Social Whisper

Mt Bromo & My New Indonesian Family

Posted on: June 1, 2009

Starting the day in a little boat watching the sun rise with dolphins swimming around us was perfect, especially as the rest of the day was going to be spent traveling to Java on public transport with only a rough idea of how I was going to get to where I was heading. Another problem that I’m starting to encounter is that I cant pronounce any of the town/city names which causes confusion all round and a lot of close calls of getting on the completely wrong bus/ ferry/ boat etc

The journey to Probolinggo in Java actually went without any serious problems although it did take 12 hours on the public buses. The public buses as like you’d imagine they would be in Asia, three times as many people as there are seats, everything from animals to the contents of someones house on board with local buskers getting on every 10 minutes to serenade you while you share sweat with the person squashed up next to you as theres obviously no air con.

The other thing to note if your planning to take the public buses is to know how much the journey should cost before you get there as otherwise isnt of paying 40,000 Rp you’ll be paying tourist prices like 300,000 Rp.

Arriving in Probolinggo and finding a place to stay (cheap but not great) where the owner (Coco) who was a local guy decided to take my well being as his personal responsibility. Within 20 minutes of being there he’d already arranged for my night bus to Yogjarkarta the next evening and a trip to Mt Bromo for the next day – leaving however at 2am that morning which was in less than 6 hours time and I hadnt even got near my bed.

Despite that I’d been up since 5am and had to get up again in another 5 hours Coco insisted on taking me on the back of his bike to this local place to get some food – I was quickly beginning to learn that I didn’t really have much choice in what I wanted and what Coco decided to do.

The food however was amazing – Hot lemon (I don’t know what they put in it but it was the best I’ve ever had) with fried chicken and rice in samba (the local hot chili sauce), but despite Coco and his mate trying to get me to go out to see this local band I was knackered and had to be up in less than 4 hours.

Until Baz (who works on Gili T and we’d all met in Vietnam) had told me where to go in Java I had never heard of Mt Bromo and had only just found out that it was a volcano. Sleeping most of the 2 hour journey in the bus we arrived just before sunrise which was nice but as I wasnt really sure what I was looking at I kind of missed the point.

Sunrise on Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo

Its also worth mentioning that in Java I’m basically like a celebrity as after the locals had taken pictures of the sunrise they then queued up to have their pictures taken with me, which if I’d known I would have made a bit more of an effort as pulling on an old hoodie over bed hair with no make up and first in thing in the morning is not a pretty sight.

After watching the sunrise we went drove over to the volcano itself and proceeded the long climb up to the crater, but once we were up there the views were amazing. Looking into the crater was pretty mental as Bromo produces smoke continuously, although when the wind changes direction and it blows it over you the smell is pretty intense and its hard to breathe (apparently the smoke’s poisonous).

Traveling back to Probolinggo I was ready for an afternoon of sorting my stuff out, doing errands and maybe looking round the city although I didnt have much hope for anything amazing there. Coco on the other hand had other plans and so off we went on the back of his bike for boiled potatoes round his house where his friend and his family and family’s family were waiting.

Although leaving at any point wasnt an option I had a really nice afternoon practising English with everyone in the family – the whole street actually while they taught me Indonesian and make me continually try new food and drinks throughout the day.

We also had a family trip down to the harbour to watch the sun go down and eat corn on the cob – which I hate (even more so because it was undercooked) but ate all the same while managing to fake enjoyment due to the pressure of 15 or so people watching my every move. Throughout the whole day there was also the obligatory photo taking of different poses as well as millions of variations with the whole family as well as individual ones.

My Indonesian Family

By the time the shuttle bus came to pick me up I was knackered and looking forward to sleeping the 10 hour journey to Yogjarkarta, but was at the same time slightly sad to leave my new family, especially as they had asked me to stay longer with them. But as I was quickly realising Indonesia is a big place and to get across it in time before my visa ran out meant that I had to keep moving.

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