Friday, February 15, 2013

Mount Bromo

This is day 1 of the trip where I went along with 2 travelers to Mount Bromo, Ijen Crater and Sukamade Beach. I also stayed with a Couchsurfing host for one night in Surabaya city.

I remember as a young child I was once plucked off the ground and positioned onto a super large, big-footed, Australian farmhorse. I was terrified and begged to be put down. The horse's head seemed massive, able to swallow a small little girl. So with some trepidation I went to the horse-riding activity where we could rent a horse for 100,000 rupiah one-way and ride in style through the gray volcanic ash ground to the top of the volcano known as Mount Tengger next to Mount Bromo.

I saw a white horse....aaaaaaaahhh... and my guide asked if I wanted a white one (instead of a brown one), perhaps intuitively he could sense that suddenly it became my lifelong wish to ride on a white horse. Perhaps the photos I saw of wild Camargue horses, white or silvery gray, lowering their slender heads provocatively and looking shyly through long fluttering eyelashes; looking like mythical creatures from Elvenland, perhaps these images had something to do with my sudden desire.

And the horses available on the ash plains were semi-petite, they were natives of Lombok; and later, as I was told, mixed with the Australasian breed to produce the horses common in Java. Minutes into the ride, I was no longer clutching the reins nervously, I just let my body trot happily along with the horse, it is akin to sitting on a roller coaster and telling your body: I am a sack of potatoes. I am a sack of potatoes. I am my own knight in shining armor on a white horse.

Sunrise scene, we had to be there at 4:30am to wait for the sunrise. Behind Mount Bromo is Mount Semeru, also an active volcano, the highest volcano on Java.

It was nice to walk around the surrounding, mostly made up of a farming village where you can spot picture perfect scenes like this. 

How the locals traveled - about 10 people crammed into the back of a 4WD.

So we each took a horse and made our way through the ash plains. The other option was walking, or on trail motorbike.


 The ash sands gave the place a dusty, end of the world feel. We were advised to wear surgical masks to protect our orifices, as in Ijen, but I wasn't really affected by the ash.
 A simple way to ascend the peak was to walk 245 steps to reach the rim crater. Or you could walk beside the steps, I saw some hikers doing that. The place was filled with local tourists being a weekend and a national holiday.

I grew less shy of asking total strangers to take my photo and getting quizzical looks holding my toy-looking camera. Here, he did a good job.

 It was super steep and one wrong step could send you tumbling, tumbling over. He was the only one who wandered that far, and actually he did that because he spotted a lone shoe.

On the far right side of the range the tourists tapered off and so did the handrail. If you are sure-footed, you can walk all the way to the top on the right, but I am a handrail holding traveler, so this was as far as I got.
 Local tourists who whipped out their cameraphones and asked politely and shyly for a photo with me. This is me doing the same to them!

 A Hindu temple behind, its purpose to worship the Bromo Volcano God.

 Back from the journey and into the 4WD back to the resort for a much needed brekkie!
 I want to hug that horse. Mount Bromo in the background.

We stayed for a night in a really clean and comfortable resort Bromo Permai 1. I cannot emphasize enough how amazingly pristine I found it. It also came with a hot water shower and sleep inducing sheets.

I wished I had more time to wander around the Cemara Lawang village, complete with tall skinny pines, fields of lettuce, and men selling hand knitted beanies.

In the early morning a 4WD took us to the Pernanjakan Peak where we had to ascend in near total darkness to a platform to view the sunrise from the eastern range of Mount Tenger. If you are more sporty/antisocial, the route leads upwards to a steeper climb where you can literally sit atop the crowd.

The hardworking women of the village set up makeshift stalls with an amazing wide selection of hot drinks. They had to wake possibly at 2 am and lug all the items up to the area. I especially loved drinking the hot Milo with water heated on a kettle on burning charcoals, and eating the fried banana, watching the local tourists, having my own quiet moments in the midst of the movement.

Special thanks to Meilinda P who put me up for the first night in Surabaya.

 Photos are taken with an analog camera Superheadz (also known as Vivitar Ultra wide & slim). Film used:35mm Lomography Color 400. Processed by Shalom Colorlab.

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