It is odd how songs just pop into your head sometimes and then become permanently associated with a place.
Each evening, at around 5.30 PM, I start humming the tune ” Lipstick Sunset” by John Hiatt.
It’s a sad country song about leaving ( aren’t they all !) and as I fondly gaze at the gorgeous light show this evening, I feel sad to be leaving Labuan Bajo, her stunning sunsets and entrancing harbour, and her smiling but shy people with magic eyes.
There is a lively energy here in Flores. The locals belong to a distinctly different ethnic group, being much closer to Timor, and the sense of ‘Adat’ can be felt. The population at Labuan Bajo are either Catholic or Muslim, and there’s a small but growing Italian community in the “Little Italy” restaurant belt along the main street. The tourist industry centres around diving, with competing companies offering trips to the numerous islands of the Komodo archipelago as well as trekking opportunities to see the dragons on Rinca island. Komodo National park is a Unesco World heritage site and offers dramatic scenery for those who venture away from the main port. See my last post.
I probably won’t return , and if I did, I am sure it will have become a very different place. But, back to that haunting country song,
‘There’s a lipstick sunset
Smeared across the August sky
There’s a bitter sweet perfume
Hanging in the fields
The creek is running high
And I left my lover waiting
In the dawn somewhere to wonder why
By the end of the day
All her sweet dreams would fade
To a lipstick sunset “
John Hiatt 1987
To my brother Michael, who sings and plays this song better than anyone.