One night at Hotel Terminal…
Arrived at LCCT Kuala Lumpur 6:pm. Flight to Surabaya at 6:40 am the next day, 12 hours later. Lucky I have my phone to play with and surf the net… brought some magazine to read too. TIMES… but that didn’t help much to kill the boredom. 😦 My phone and the internet is better than any magazine available, but all that would be useless with a low battery. Power outlet… that too needed to be accessible fast, so I had to find a wall socket and after that, compete with the other inhabitants of the airport that night and sit beside it like a monument, a decoration to the airport design. I recharged to full which took me 2 hours at that spot whilst surfing and online. After that became boring, I got to the canteen looking for food… eat, drink, whatever… Look around and you’d always see interesting people 🙂
Few others of the group member came to join me at 11.. some even came in at 4. Anep da Vogue Vas, came with our “official” T-shirt for the group… mine fits nicely, most of the team members I’ve never met in my life, but we got along fine quickly… the chemistry bonded fast and firm.. so for the whole night, we joked and laughed..
I was getting the feeling the table that we were at was the loudest that morning. What the heck.. it’s an airport anyway. So long we don’t do any act of terrorism I guess all is good. Azril brought a deck of cards… we shuffled and started playing, no gambling because it’s illegal in public… just laughter and jokes, and that really helped took hours off our time that morning.. 🙂
We started luggage drop and all the necessary check in process an hour before schedule as didn’t want to take any chances. Fortunately everything went well, nothing unusual or the sort, all of us waited in the departure hall and at that time, the drowsiness came creeping in, I felt my eyelids were heavier and getting difficult to stay in place by the minute..
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I suddenly felt the plane making it’s maneuver turn…. the voice in the PA informing us that we will be landing shortly, so buckle up, and straighten your seats… Confused, we already there…? I must have dozed earlier shortly after take-off, The last thing I remembered is the climbing phase, I didn’t even recall the captain making an announcement that we reached flight level or cruising speed. Felt like I am in a different time zone, back to the future or something. The fact is, we are in a different time zone.. 1 hour less than Malaysian time.
After landing we went through the customs and Immigration counter, scan the bags and head out. Our guide, Adi Sucaturman , Pak Martono dan Threessna, welcomed us with a big smile and friendly greeting. We started uploading our bags into the red fiery van waiting outside, decorated at the side with floral motif paintings, very eye-catching, nice..! surely we will get spotted within 8 mile radius. 😎
Ten Hours.. ‘s what the Adi told us, the time to drive to our guest house somewhere at East Java near Bondowoso, getting us closer to Kawah Ijen, our first destination. So the long drive began.
Went through the city, through traffic and thousands of people on motorbikes… The horn here is very important… everybody honks, not in an angry manner but more of a soft short burst of 0.5 second with double “clicks”. ¶pinn-pinn.. ¶pinn-pinn.. (Remember the road runner cartoon..??) 😆 ..Kind of saying “hello.. I am passing through” kind of thing… A code that everyone seems to understand and acknowledge. By doing so, they would give way and allow the faster vehicle to pass by, and by passing by means overtaking on both sides, regardless of using the kerb or let it be on a head-on collision course with a speeding bus in the opposite direction. It was ridiculously horrific, but after 2-3 hours, we all sort of get used to it, laughed and joked about it…
After an hour of driving and, we stopped for lunch at a place called Candi Cairo. Since it was like, probably the first time that we ever had lunch here, in this part of Indonesia the least.. It seems that nobody knew what to order or what the description on the menu meant, asking the guide, did some help, If only they got pictures of the food to be served, it would be great.! So some of us daring and some not, played it safe and shout out for something familiar or at least seems familiar. I tried something different and challenging.. ordered, es garbage (Iced Garbage), for my drink, which took the longest time to prepare… and I ate, something called Sup Buntut (ass soup) with a plate of rice and, another dish which I can’t remember.
some liked the taste of their dish , some didn’t, and few of us just didn’t care much… for me, it didn’t matter much as I was hungry and only wanted to eat, but I have to admit the soup was nice and my dish kind of satisfying. The average charge for the meal each of us was around 20000 IDR.
The journey continued but soon after, we stop for a short visit at “Wisata Lumpur” (Wisata, means Tourist/visitor attraction± and Lumpur means Mud). So this area of mud, which have been a tourist attraction, have an interesting history behind this mud, well, under the mud to be exact… It is the biggest mud volcano in the world, created by the blowout of a natural gas well, drilled by PT Lapindo Brantas. They claim it to be of natural disaster, an earthquake which happened at the same time 275 km away. The incident flooded houses and submerged vast residential areas under tons of mud and the locals, who used to live in the affected area there are still dismayed awaiting compensation…
Hot weather and blowing winds that bring the odours of sulfur and mud together, stench the place with a pungent sour scent… we were there for just 15 minutes and I already feel the discomfort breathing the air.. I wonder how the nearby housing, beyond the walls of the levees, built to stop the mud flow can tolerate with such conditions. Take note that some people there will make an approach and try to sell CD, pictures and offer motorcycle rides, claiming this is to help the victims in one way or another. Whether to believe or not, their intent is up for questioning…. we didn’t bother much as I think the parking fee for that short 15 minute stop, should have covered it… 😐
Made a few more stop later on.. once time to buy the sim card, one time to buy a travel adapter, then again for a short break, drinks toilet etc… then to eat, it was around 4pm.. time for tea… Lots of stops here and there. What to expect from 11 people in a van right..?. 😆
Anyways.. managed to captured some snapshots of us making the journey….
from the top left…
- ::Anep da vogue vas… don’t know what he’s after, the girl or travel adapter.. maybe both,
- ::Pinky boy, (still in blue, standard issued uniform) tried to make a jumping pose but too tired after hours cramped in front of the van..
- :: the boys charging at the poor shopkeeper, buying sim cards like a pack of wolves, who had just found some meat… can’t live without technology eh..?, I tried but was unable as my phone used micro-sim cards and in Indonesia they don’t have those… Hmm. sad.
- ::still waiting for the others, in the electrical shop…
- ::tea time.. around 4 Pm.. Local time.. everyone is hungry for food, last lunch was 5 hours ago. Pick and eat, count later, so each of us just took what we wanted to eat and paid later, kind of street buffet.
- ::the girl in the picture, was restless as to why so many bloke of blue is present around her, the thing that he was selling, quite nice, and tasty, chewy and fish like taste, got 8 sticks of them myself … 🙂
- ::the uncle at the deep-fry stall, fried tofu stuffed with small noodle (suhun) . I didn’t notice at first and swallowed one whole piece of still prepared tofu without the suhun.. :p still it taste nice with the spicy sauce…
- ::stop for a leak and prayers at a petrol station nearby, that’s before we had all the food.. so everybody’s face is kind of limp..
- ::and lastly… scene just before sunset… got to view some nice landscape and red sun. This was quite far and remote from the population now and we were starting to climb uphill the twisting winding roads. Everyone got off and started to snap pictures.
Then came the night… Removing all lights but just the Headlamps of the car…
The sun sets around 5:30 here… it was getting dark at the viewing point here, journey continues and still another 4 hours to go.. the roads gets winding and twisting while climbing uphill, at some point it was like a 180 degrees turn, then zig zag and swerving opposite traffic all the way long… Not so many traffic but still it got scary as the road was quite narrow… We thought at first we wont be seeing houses and villages, considering that we’ve been climbing to the high grounds and passing by forest since dusk, but suddenly we went through couple of residential and shop buildings, Literally we went through the town, right in the doorsteps of the houses and shops. We stop for the last time at Sektor Sukosari, Indomart, I guess it is like their 7-eleven equivalent, bought some biscuits, water and essentials things that is needed later.
After an hour… we came to some really bad road, piles of stone, heap at the side on the left and right, permitting only one vehicle to pass and those roads was terrible as the construction is still underway.. At some point we were amazed that the vehicle was able to carry us. Strong engines. 😯
After all that maneuvering, bumping and getting out ass thrown all around the air, finally, a gate. check point … how relieved we were as we knew we were close. We felt like soldiers back from some training passing through checkpoints, entering some secret facility at the middle of nowhere in the late nights.
Thressna slowed down and parked, right in front of us it’s signed “Catimor Homestay” Blawan Bondowoso. Our bed’s, hot shower, blankets and pillow waiting inside one of those rooms. The rooms, not all luxurious and don’t expect hotel quality, I only cared for a hot shower and bed with blanket, those 10 hours of dust and grime just have to get off me, by the way, we would have to wake up again around 3 in the morning for Kawah Ijen, our first destination of attraction. There are others homestay nearby, but I don’t know where and didn’t bother to compare. So after “decent” and moderate dinner of fried chickens, rice, noodle, soup, (the calories here is important, not the taste), nothing exotic or masterchef standard, most of us head to bed rest, recharge the phone, camera, while some others, take a dip in the hot water pool provided. I didn’t want to get too exhausted and went straight for bed. Good night.