Bromo: My First Indonesian Volcano!
Trip Start Jan 07, 2009
47Trip End Aug 04, 2009
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We first climbed to a lookout which was completely empty, and I don't understand why because the view was stunning! (These are the photos of Bromo above a sea of fog!) My camera batteries died up there, so I am glad I got a few shots! Next, I walked across through the fog, and then up to the rim of the volcano! By the time I got up there, the fog had cleared. Anyway, the photos can do the explaining for this part. :)
I was absolutely exhausted from not staying in one spot in a long time, so I decided to stay one night in Probolinggo. I figured many people probably did this...but no, most people stay in the little tourist town right at the beginning of the volcano hike, so I was the only tourist in town. It was interesting. There's nothing to see in Probolinggo, the people sure were friendly. I took public transport to the centre of town, and everyone on the little bus was just grinning and staring at me. Then on my walk through the centre of town I think every other person asked me my name and where I am from (and this is Java, so there's A LOT of people). Some just spoke to me in Indonesian and I looked confused. Then I took public transport back to my hotel again, and the driver didn't speak english and it was only school kids on the "bus" so I was almost wondering if I hadn't accidentally gotten on a school bus. I am still unsure. Then I was pretty bored for most of the day, and hung out in my ant-infested room. Every time I attemped to leave to go for a walk, it felt like all eyes were on me, and one time I was literally chased by kids on bicycles until the guys from the travel agency came and rescued me. They thought it was hillarious.
So, the next fun part was when the next day they decided to put me on a train instead of a shuttle bus. I don't mind that, except that I paid the price of a shuttle bus (probably about 5 times the price of the train), so I wanted a shuttle bus. I argued and argued, and I hate arguing...so they said "okay, pay 50 000 Rp more and you can go on the shuttle bus"...and then in the end they "changed their mind", and said that we had to hurry because the last train was leaving...and at the very last second, they shoved an economy class ticket in my hand, folded so I didn't see the price, and put me on the train, where (again) 100 pairs of eyes were on me. I don't think tourists generally take the economy train, (probably because the Lonely Planet doesn't recommend it). Tourists generally take the business class train, which is still cheaper than taking the bus! Anyway, there were no seats and no one spoke English, and I was already tired and frustrated and didn't really feel like dealing with this 10 hour journey. But I didn't really have a choice, and once we were on our way, and a nice man who spoke a few words of English helped me out a bit, I managed to suck it up and enjoy the experience, because in truth it was pretty interesting. After two hours I finally got a seat, which helped too. Then every person who spoke a word or two of English took turns sitting beside me to practice. The man from the beginning bought me some rice and tofu, which I felt quite bad about because I am sure that 2000 Rp is more to him than it is to me (it's about 25 cents). There were some weird moments, such as when one guy sat down beside me and kept talking in Indonesian and I had no idea what he was saying, but everyone was looking and laughing. Eventually he left and a girl about my age took his seat...what a relief! Then I met some guys from Yogyakarta (my next destination) who want to show me around "for free, to welcome me to Java" and gave me their phone numbers, so it looks like I might have some more tourguides for Jogja! (And I can tell the slightly sketchy people from the genuinely nice people who like to practice their english, so don't worry.) So, even though being on this train was a bit of a long and uncomfortable journey, it was quite fun. People are so friendly...and I appreciate it...but it's also a bit exhausting! lol
Then, when I arrived in Solo, my becak driver didn't speak any english and I didn't think he had understood where I wanted to go, but it looks like he had, because I magically turned up at the most perfect guesthouse where I couldn't have been happier to get settled into a nice comfortable bed! Finally, I can relax!