Well, after waiting until 11am the Gunung Mas bus showed up. We had called our fellow, Rickey, at Perama two days ago to confirm our location and Bon repeated that she wanted a seat towards the front of the bus, because the second leg of our trip here two days ago was with Gunung Mas also, and the driver insisted that we sit in the very rear altho he finally let Bon move up to the row just in front of the rear. The driver of this bus was not willing to let us sit anywhere but the very back of the bus. Bonnie said she would get sick there and repeated that she had specifically requested a forward seat, even just one row forward would have been okay. NO DEAL! He insisted that we had to sit in the very back and even when I was willing as long as Bon could sit forward, still no go! This made me very angry...they even called our Perama guy and their guy, but the only response was that either we sit in those seats or we could not go. We pulled out our bags and asked for a refund...driver had no money and drove off leaving us with no transport.
We were perplexed until another van pulled up going to Ende so we decided to go there and then decide what to do. It was only partly full so we stopped at the van stop outside town, the place where we were going to be let out by the first Gunung Mas driver 2 days ago, where we waited to fill. Meanwhile, Bon and especially I were quite upset and wondering if all this was worth it...now it is noon and only half way to Mori once we get to Ende, when? Just as we're asking around about other vans or minibuses another van pulls up and is going to Ruteng. I feel like we'd be throwing good money after bad going to Ende perhaps not even getting to Mori until tomorrow and then what?
Finally, after debating this for a few minutes we make up our minds to throw in the towel completely and head back to Ruteng and then Labuan Bajo. More driving around with this van to pick up passengers, but at least Bon has a middle seat. Finally, we head out about 1pm and spend 3 hours + driving all over picking up, dropping off and ending at some town still 2 hours from Ruteng where the driver drops us saying we can get another transport for Ruteng from here!!! He's not taking us! He makes a half hearted effort to flag down another van but after a few minutes he drives away also! Luckily, there's a fellow standing by the road where we've been 'dumped' who takes and interest and helps us by speaking to each driver going by trying to get one to take us. After 15 minutes one does stop and agrees to take us and the fellow helping us says it will be 25,000 r each, a fair price and probably what the locals pay. Unfortunately, the only seats remaining are in the very REAR! What can we do, it's 2 more hours, 4pm and transportation is shutting down to Ruteng? We get in and bite our collective tongue!
At 6pm in the dark the driver drops us in front of LP recommended< Hotel Rima/B> and he does indeed charge us just 25,000 r., at least one honest driver! The people at Hotel Rima are very welcoming and even give us a break on our room which is one of the most expensive they have, it has hot water! Exhausted, frustrated, angry, relieved, hungry, and just plain fed up with Flores now, we have accepted our fate and must rethink our plans for the next few days before our boat leaves on the 18th!