Ligaya in Indonesia - Labuan Bajo, Flores

Labuan Bajo is towards the western end of Flores. We anchored in a bay to the north of the port, hoping to escape the hassles of officialdom, but it was not to be. We were visited by a small boat requesting my presence at the Harbour Master's office.

I set off in search of the office. It was not easy to find. Few people speak English and those that could, did not seem to know where to find the office. I saw a big advert in English, outside a mobile phone shop, so went in there, assuming that they would speak some English. A young boy behind the counter went to fetch his boss, who turned out to be a one-eyed albino. The conversation went along these lines:

Do you speak English? He squinted at me and said Yes.

Do you know where the Harbour Master's office is? He squinted harder and said Yes.

Are you going to tell me where it is? Another squint and another Yes.

Do you have the slightest idea what I am saying to you? A reflective pause, a squint and a final Yes.

I gave up..........

As always, in this nation of boats, there was a variety of local boats anchored off the port. This is one of the boats that we think catches squid - on the outriggers are bright lights and they all go out at night to fish a mile or two offshore.

A huddle of live-aboard dive-boats around the dock where we came ashore in down-town Labuan.

They looked pretty basic, obviously aimed at the back-packer diver rather than at the luxury end of the market.

The dock was rather ramshackle, but at least there was a dock, unlike in Kupang, where we had to scramble up the beach.
There was always a reception committee waiting for us on the dock. The people were all very friendly and not in the slightest bit shy. Most people did not mind their photo being taken, and some actually wanted to be photographed.
Next to the fish market was the only garbage bin in town and people selling dried fish on the street. The whole town smelled of dried fish.
Big fish, little fish, lots of dried fish.
Some of the fish was quite artistically arranged. It still did not smell too appealing though.
Inside the market, the stalls were well laid out and the produce nicely displayed, but the overpowering smell was off-putting to say the least.
There were no big shops in the town, just lots of little ones and several small restaurants.
When I eventually found the Port Office, near the commercial dock, there were seven people involved with the clearance. Two actually did the paperwork, four were watching Donald Duck on TV and the only woman was playing Tetris on her mobile phone. From time to time, an eighth person, a guy in civilian clothes came in, wandered about opening various cabinets, and swished halfheartedly at the plethora of flies with a cow's tail. All anybody was really interested in was to collect outrageous fees for basically zero services. A fact of life in Indonesia!
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