Saturday, 24 October 2015

Mount Bromo and the Bintang crisis

2 hours sleep last night and the alarm was set for 11.30pm to set off at midnight on a 3 hour drive to see the sunrise from a hilltop viewing point looking over a region of several volcanoes, one of which we hiked up a bit later.  the group sped there in 3 jeeps, our jeeps driver wasn't afraid to put his pedal to the floor or overtake on cliff edge bends, good job it was dark so we couldn't see how big the drop was off the edge of the mountain roads.
Not realising how cold it would be we caved in to the persistant hawkers selling woolley hats and scarfs.  Bec designed herself quite an outfit, indescribable, you need to see the photos really.
At the hilltop the milky way is putting on an amazing spectacle across the night sky and Venus, Jupiter and Mars can be seen brightly all in a row.  There's quite a lot of people up here but we manage to bag a good spot standing on a wall at the edge of the viewing platform beaten only by a gaggle of Japanese who look like they've been here for hours already all set up with expensive cameras and tripods taking 500 photos per second in the darkness.
The sun rises, the horizon goes red, silhouettes of the volcanoes and mountains gradually reveal themselves from the mist and one of the volcanes starts farting out little plumes of smoke right on que.  When the show is over we jump back in the jeep and drive off road down to the desert basin region for a bit of early morning breakfast in a moon type landscape.  We then head off to the foot of Mount Bromo to hike up to the top on the crater rim and stare into the mouth of the volcano.  It's huge crater is stained a rusty green colour and a deep grumbling sound echoes up from somewhere down its throat beneath the steam and smoke steadily puffing out.  It kinda instills a sense of respectful fear deep inside my gut at its awesomeness.
The jeep ride back to the hotel was quite horrific.  having had only 2 hours sleep a bumpy erratic ride in the back of a jeep with the morning sun reaching 30 degrees was, well.....horrific.  The thought of a  cool swimming pool back at the hotel was all that kept me going. 
Having only slept a couple of hours in the last day and a half I felt surprisingly fresh and decided to see it through and not have a nap.  In any case we seem to be surrounded by several mosques all of which are shouting out their call to prayer over the tannoy towers which isn't particularly relaxing.  I wouldn't mind so much if there was some melody to it but this out of tune warbling carries on all day.
When out for tea tonight we are disappointed to discover there's no beer available with our meal, it's a particularly Islamic city so a distinct lack of bars or booze anywhere.  My favourite beer and good friend Bintang will not be making an appearance tonight.....but wait...... back at the hotel they have some beer, we clean them out of the last 11 large bottles of Bintang with coincidently 11 of us sitting around the table, but after that it seems the whole city is dry of beer!  Maybe we should move on, yeh let's fly to Bali tomorrow!  They'll be no shortage of Bintang there.....

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