Friday, October 17, 2008

Gunung Bromo

Even though the guidebook talked about been on Gunung Bromo for sunrise I decided to ignore this and do Gunung Bromo as a day trip from Probolinggo. I did check out of my hotel in Probolingo and ask them to keep my backpack just in case it did not work out to be only a day trip. I caught one of the local vans and since I seemed to catch the wrong one changed to one going to the bus station. Once at the bus station I avoided the people trying to sell me a ticket somewhere for the following day and found someone to show me to a van going to Cemoro Lawang or the town closest to Gunung Bromo.

I arrived at about 8:30 and had to set in the van until it filled up. Since I heard one of the couples in front of the van talking and they had arrived at around 6:30 so I felt lucky when the van pulled away about 9:15.

One thing you can say for sure about local transport in Java is they do not waste space in a vehicle. I think I counted 27 people inside the van at one time and I think it was suppose to be meant for 16. When I say 27 inside that is not complete true because when it was really full they could not close the side door. 27 also did not count the people riding on the top of the van or the people riding on the side hanging onto the ladder. This is a picture of the inside of the van but I don’t think it was at its fullest point.

This is a picture of a boy riding on the ladder on the outside of the van but I think at one point there were 4 people on the ladder.

We kept going up and stopping and dropping off people and picking people up. It was a pretty drive and even though it got really crowed at times I seemed to really enjoy the bus ride. There is something to be said about having a good night of sleep and being fresh making it easier to accept a crowded transport.

We made it up to Cemoro Lawang which has over priced hotels and was part of the reason I decided to stay in Probolinggo. I seemed to be the only foreigner headed to the volcano that came up on the van. All the other foreigners headed to one of the hotel rooms.

I paid my entry fee and started the walk down to and across what the guidebook calls the sand sea. This is a view from Cemoro Lawang.

It is a bit of a walk across the sand and than a bit of a climb up to the base of the volcano. I was passed by a herd of children on horsebacks that were from an international school in Surabaya that were on a daytrip. I talked to a couple of the teachers and children while taking breaks on the way up to the rim of the volcano. I also turned down the guys wanting me to take a horse up to the start of the stairs. I think I am about the same size as the horse that he was trying to get me to pay for so I just said no.

The guidebook says there are 253 steps up to the rim but really the steps were easier than the climb through the sand up to the base. I passed all the children at the starts of the steps when they were getting their talk about not pushing or shoving on the rim. I did not really listen to this talk and figured me throwing in a few children would bring me good luck and who would really miss a couple of children on a field trip. They all passed me on the steps up so were ready and waiting to be sacrificed by the time I reached the top.

This is a picture of the child eating crater from the rim of the volcano.

I really enjoyed standing on the rim of the volcano and looking around and it was also nice to be somewhere in Java where it was cool with a nice breeze. I enjoyed my time there for a while and then made the walk back down and across the sand sea and up to the town. I was followed about the whole way by a guy with a horse and I sort of enjoyed taking to him even though I did not want to ride the horse.

After having a good lunch of fried noodles I found a van headed back to Probolinggo. The van ride back took a long time but was not near as crowed as the one going up. They seem to drive about 5 miles as hour when the van is not full hoping to fill it up. When we got to Probolinggo I tried to pay the same amount as I had paid going up in the morning but the guy wanted 10,000 more. I just said why is it more to go up than come down and he took less amount of money that I had offered.

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