littered with bananas, corn, coffee, tapioca. We have seen cinnamon, snakefruit, passion fruit oranges and grapefruit in the mountains, vanilla, nutmeg, pepper, papaya everywhere, coconut at low elevation and of course cacao, the main export crop from here.
This island in the province of nusa tengarra is wild and remote. From west to east in indonesia it goes sumatra (largest), Java (most densely populated) bali (wealthiest, and only hindu island) lombok (islam, somewhat conquered by hindu balinese, now 10% wealthy hindu, 90% islam, from poor to wealthy, sumabawa (islam), Flores, (85% catholic, 15% islam).
Flores is and island where muslim and catholic are in the same family, cousins, maybe even brother sister. Here the two religious get along very well, and in my opinion the people are wealthy.