Gnung Agung


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July 6th 2006
Published: July 25th 2006
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Slowly being lulled into sleep by the rhythmic chugging of the ferry's engines. I'm 3 hours into my 10hour journey to Gilli Trawangan, (I'd decided to take the slow option to save some rupiah), one of three little islands off the North East coast of neighbouring Lombok.

Feeling a bit daft because I'd already decided a week ago to spend my time in the Gillis at the end of my trip, rather than in the middle so that I can relax and know exactly how much time I have. Never mind, I suppose everything happens for a reason, perhaps now I'll definately get to Komodo and skip Yogjakata on Java? Who knows, but thinking about it, I only have 20 days left! Jeez, it's racing by!

I should fill you in on the last few days spent around Kintermani....

The Gnung Agung treck started out more positvely than the last as I'd managed to get up and ready, (this time at 11pm), in time for Nataur to zoom us off to the foot of the volcano, me riding pillion on my own hire bike because the headlight on Nataur's bike was broken. It was a long, chilly, dark and wet drive over to Besakih and when we finally reached the slopes of Agung, my crappy little motor had great difficulty getting us both up the extreamly steep slopes - so much so that several times I had to dismount and walk. Charming hey? I pay Nataur shit loads of dough for a tour then he rides my bike using my fuel and leaves me to play catch up.

We finally made it to the start point around 12:45, a full three quarters of an hour before we were due to meet our Canadian fellow climber, so I curled up on a table under a shack thinking I'd recharge my batteries some more for the challenge ahead.

...

I woke up shivering in the darkness, found my torch and discovered it was 2:30am - I'd been asleep for nearly 2hours! I scanned the area with the beam but Nataur was nowhere to be seen. Fu*k. A little seed of panic was just starting to germinate inside when I heard a car coming up the track and Nataur appeared out of the darkness, illuminated in the vehicle's headlights.

It turned out to be two Canadian climbers, thought neither was the one we were after. The morning wasn't going to last forever and we set off up the steps of Puri Agung; the volcano's temple.

It was a gruelling 6 hour treck to the top, at points scaling near-vertical rock on all 3's (one hand to hold the torch - don't forget that all this was done in zero light conditions). I can honestly say the 3142m nearly killed me....hell, even after 2 hours my legs were jelly!

The reward, however, couldn't have been sweeter. Such an amazing sunrise I've never seen. The piercing sun illuminating the soft bubbly clouds that our volcano-top appeared to be floating upon. 'Dramatic' is an understatement. After a short 20mins on top, (it was quite chilly), we started the 4hour return trip, making the day quite exhausting and a dip in Toya Bunkah's hot springs essential.


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A funeral celebration we bumped into on the way homeA funeral celebration we bumped into on the way home
A funeral celebration we bumped into on the way home

Nataur explained that a black cow indicates it wasn't a very important person's funeral, whereas if the cow was white then it could be a village head or religious man.


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