After our hike down Kelimutu to Moni, we headed back to Ende, from where we’ll catch onward transportation tomorrow morning. Ende is squalid hole of a town, ranking up there with Belize City, the worst place I’ve ever been. So rather than talk about Ende, I’ll write a bit about the transitions we’ve undergone in traveling to Flores. On our hike down Kelimutu, Joylani pointed out that the many of the flora looks different from anything we’ve seen. This is due to the fact that Flores lies in a transitional zone of flora and fauna. Bali is supposedly the easternmost point of exclusively Asian species, while the easterly Indonesian island of Timor is the boundary of purely Austranesian species. The islands in between are a mix of Asian and Austranesian plants and animals. Flores is also an ethnic transitional zone, with the west being predominantly Malay (who populate everywhere we’ve been since southern Thailand) and the east being more Melanesian, from whom the Micronesians and Polynesians are descended. Some of the people even have black skin and blond hair, something I’ve only seen in pictures of places like the Solomon Islands. Ethnographically, Flores also marks the border of Christendom, being about as far west as 19th and 20th century Christian missionaries ventured. Churches are all over Flores and the only religious distinction is between Catholics and Protestants; additionally, the locals we’ve met have names like George, John, and Roberto. Its always interesting to cross boundaries and its cool to experience so many new things in a single place.