Steamed not fried
Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
272Trip End Ongoing
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it was during this mini bus ride that I saw the damndest thing. its hard to describe and to be honest, unless you see it yourself you wont get a good mental picture of it but these people are farming on the sides of mountains/volcanos and the land is so steep I dont understand how they dont just fall off the face of the earth while planting their cabbage. I mean seriously, I saw these beautiful geometric fields just hanging on the side of the mountains as if defying gravity. as if farming wasnt hard enough as it was, these people decided to do the whole "death defying feat" aspect as well.
The mini bus was kind enough to drop me off at the front door or my little hotel and as i got out of the vehicle i was awash in cool temperatures. you are probably tired of me saying how cool it was up there but if you had been sweating nearly as much as me over the last few weeks, you would understand my delight. the hotel itself was nice enough but its winning point was that it was litterally on the lip of the outer rim of the volcano. i mean there was a little fence abutting my dinner table to keep me from falling off a sheer cliff and into the extinct caldera. i got there in late afternoon so my views were hampered by the clouds which would blow in and hide the scenery for a bit or just hide everything in a giant bank of fog....we were at about 10,000 feet so the clouds just came and went as they pleased really.
my room came equipped with a private bathroom and two beds with thick blankets. i immediately set up base operations on one bed by cannibalising the other blanket and making myself a little nest. the bathroom was pretty spartan and there was no hot water which really sucked because the cold water was fucking ICE cold so my shower lasted about 15 seconds.
everything in indonesia seems to be based on being there for the sunrise. with the tropical climate and the great deal of moisture in the air, clouds usually envelope everything by 10 or 11 am so if you arent there before then, you are screwed. all this being said, my wake up call was for 3am which is just ridiculous. there is no need to be waking up at that hour. going to sleep, maybe....but not waking up. I managed to get my sorry ass out of bed and was packed into a small little jeep for the ride up to the top most viewing point.....or as the tour booking people said it....where all the postcard come from. it was an interesting ride because we first drove down into the extinct volcano and across its long dead caldera and then back out and up its lip up into the heavens seemingly until we were soon awarded with one of the more amazing views i have ever witnessed. the sun was just starting to rise over a chain of volcanos in the distance off to the left (dont ask me their names please) while right in front of us we had the view of the three volcanos growing out of the much older one. at this time i would like to say if any of you would like to see the pictures of this and are not already on my photo mailing list, just email me and i will be more then happy to add you!
The second stop of the morning after the sunrise was up to the base of the still steaming Mt. Bromo where there was a trail through the moonscape and then a stairway ascending to the very precipice of this beast. this is something i dont think you would ever be allowed to do in america just for safety sake. i mean there were many times when the wind would shift (it was usually blowing in one certain direction keeping the steam away from us thankfully) and we would be submerged in sulphur fumes. the smell of rotten eggs in our noses and the burning in the back of our throats and in our lungs. all this being said, it was just amazing to be right there on the edge...looking down into the cracks as the steam bellowed out and if you walked away from the crowds a little you could HEAR it roaring out of the earth. it really was an amazing experience and made me feel very small and insignificant. geology tends to do that to me.....that and astrophysics.
I would just like to take this time to say thanks to all the people who wrote me with their condolences concerning my mom. It has been a really difficult time obviously but more so since I am so far removed from my family at the moment. I suppose i always knew in the back of my mind that this was going to happen one day.....that someone would pass away while i was out here but I never really stopped and considered it and i never even remotely thought it would be my mom. when i talk to people about my crazy little lifestyle they always say how amazing it is and how lucky i am and sometimes how they wish they could also live such a life but i always tell them that there is a trade off....that its not always rosy. I have no roots...i own no home or car or really anything of value. i have no wife or children to come home to and i my bank account will always be like an undernourished child...never quite as big as you were hoping for. Dont get me wrong...i love what i do and wouldnt trade it in for the everyday grind that many find themselves in (no offense) but like i said, there are trade offs and now you can add one to the list. you arent there when people you love leave forever. again, thank you everyone