I was in the car for hours and hours and hours. The trip didn’t seem to end. My driver got his 5-year-old boy to join the journey and probably blocked out the fact that it was only me in the car, who couldn’t speak Indonesian fluently. Seemed fair.
The road to our hotel in Java seemed like the pathway to hell. It was dark, foggy and there was no electricity in the villages that we passed. The houses were either abandoned or inhabited by hooded people who carried around candles.
Alright. I was in a horror movie!
At least I was not wearing a white T-Shirt, though I was pretty close to run off screaming. More hooded men on the street. I could only see their eyes staring inside the car window while they walked around the car slowly. We couldn’t go that fast, as the roads were really narrow. The people looked angry and they stared at me in a weird way. How could I judge them. I was probably the weird-looking one hiding in the back of the car scared of them and the darkness. I pulled my hoody over my head and sunk into the seat.
We reached our hotel. It was night. My room had green moldy walls. There was one bed in the middle. The toilet was at the end of a corridor with flickering lights. It consisted of a hole in the floor, you had to squat over. There was no water to wash your hands or to shower. The kitchen was in opposite my room. A cat was screaming outside my window.
“You wanted to travel on your own. Congratulations, Denise,” I thought sitting down on my bed crying. I got homesick and called my parents.
“Think about the volcano you are about to see,” they told me, calming me down.
I only had 4 hours to sleep as my hike to the volcano Bromo was about to start in the middle of the night. I placed my sleeping bag over the bed and tried not to touch the moldy mattress. Listening to the screaming cat I fell asleep at one point, when I suddenly …
HEY!!!! WAKE UP!! W A A A K E UP! NOOOW!!
Someone was kicking at my door. Shit! I had overslept!
Yeah!!! I get it- damn it!!! What the …
“Leave 5 minutes!!” A small angry looking man shouted at me when I opened the door with half open eyes. Aaargh yes. I know. I KNOW … I have to brush my …
HURRY!!! LEAVE NOW!
“Fuck damn it! Yes! I don’t have water anyways,” I thought whilst following him out of the hotel. He handed me a winter jacket and pointed at the scooter I was supposed to get on with him. He reached out his hand for the money I was supposed to pay him.
I looked at the dark night sky and this strange guy in front of me, who had wrapped a black blanket over his head and shoulders, and told him he would get the money as soon as I was back at the hotel. He stared at me- I stared at him. No one moved until he finally jumped onto his scooter.
I did the same and there we went, driving along in the dark night over pathways that were not made for scooters. I questioned my sanity, but it was too late to go back and I was too tired to freak out.
In the distance I could see the dim light of a fireplace. Light. A least something that was not dark. We got closer and I saw 10 men, all wrapped up in black blankets, and two horses gathering around the bonfire. Ten men and me. In the middle of nowhere. Yeah. Great. I had never wished to be around tourist more than at that moment.
“END, here!” He told me and walked off into the darkness.
Wait what?! I thought he would bring me to the top the volcano? What the fuck was I supposed to do here now at 3 am in the middle of the night? I didn’t even know where this volcano was! I couldn’t see shit! I looked around into the faces of the men and realised that this was not the smartest place to be angry. I smiled helplessly at the nicest looking guy. And the nicest looking one of them was the one who looked indifferent, instead of angry. He did not smile back, but offered me to get on his horse for 50000 Rupiah. This was WAY too expensive, but what else could I do?!
I agreed and got on the horse. We walked around the corner for 2 minutes when suddenly …
ARE YOU F****** kidding me?! Hahahaha NO! I am NOT getting angry!
“What now?” I asked him and he pointed towards some stairs that led up a mountain. It was dark and I had no torch. Yeah .. I could have prepared for that. I had not. And – surprise- he had to stay with the horse whilst I had to walk up those stairs on my own. Alone In Java. Had I mentioned that it was dark?!
The moon lit my way up, but it was still too dark, so I took pictures with the flash of my camera to see the stairs … “A tree!! On the stairs .. Yes- great! How am I supposed to ….” I was grouching whilst climbing around. After 20 Minutes I reached some kind of platform, but it was too dark to see anything, so I took a picture and this was what I got to see:
Yeah! Great! Where was the guy with the axe jumping out of the darkness?! Where were my beloved tourists?? It was 4 am. There was nothing but fog. A lot of fog and a lot of darkness (I guess I had mentioned that already). So I sat down and waited. I waited an waited and waited.
At 5am I heard some people. TOURISTS!! YAY! Japanese, Canadians, Americans and French. WELCOME to my mountain of horror! How have you been?
“Freezing! We have been freezing,” one guy answered me with a smile. Same here, I thought! It was SO damn cold up there. At least I wasn’t alone to wait for the sunset above the volcano now. The sun was slowly rising and I could see the faces of the people.
And GUESS WHO was sitting right next to me?! The girl who was in the boat with me watching dolphins in Bali… hahahaha! I was so excited I wanted to tell her… Oh damn. She recognised me and was not that excited … hahahaha. Alright. It seemed to be true that you always met twice.
Unfortunately we could neither see a proper sunset, nor the volcano, because the whole sky was covered in clouds. Most of the tourists, including the dolphin boat girl, were leaving. It was 7am- I wanted to stay. I had not waited for hours in cold darkness, just to see clouds. They would go away. I was sure about that! The cold winds would probably not, so me and the Canadians were lighting up a fire to warm up our hands.
At around 8 the clouds had moved and we could see the volcanic crater spitting out dark black clouds. Nice!! Damn it was worth waiting! Black clouds were swelling up in the air and we could hear the volcano rumble. Wind mixed with sand and that insane volcanic landscape emerged right in front of us. Wonderful! I did not care about the fact that I couldn’t move my fingers anymore or that my toes were frozen. I was happy!
Good Day! Bromo Day!
I walked down to my horse and towards the hooded guy, who suddenly looked really nice in daylight, and rode off to my hotel, ready to face angry Agung, who had been waiting for me for hours. When I got back to my hotel room I grabbed my bag and met up with my driver, who had been staying in a slightly nicer room than me. Wait what?! He actually had a flat screen and a king size bed and I started to question if I had paid him too much, haha. The volcano was getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror as we drove off. The roads were covered in black dust and people were cleaning their roofs off the ash that had been falling down.
Java- You are beautiful!
Don’t want to be stuck on your own in the middle of nowhere? Still fancy an awesome tour with a lot of adventure? Just click here.