From Bromo to Surabaya to Pontianak

Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
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Trip End Jul 20, 2015


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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The bus dropped me off in Probolingo at the ungodly time of 3:30am somewhere off the main highway, far away from the bus station. There, a bunch of men were hanging around starring at me and so I decided the best thing is hanging out with them. A group of young guys came along, one of them speaking a bit English and they kept me company. I told them I want to go to Bromo but that the first bus does not leave until about 6am and I did not want to sit at the bus terminal. So we chatted away until about 5am, then they took me to a small travel office, woke up the guy who was sleeping on the couch and told them I need to go to Bromo. I bought a ticket for the 7am bus, another 2 hours of waiting, and he told i can wait in the office. I also arranged my accommodation with him; I wanted to stay at Yoschi's which costs normally around 75000 - 100000 rupiahs but i got my economy room for 30000. Luckily, there was an earlier bus coming and after about 1.5 hours or so I arrived at Yoschi's. It was love at first sight. Yoschi's is located 2 km before Ngadisari and about 8 km before Bromo. I wanted to stay away from Bromo so I can do some hiking. The stuff at Yoschi's was very welcoming and helpful. I had breakfast, got ready for the hike and off I went to Bromo. Many tourists come to Bromo for the sunrise; it was cloudy and I certainly did not feel like getting up at 3:30 to jump in a jeep, drive across the lava field and wait for the sunrise (if the clouds did allow the sun to come through). I didn't feel like paying money to walk up a mountain, and so, after a good lunch in Cemoro Lawang, the last village, I set off to hike to Bromo. I met a couple of off-road motorcyclists from Malang and one of the guys took my down the bumpy road and across the lava field and dropped me off right in front of the stairs to Bromo. Along the way, I met up with a chap from Probolingo who I met earlier on my way up. he wanted to practice his English so he accompanied me up the mountain and we counted the stairs. Its about 294 stairs or so to the top. Depending on the wind, the sulphur smells at the top can make you cry. I walked along the caldera but it was rather cloudy so it was difficult to see the depth of the crater. On the way down, I decided to do some more exploring and walked across the wide open Bromo area to get a different view of the area. It would be worth coming back again to see the area on a clear day. After getting back to Cemoro Lawang, I went back to the same restaurant, had tea and early dinner and then headed back to Yoschi's.

The next day, I said goodbye to the staff at Yoschi's and headed for Surabaya where my servas hosts Djoko and Henny were waiting for me. Both are green card holders and divide their time between Indonesia and the USA. Both of their children studied and live in the US and have no intention of returning to Indonesia. I liked Henny and Djoko's house as it reminded me very much of Frank Lloyd Wright. Lots of open space and the incorporation of trees, plants and fish pond into the house design. I got to try and see the preparation of typical Indonesian food. We checked on my boat ticket to Pontianak and found out the Pelni ship will not leave due to repairs. Luckily, another company headed the same way so I got my economy ticket for 190000 rupiahs (sleeping with 200 people on the deck), the last money I had. The downside was that this ship company, PT. Surya Mas, left a day earlier than Pelni. So I only had two short days with Henny and Djoko but I hope to meet up with them again, either in Indonesia or in the US.
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