Jakarta - Volcano day
Trip Start Dec 29, 2011
19Trip End Jan 18, 2012
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The driver picked us up at 9am and we were off to a day-trip big adventure to see Kawah Putih - an inactive volcano that erupted around 1830ish. The drive was about 2 hours outside of the city and another 2 hours up a mountain on a narrow road through a very poor village. Everything along the highway was so green and alive. It seemed the entire highway was step farmers along both sides. Step farming is basically where land on the side of a mountain has soil to farm but is not flat and doesn't have enough space to plot, so farmers flatten the land in to steps so it looks like layers of plots. Most were farming rice or Cassawa - potatoes used in chips.
When we hit the base of the volcano town, Cidiwey and we hit traffic and tons of motorbikes. The shops along the road were mostly run down, dirty convenient stores. So shops were selling kids furniture, mattresses, motorbike repair or wash, and occasionally the perfectly manicured mcdonalds. The drove was a long windy road. I waited for car sickness to kick in but it never did! As we went up the hill, we passed acres and acres of strawberry farm land. Some as step farm and other flat. There were several rice farms, tapioca and fish ponds as well. The sky was dark and we were expecting rain. During the drive, Sony and Mani told me of their honeymoon trip to this area. They attempted 2 days in a row to drove from their hotel to see the volcano crater. Both times it was raining, cloudy and cold so they'd never gotten the chance to see it. The sky's cleared as as we got to the top. We paid to access the road and another 2km uphill.
We got out of the car and I was immediately stopped by a group of squeaky teenage girls who wanted my photo. Sony hadn't warned me of this, but they are enamored with white skin. Mani felt it was so strange that people ask to have your photo just because of skin color. I didn't mind one bit. I think this is what a celebrity feels like. I kind of liked it.
We arrived at the white lake. I think the crater is usually dry, but when it rains, the sulfur and rain runs off the mountain and creates a white lake. It was amazing! The color looked like a glowing green in some spots and white I others. We took photos, chatted a bit, walked around and then had enough of the sulfur smell. It was intense. I was stopped 2 more times for my photo to which I happily obliged.
We headed back down a long drive through the village. We stopped for the restroom at what appeared to be a once resort with a huge sign for cafe and restaurant. We pulled in to find the cafe was pretty broke-down and not serving anything. According to mani, toilet were not in good shape so we left but got s good laugh out of the non-cafe. We stopped at one of the hundreds of strawberry stands and Mani negotiated 2packs for 15000 rupiah. The people at the stand were staring at me and I just knew they wanted a photo too. Mani suggested Pizza Hut for lunch and I was totally in, but our driver could not find it. We settled for Starbucks sandwiches and coffees, then back on the road. We sat in a ton of traffic but I didn't mind at all. We had an occasional conversation about dfcb, Chicago/Jakarta differences, perspectives on the world and the people in it and anything else random that came up.
We got back to their apt for a quick regroup. Mani was dying to play bartender so we played along and had Screwdrivers. They don't usually drink at home, but they have bottles of vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila and wine stashed in every room in odd places in furniture.
We headed out to the Plaza Indonesia mall for dim sum at Din Tai Fung. I had a couple of beers and we ordered several dumplings. Then home where we crashed again. It was an amazing day in the world with 2 of the most wonderful people I've ever known.