Early Morning.. 10 october 2012.
I heard a knock on the door… my watch reads 5:00am. (4:00am Local time) should have been moving by now. I opened the door and Adi greeted me, didn’t see anybody else. My room-mate wake up afterwards. We were all pack and ready before bed, therefore when we were awake, it ‘s just few minutes and we were already waiting by the Jeep, ready to take us up Penanjakan, the viewing point.
We ride the Jeep uphill, stuffed at the rear and the drive took about 20 minutes, I’d guess it’s about 5 KM uphill climb and while walking is possible, it’d take probably 1-2 hours on foot. Then the driver parked at the roadside, lots of other jeep there and here we can see all the other visitors from other hotels. There are horses waiting and those who don’t want to walk, can have the option for a ride one and the jockey will lead up until the base of the stairs, for a fee of 100000 IDR, still, you would have to climb the flight of stairs to the viewing point. Which is about another 100 metres higher.
Anep da Vogue Vas seems to be enjoying his ride by the way, while the rest of us walked, it wasn’t a long walk uphill, just about another 15 minutes up.
I alone didn’t went all the way up to the viewing point as I found a spot nice enough at the lower part of the mountain, and satisfied with it, but the others went all the way to the viewing point. So I just stayed and talked to another tourist that was also there at the same spot while waiting. Few minutes later the sun showed itself and I began to click away.
Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 metres (7,641 ft) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the most well known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god. _wikipedia.
There’s no need for elaborations here, google for more.
I took pictures, but only a few of them. Now is my time to watch the beauty of nature. Describing the wonderful scene at that moment of sunrise and looking at the shadows move and slowly wrapping it’s light around the mountain side is a breathtaking moment. I can see the dust and fog, moved around the in the middle of the vast plain, being blown by the winds, and later watching the fog, slowly vanishing as it is lighted by the warm light is just a moment not able to be captured. There is not a single special moment to freeze as every second since the sun rises from below the clouds until the next 15 minutes is magical. Every second of it. I just sat there at that spot with another guy that I talked to earlier. We were both silent.
Now I understand why I didn’t want to climb up the stairs to go up to the higher ground of viewing point, I wanted to be alone and enjoy the scene without the sound of cameras clicking and noises that I didn’t want to hear. Noises of people busy trying to get their portrait in the frame.
After inhaling deeply, I waited for the others to come down and for a while, I thought that I might have missed them or they might have missed me and had already waited by the Jeep. Slowly I made my descend and walked down towards our vehicle. Can’t quite remember the registration number and was trying to recall as best as I could. Managed to recognize the driver though and he was waiting by the roadside. Obviously, the others haven’t come down.
Local here mostly used to visitors to their village, would know how to take advantage of that… some would ask for “donations”, or sincere monetary gifts, lots of them will approach and try to sell something and even anything, souvenirs, momento, rocks, water, food, surgical mask, you name it. The hard part is to avoid them and get away not buying everything shoved to your face without annoying them. The tips to avoid them? there are none… even your guide can’t protect you from these salesmen. It is all up to you to know how to hold on to your wallet.
Souvenirs T-shirt, salesman are already waiting by the jeep. Wonder where’s ours.
After waiting for some time, the boys finally came down and regrouped. From Penanjakan, we directly asked the driver to take us to Mount Bromo. It was just 10 minutes drive from our viewing point earlier. We crossed the “Sea of sand”, a vast flat area, sandy with dark black sand. A totally different environment as ten minutes ago, I am amazed how the landscape changed as it felt we were at some dessert whilst we were actually inside a much larger caldera surrounding Mount Bromo itself. I learned that the caldera was from a gigantic eruption few millions years ago.
The gusting winds would blow up at certain intervals picking up sands and swipe the whole plane with small sands, and It’s very uncomfortable when there are foreign particles flying around. The breathing becomes almost impossible. Visibility only around 5 meters at times. You can see them coming when the wave of sands closing in so there is time to cover up and head your face in the opposite direction.
The jeep parked at a designated parking space somewhere about 1.5 km from the stairs (rough estimation), There are horses waiting with their handlers and as soon as you exit the vehicle, they approach you and offer around 50000 IDR for the return ride to the stairs. We choose to enjoy the walk, take our time and sightseeing with every step we took, besides how often you get to have a feel of these sandy barren land anyway. 🙂
At some part of the trail, the sands sinks a little deep, sometimes to ankle deep, and when comes the climbing part of the trail, not that long, it’s like taking two steps front and one step back.
There’s no need to worry of dehydration though as there is a stop selling drinks, cola, mineral water, but I didn’t see any food… I am still awed that they were selling at a place like this in the open sandy winds, but they make a living by doing so and are used to it.
After 30 minutes walk, from the jeep- cross the flat lands- up the stairs until the crater rim of Mount Bromo, I could have sworn the time felt longer than that but the time stamp on my EXIF data showed otherwise. I stand by the smoking crater, guarded by stone pillars and wires for safety.. albeit some of them already collapsed… Slipping into the crater, might be fatal, unless if you are able to stop sliding and wait for the rescue team.
I didn’t know how slippery the crater wall was but I bet it is all sandy and sliding down there won’t be much problem… 🙂
Shortly afterwards, we started to went back down the stairs, I think there was 2 marshal/soldiers who were probably guarding the site, watching us and about to husk us away, we were the last three still there so we beat it before we overstayed our visit. I was feeling hungry also by the way and there’s still more to do today… It’s almost 9:00am, still early but we’ve other places to go. Walked the same way we came, and by the time we reached the Jeep, the rest was waiting for us, me and Anep da Vogue Vas, normally and Najmi. Most of the other Jeep already left.
Before reaching the hotel, we stopped by the road to get some souvenirs at the local souvenirs shop. They sell t-shirts at 20000 IDR, quite cheap and I like the fabric. Some key-chain, fridge magnets, painted stones from the mountains, and lots of other things. Pretty nice. Pinky Boy while waiting, had a back massage for 15 minutes from one of the locals and gave him some money as thanks…
All of us reached Yoschi Hotel about 10:00 AM.. had breakfast, bath and all are prepared, ready to go…
I would love to continue but the entry is just too long and boring… so That’s another day writing… 😀