Ummm hello? Ummm hi?

Mar 10, 2011 No Comments by

Mt. Bromo was erupting. Or more aptly it had been erupting for some time. This explained so many things. For example, why there were so few people heading up to Cemoro Lawang. Why everyone looked at me like I was crazy for going. Why the entire roadway and most of the town was covered in dirt. Excuse me, ash. From a volcano. AN ERRUPTING VOLCANO. I really have developed an issue with natural disasters. I don’t know why, it’s never been a problem before this trip. Bad nature juju.

I nervously asked the hotel staff if the volcano was safe and was assured that everything was fine. It was just spewing ash, not lava. Also every few minutes what sounded like thunder would roll through the village and the ground would shake. But no worries! It put slight hitch in my plan to climb Bromo as obviously you cannot climb an erupting volcano. The solution was to climb the neighboring Mt. Penanjakan for get a view over the entire crater. I had planned on climbing Penanjakan first for the sunrise and then heading over to Bromo. But c’est la vie.

After wandering around the village for a few hours taking photos, I went back to my room to grab a shower before dinner. And the lights wouldn’t work. Any of them. Worried that I had chosen a bad room I went to check with reception. There I was informed that the generator would turn on at 6PM. I thought it was a little strange that we were using a generator but I didn’t think much of it. Until I tried to use the ATM and it had no power. Then things got bad. The ATM is run off the government power grid which had shut down electricity to Cemoro Lawang for the past three days because of Bromo. That’s why the hotel was using a generator, because the village itself had no electricity. And more importantly they had no idea when the powers that be would turn it back on. Damn volcano! Taking a close look at my finances I would have just enough money to grab a shuttle back down the mountain if I was extremely careful what I ate for the next day. Note to self: always have an emergency stash on hand.

Did you know Indonesia is known for its fried chicken? Neither did I until dinner that night. They could give the Colonel a run for his money. It was super tasty and reminded me of home. I headed to bed early since my wakeup call would be at 3:30 for the sunrise hike. That’s AM. Holy god.

That morning I was thankful I had rented the poofy coat from reception and that I had bought the beanie hat the night before. It was damn cold. Worse it was a damp cold which went straight to bones. This was exasperated by the fact that I found myself once again on the back of a motorbike. Thank god I had ridden one the day before otherwise the dark journey up a dirt path might have freaked me out. Once we’d reached as far as the bike could go, we continued on by foot. Or actually that’s when the cowboys showed up. You could have taken the next part of the journey on horseback and I might have been tempted. But no ATM, no horse. And otherwise it would have been stupid since about halfway up you had to get off the horse anyways. Gotta give it to the locals, they find ways to fleece the tourists everywhere. It’s kinda impressive. I made friends with a nice older German couple on the hike up mainly for their flashlight. I had forgotten mine in the room, oops. We were the first to arrive at the top for sunrise. It was crazy to being standing on a mountain in the pitch dark listening to Bromo erupting in the distance. But it was also amazingly peaceful and you could see why this was a sacred peak to the Javanese.

Because of the ash in the air from Bromo I didn’t get the spectacular color sunrise photos I was expecting. But instead everything took on a misty otherworldly vibe. I think the photos turned out even better since they were different than normal. And I always like to be different.

Accommodation: I felt ok on splurging on the room with hot water instead of just cold. My room was pretty cozy, especially after I bastardized the adjoining bed for blankets. I made myself a nice little cocoon with the four blankets and felt like I was back in the Rockys. It was so nice to be cold again!


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