The Flores Hobbit

Our first stop leaving Ruteng was the Liang Bua cave, which made headlines around the world in 2003 for the discovery of tiny Homo floresiensis, otherwise known by the media as the “Flores hobbit”. Since their discovery, the bones of H. floresiensis have been the subject of intense scientific debate: does this population of three-foot-high people represent a species distinct from modern humans, or do they represent a population of humans with unique genetic characteristics or disorders?

As of 2012, the general scientific consensus seems to be that the Flores hobbit represents Continue…

Waterfalls and Falling Water

The benefits of taking a tour became QUITE apparent today, and this is only day one. Perhaps, the main attraction of Flores is simply driving through the island’s spectacular mountainous landscape – every turn is absolutely stunning.

Frans took us off the main highway for miles along very small (and potholed) one-lane road into a jungle-filled side valley Continue…

Can’t We Just Take a Tour?

It’s a long running joke in my family, an oft-reused line once uttered by my exhausted mom while she was backpacking with me through China: Can’t we just take a tour? The answer to that simple question is a solid YES – under certain conditions, of course.

Even for backpackers and budget travelers, tours can, on occasion, prove to be the best option. In some situations, they might actually be the only option. From our journey into Western Tibet to our cruise through the backwaters of Kerala to our recent overnight visit to Komodo, we have often opted for organized trips. The key is to understand what you are getting as well as what you are giving up when you join such an excursion.

Faced with a deadline imposed by Continue…