Monday, May 21, 2012

Bromo : Day 3

Bromo - Surabaya, Day 3 : 30 April 2012

We started our day early today at 4am to catch the sunrise at Penanjakan view point. To get there, we needed to take a 1 hour trip via a 4WD ala Paris - Dakkar race (according to our travel agent). Because of the bumpy ride, a member of our troupe (should I reveal who? heheh) couldn't really take it so that poor soul vomitted. Luckily we had plastic bags with us. Oh here's a hint: that poor soul was really excited the day before to get a tiger hat. Ahem heheh. There's an open space where visitors could perform Subuh prayers at the view point.

in the cold morning

4WD jeep

We reached there just in time to catch the sunrise. There were many visitors around, I really couldn't get a good view until I saw a vacant spot at the other side of the railings (but we had to be careful there as the spot is off limits supposedly, that is why the railings are there in the first place!) I couldn't find the others yet, so I just slipped myself through the railings in between the crowd and took pictures and recorded the sunrise. Well the video cam was with me since I took it over from the poor soul who vomitted heheh. The view was beautiful indeed, the sun rising slowly over the horizon.Subhanallah.


the other photographers

Then I remembered my friends. First I saw Liza and called her to find the others and come over through the railings. She rounded everyone up and we were all back together :) From this point, we could see 3 volcanic mountains - the nearest is Bromo, Mount Semeru and Mount Batok. The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is the only conservation area in Indonesia that has a sand sea the Tengger Sand Sea across which is the caldera of an ancient volcano (Tengger) from which four new volcanic cones have emerged. This unique feature covers a total area of 5,250 hectares at an altitude of about 2,100 m The massif also contains the highest mountain in Java, Mount Semeru (3,676 m), four lakes and 50 rivers. To read more on the National Park, go here
What better way to complement the sunrise watching amidst the cool refreshing mountainous air than having steaming hot coffee and tea  at the rustic wooden stalls by the roadside with good company. Ah dolce vita.


From Penanjakan, we proceded to the foot of Bromo via the same 4WD, but this time the journey was shorter.  At the foothill, we were given a horse (!) each. Mine was named Stefan. My jockey's name was Alexander (or something which sounded like that) Glamorous name hehe..

We rode the horses to a point where next we had to climb up the stairs to the crater of Bromo. I took the video while on Stefan's back, narrating the ride. Stefan also didn't disappoint me, he took to me rather well. Good boy Stef! ;) Of course, the horse jockey followed nearby, I wouldn't know how to ride a horse on my own! Actually, the horses are more like ponies, they are smaller. Pygmy horses maybe? Everything in Indonesia is small anyway, for example, I bought an XL t-shirt at Bromo without trying it. When I actually opened it back home, it was fit enough for me. I had planned to give it to my mom since she likes oversized t-shirts.

Sorry I digressed. Back to Bromo. Mas decided to fall back and waited for us at the drinks stall while we climbed up. Part of the staircases were covered by ash, some parts were eroded. So we had to tread carefully. Some of the braver ones just hiked up the crater by the side of the stairs, wearing just slippers. At the crater, there were no railings and it is only about 2m wide (or narrow, rather). So one must be cautious so as not to slip and fall in. OK I may be exaggerating, but I did have that imagination playing in my mind. Haiyo. Not for those with vertigo.

Bromo crater

posing sideways (trick to look slimmer)

horseback ride

Then it was back on the horses to return to our jeeps. Oh yes, on the way to the Bromo crater, we passed by a Hindu temple - the local Hindu religion of the Tenggerese is a remnant from the Majapahit era and therefore is quite similar to that on Bali but with even more animist elements. Source here  An offering ceremony at the crater is held once every year the Upacara Kasada held on the full moon of the 12th month (Kasada) of the Tenggerese calendar.

We then headed to an area reminiscent of a savannah, sans the zebras and giraffes. This was a resultant of the fertile volcanic contents and the climate there. Temperatures are refreshingly cool during the day, never exceeding 20°C but outright cold at night as temperatures can drop close to zero. Source here. We stopped at the savannah area for picture taking.

beautiful savannah

love this shot

looney kids hehe

Then we proceeded for the last picture taking stop at the Tengger Sand Sea containing volcanic sedimentation of ash/sand from Mount Bromo which seemed like a dessert. The Tengger Sand Sea has been protected since 1919. Source here

sand sea

It was then back to the hotel for breakfast. It was already 10.30am, luckily the hotel still had reserved the food for the latecomers. After breakfast (we were famished again as usual), we showered and checked out to head back to Surabaya.

It was another strenuous journey with the very fast driving (and sometimes haphazard, but none of us dared comment anything) of our driver. I would say for most of our Indonesian trips, we had to spend a lot of time on the road to get from one place to the other because of access via trunk roads. But of course this should not be a hindrance to our travels, as the journeys can be an enjoyment if you choose to look it from a another view - you get to see the quaint villages and the local folks with their unique activities.

Before reaching Surabaya, we stopped by at a placed called Semburan Lumpur. This spot used to be a village - not just one, but 16 villages actually - where the place was engulfed by volcanic mud as result of a blowout of a natural gas well drilled by PT Lapindo Brantas, in May 2006 although company officials contend it was caused by a distant earthquake. There are 3 hypotheses suggested which might have triggered the explosion (too technical to share it here, but do check it out at the mentioned link). It has been in eruption ever since and it is the biggest mud volcano in the world.  Source here. We took a motorcycle ride with the local residents to see the area. Smell of natural gas permeated the air - but heck, I saw a (maybe ignorant) villager lighting his cigarette and happily smoking away. Better stay away from him.

mud flow

We said our thank yous to the villagers, but left them feeling pity for the misfortune that befell them. We headed to another branch of Restoran Tempoe Doloe for late lunch. Then we went to Little Madina - a street stall shopping area selling religious goods such as prayer garments and garments for haj and umrah. Got myself a lightweight travel telekung ala parachute which you can fold them into a very thin layer and fit it into a cute bag, which is provided together. But unfortunately, we found out that we were ripped off by the shop as at the shop next door, the same telekung cost IDR 15,000 cheaper. We quickly left the pasar.

It was now already 7pm, the bazaar -Jamabatan Merah Plaza that would have been a good place for souvenir hunting and shopping was already closed. So we were brought to a modern shopping complex in search of souvenirs - but to no avail. We ended up having coffee and drinks instead.

We reached our hotel at about 9pm. Since we were feeling exhausted a good massage would be great to loosen our stiff muscles. Mas and Ezad decided to stay at the hotel while the rest searched for a proper massage parlour. Luckily our driver remembered sending a previous customer there - so he brought us to a spa center which I forgot the name. Our spa package was relatively cheaper than what we have experienced before. But later we found out that the masseuse asked for a tip of IDR50,000 from each of us.

After massage we went back to the hotel for rest. All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately this was it. Tomorrow we would be heading back home at 11.30am, so no plans for tomorrow, just going to the airport.Thank you Surabaya (and its surrounding areas), we had so much fun and Bromo especially was majestic. We would also like to thank our very efficient guide Wong and his trusted driver Pakzi. Thank you for making our trip such worthwhile :)



Blogger hortensia said...

wow, nice trip.

12:53 PM  

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