The incredible sulphur minors of Ijen!!!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Jun 19, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Indonesia  , East Java,
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the way we noted the 2 most ridiculous loads on a moped; 6 computer towers somehow strapped on, very impressive and a kitchen complete with gas cylinder and ketchup! Arriving at our hotel at 4:30pm after a flat tyre and a prompt wheel change we were shattered and had another early start. Over dinner we chatted to a couple of English girls who had nearly finished there 6 month travels and they gave us some tips regarding China and the full moon party. We woke up at 3.30am and got another jeep to the base of the mountain. We then faced a 3km very steep walk up to the crater which is 2368m above sea level. Believe me walking up a mountain at half 4 in the morning ain't fun! After an hour and a half we made it. The view on the way up was beautiful with the sun rise and as we reached the crater we were greeted by our first sulphur minor. These guys are incredible. They carry between 60kg to 80kg of sulphur from the bottom of the crater to the top and then down the side of the volcano. 80kg!!!! Our backpacks weigh 12! We had our photo with one of the minors as he casually posed and swapped the baskets of sulphur between shoulders. We tried to lift it but it was ridiculous. (Mark said he could have done it of course but he didn't want to embarrass other tourists). Not only are the baskets ridiculously heavy but they have the heat to put up with, the steep slippery volcanic ash covered climb and as if that wasn't enough! They inhale poisonous sulphur gases all the while only having there own scarfs to protect them. Absolutely incredible. The guys were all polite and seemed happy though and after we chatted to them we made our way to the craters edge. We peered down the massive crater to see a stunning turquoise lake with mounds of bright yellow sulphur billowing our clouds of toxic gases. It was quite a sight and within 5 minutes the whole area was covered in a thick cloud, then 5 minutes after that it was clear again. Constantly these minors were strolling past us as if they were empty handed. Our legs hurt after the walk back but we didn't moan. After what we had seen we felt a bit pathetic to be honest! Once at the bottom we had a lovely Indonesia breakfast and made our way to Bali.
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