The images that the island presented to the imagination were very hard to avoid. The rocky outcrops took on the shape of massive triangular teeth, and the dark and moody grey brown hills undulated like the heavy folds of a lizard's skin. I knew that if I were a mariner in unknown waters, the first thing I would write on my charts at this moment would be `Here be dragons'.The photos then progress through the "smell" archway, and into the visitors village on stilts...
But the harder I looked at the island as it crept past our starboard bow, and the harder I tried to filter out the promptings of a suggestible imagination, the more the images nevertheless insisted themselves upon me. The ridge of a hill that stretched in a thick folding shape down into the water, heavily wrinkled round its folds, had the contours of a lizard's leg - not in the actual shape, of course, but in the natural interplay of its contours, and in the heavy thickness of its textures.
We moored at a long, rickety, wooden jetty that stuck out from the middle of a wide pale beach. At the landward end the jetty was surmounted by an archway, nailed to the top of which was a wooden board which welcomed us to Komodo, and therefore served slightly to diminish our sense of intrepidness.
The moment we passed under the archway there was suddenly a strong smell. You had to go through it to get the smell. Until you'd been through the archway you hadn't arrived and you didn't get the strong, thick, musty, smell of Komodo.
The next blow to our sense of intrepidness was the rather neatly laid out path. This led from the end of the jetty parallel to the shore towards the next and major blow to our sense of intrepidness, which was a visitors' village.
This was a group of fairly ramshackle wooden buildings: an administration centre from which the island (which is a wildlife reserve) is run, a cafeteria terrace, and a small museum. Behind these, ranged around the inside of a steep semi-circular slope were about half a dozen visitors' huts - on stilts.