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Published: July 31st 2010
Viewing point at Mt Bromo
6th day - Probalingo
Arriving at 6:30 meant that we couldn't check into any hostels and get some sleeping action in until 12. One place did let us keep luggage in the hostel though, it was starting to warm up and I didn't want to carry my stuff in the heat, I already felt like curling into a ball and dying. This is what proper travelers do though, they go copious amounts of time without sleep, food or showering, getting lost in the middle of nowhere etc, I'm just not used to it yet, probably will be by the time i finish my trip though.
Got 3hrs of deep sleep in the afternoon but had to get up and walk down town to sort out a lift to the edge of Bromo.
Bromo is a group of 3 volcano's, which aren't particularly big for volcano's but the massive caldera they all sit in is about 2500mtrs high and if you climb Mt Bromo you'd be over 3000mtrs above sea level. It's a famous tourist spot of Indonesia and also features in National Geographic from time to time.
I originally planned to climb Mount Merapi with Dan but I also
View from Bromo
facied Bromo too and seeing as my French companions wanted to see Bromo I decided to go with them.
After sorting that out we went for a good but cheap meal in a really nice restaurant and ended up staying there for about 4 hrs to shelter from the torrential rain. In the end we had to just run for it, it was so hot inside the restaurant so i was kinda looking forward to getting soaked for a bit of a cool off. It rained so much that we had to wade through almost knee high water in some places, luckily i had flip flops on so it wasn't a problem for me. Bogden on the other hand had his only pair of shoes on. We needed to be up at 1:30 in the morning for the drive to Bromo. Once again I didn't get any sleep, just too humid as it always is here. Sometime on my trip I'm gonna splash out on a room with air conditioning to insure a good night's sleep.
7th day - Probalingo
Being wide awake I heard the minibus pull up and tried waking up Floret & Bogden,
Volcano next to Bromo
took a while because they were in a deep sleep, lucky guys.
We were dropped about 8kms south of the best viewing point for Bromo. We wanted to do the trek by ourselves but people kept wanting to be our guide and saying things like "It's far too dangerous to do it by yourselves, you need guide!", no we don't! If the Lonely Planet guide says that anyone with reasonable fitness can do this trek by themselves then that's the way we were going to do it!
It was pitch black when we started but luckily I had a torch (thanks Dad). The walk wasn't too bad until we reached dense vegetation, wading through thick bushes and climbing steep makeshift stairs. The reason for starting the trek so early was to make it to the top of the mountain adjacent to Bromo for sunrise at 5:30. We arrived at the top and it was raining and cloudy meaning we couldn't see a thing, brilliant!
It was cold and miserable so we got a some hot noodles and a coffee and started the walk down, this time by road and not the forest trek. Every few minutes or so motorbikes
would stop and ask us if we wanted them to take us to the bottom, tourist price of course. It gets very tiring, we must have turned down 20 or so bikes in the end. After 2 hours of walking we bumped into a French Canadian chap who revealed to us that we had been going in the wrong direction. We got on the right path but now risked missing our private minibus back to Probalingo because of being majorly behind schedule. We turned a corner and the clouds parted, half unveiling Bromo and another volcano which was good, but also a winding road going off in the distance to the bottom of the mountain and then across the caldera past all 3 volcano's. Our transport was on the other side of these volcano's! I was starting to feel the strain, no sleep for 2 nights, one small pot of Indonesian style pot noodle for energy, lack of motivation etc. As we stepped in the caldera we saw the volcano's more closely, they really were spectacular. The 2 we walked by the side of were dormant one's but further on we got closer to Bromo which is still kicking out smoke most of the time but not really considered dangerous. Throughout the trek back Floret and Bogden hadn't shown any sign of fatigue, I didn't want to complain about my aches and pains but when Floret asked if we wanted to climb Bromo I quickly said no. It was only a mile away but incredibly steep to climb, I know you don't get these opportunities everyday but i was content with what I'd seen so far and my body simply wouldn't let me climb up hill anymore. We had 30 minutes to get our lift so I suggested we take a jeep out of the caldera and into the nearby town. I spoke to a man with a jeep and said how much? He replied 100,000 IDR (about a tenner) to which I replied 70,000....50,000 he then said, I quickly said "it's a deal!" before he realized that he'd actually bartered himself out of 20,000. His friends found it hilarious and kept digging at him. As we stepped out of the minibus back at our hotel the heavens opened, the kind of rain that hurts. Within the space of literally 3 minutes, the floor of the open aired hotel was flooded and we had to do all sorts of Indiana Jones style stunts to get to the steps up to our room.
I couldn't find one bad thing to say about the hotel, it was immaculate, ultra friendly staff and the price was too good to be true at 13 pounds a night! I'll be recommending this hotel on the Lonely Planet forum because it doesn't seem to get many visitors, and it should do! It is actually quite new and also further away from Bromo than other towns so that's probably why.
We then had yet another night bus to take, this one would take us all the way to Bali - the next island along in an endless chain of islands that make up Indonesia.
There are 3 classes of bus in Indonesia - Ekonomi (basically a public bus that stops to pick people up along the way, no air con, squeeze in where you can etc) business (reserved seat with air con) & eksekutive (reserved seat, air con & the equivalent of a welcome break stop with a free meal) we always opted for the latter seeing as there was hardly a difference in price. We stopped off for our free meal and the guy serving the food dumped a large amount of rice on my plate, I noticed some things crawling about, like tiny ants or something. I picked a few out and then gave up and just scoffed the lot...ants n'all. I think the sleepless nights caught up with me and because of the air con I managed to sleep the whole way and woke up in Bali.
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You need the ants Stephen, good source of protein.