Day 8: Active Volcano

Sunrise at Bromo

Trinh and I got up at 3:15AM and tried to stay warm while dressing. I should have slept with my clothing in the bed with me in order to pre-heat the clothing. We met our guides outside the hotel and got into a small blue Jeep. For the next thirty minutes, our Jeep and hundreds of other jeeps climbing a hill facing Mount Bromo. It was exciting to see the car lights at the bottom of the hill. After 40 minutes of mountain traffic, we came as far we could. It was a Saturday and there were hundreds and hundreds of people, and their jeeps, on the hill.

When we got out of the jeep I had a little panic shiver, but as we hiked up the hill and through the mass of waiting people I got warmer. I thought about how good I am at weaving through a crowd lately. My crowd weaving is a more recently developed skill. Our guide, Iwan, bought us to higher ground to look towards the volcano. Because of the thick gray clouds over the mountain, we couldn’t see anyway.

Trinh and I sat on the ground and scanned through the clouds for forty minutes hoping for a glimpse of the volcano. Once the sun rose the heavy haze of over us blew away and we could see that we were above the clouds. The views that enjoyed from then on were chilly and awesome.


Sea of Sand

At about 5:45AM, Iwan brought us down the hill to the Sea of Sand. A large flat area of volcanic ash that encircles Mount Bromo. Iwan helped us take many photos and then drove us to the base of the volcano.

The Crater

Trinh and I walked with Iwan and 200 other people, 1 mile from the Jeep parking area and up a staircase. The walk was as Trinh said, “breathtaking”. We are quite out of shape. Reaching the perimeter of the cater was once in a lifetime.

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Bromo is a lava-less volcano, it has sulphuric gas flowing into the air. When the cloud of gas does reach your lungs it tingles and makes you cough. Staring into the center was fascinating! You can hear the sulphuric rocks, which made the whole experience even the photos, smell like rotten eggs, producing gas. It was amazing to be on the edge.

Iwan showed us a way to walk down the mountain and bypass the crowds. We walked slowly through the sands and passed the little horses that were ferrying the out-of-shapes to and from the mountain. We made it back to our hotel for breakfast, then I rushed to the toilet, and we packed and got in the car for a seven-hour ride to Ijen Crater.

Recently, I’ve been reading and learning about the Obamas and have been thinking that it might be good for me to eventually spend my time working on improving things in the US. Not to be noble or anything, but to avoid the life of Emails and office manners that awaits me. I can use my charisma and knowledge to inspire Americans to be a bit more open-minded. So I sat in the van and imagined a partnership with Amtrak that could help young people see more of America. A win-win for young people and an old monopoly.

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