Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 9 December 2009 • Itinerary
The night before we prepared our stuff. We planned to head out to Bali after coming down from Bromo so we packed everything up and said goodbye to Fahrur’s mom, owner of the dormitory. Fahrur that night happened to tag along since we had no idea how to get there with Puspita. Bondy was the driver that night being so long since he drove her the last time. We headed out at 10 pm to Probolinggo, the nearest town, and making a turn somewhere around there to Bromo. I slept away on that trip realizing that I had to be the morning driver. Through small awaking moments, I realize that Sally eventually was behind the wheel.
Destination: Mount Bromo
Our lives in Sally’s hands
I happened to wake up for no reason, and for unknown reason at the time Puspita just stopped working as she was slipping down the hill! All went silent… everyone in the car and everything outside the car had no sound. The motion of the car was no long forward but reverse down the hill! All you could hear is just the sound of the wheels turning, me trying to continuously shout calmly to Sally to put the car in gear… and eventually the sound of a hard Bang! at the back of the car ended this motion. Sally happened to crash it in to the small soil dune on the side of the street.
This little accident happened at 2 am in the middle of nowhere, where all you can see is silhouette of tree tops under the perfect full moon. Great scenery for an incident hehehe… No car was around, and no houses to be seen. And little did I know, turns out that Sally made the right turn, for if she didn’t then I wouldn’t be alive to tell you this. The other side was a cliff! Huff… what a reality check! It could be the last trip of my life. And yet, since I’m still given life by the Al-Mighty, it probably means… I need to do more trips for y’all!
We struggled to bring Puspita to a safe and decent place. Pushing, shoving, pretending like we know what we’re doin, and… We eventually left the car and asked for some help from the public transport passing by to take us up to the mountain. It wasn’t far up left but seeing the road having a slope more than 30 degrees, we we’re glad the incident happen sooner than later.
Getting to Bromo, we were already pretty late to get to Pananjakan. Usually visitors, get to the gate of this area and rent a jeep to get to Pananjakan which cost Rp 165,000 and can fit up to about 7 people. From Pananjakan, they say you can get a killer view of the sunrise! Since we had the accident and it took some of our time, we didn’t have the time to get there. Ah well, we didn’t lose everything. We headed to the sand dessert and crater that 5 am. The sand dessert was fogging and you actually don’t know where you’re heading to. We were all just following Fahrur’s lead. Seems like he knows where to go.
It was kinda like twilight zone not knowing where we were heading to except the horizon of the fog and sand. Getting brighter we could see that there is a Hindu temple, appearing out of nowhere. This temple is only opened during ceremonies which wasn’t then. Not far was the base of the stairs heading up to the crater.
The air was just cold and humid! The famous 100 steps ladder… Ding dong wrong! It was 254 steps up, just to answer my curiosity. My treadmill days sure came in handy here. Heading up to the crater was breath taking. The view was spectacular, the air was crisp clean, everything was just perfecto! Except for… *SOB* … Puspita…
You can actually walk around the crater reaching the other side of the mountain. We actually could go but because we had Puspita to take care of… then maybe we’ll leave this part for next time. So we hung out for a while and really sucked in the ambience.
We finally gathered up at the main gate and managed to make a deal with one of the local transportation busses called the Flash to help us take Puspita to a workshop. The whole day, me and my friends stayed at someone else’s terrace just waiting for Puspita to get fixed.
Because of schedule issues, Bondy, Ami, and Fahrur had to leave us that day. I can see they were pretty sad to leave us. It’s true! They would like to see Puspita all well and head back with her, but the circumstances are not favorable.
What’s great about Indonesia is that people are really nice! We were stranded on some stranger’s house in front of the workshop until nightfall while waiting for Puspita. However, the owner, which happens to be a Maduranese family were extremely kind that they prepared dinner, a thin mattress to sleep and rest, and sweet tea. Mind you, these people were not wealthy, enough to survive above the poverty line. We figured they were Maduranese from their dialect, and we had NO IDEA what they were talking about. The dialect was very strange that we couldn’t even guess what they were saying (Where is Madura you ask? Read on!). And all of these kindness was offered even though we were all lost in translation. We offered to pay them for the dinner when Puspita was fixed, but they refused strongly, and they even gave us some cakes for the road. Shed a tear to how nice they were!
Starting Puspita was no easy job, we had to roll it down hill. Sally had to slide down alone. Lucky all was good and the journey continued. Since the map showed us that the next city was a decent city, so Situbondo here we come! Along the way, we passed Paiton, the huge – yet wonderful to see at night – power plant that basically lights up Java. Damn huge and shiny! Passing through, I decided that we should stay at a place marked with a palm tree on our map – Pasir Putih or white Sand. It’s located just before Situbondo from we’re heading, and it sounds interesting. We took a random hotel and turns out… (read on to the next day).
Of course the best way to travel to Bromo is driving your private strong vehicle up the mountain, but not all have the luxury nor… strength! So… if you choose to take the public transportation, then your first destination is Probolinggo. From this city you can then get a public transport up to the crater.
Now I’m not sure how much it cost to get there, but if I’m not mistaken, a mere Rp 20,000 – 30,000 per pax.
You don’t have to walk all the way up you know? Although I recommend you I realize there are some people that choose to or are unable to walk all the way up. Especially those so used to the tropics, the cold and humid air may be too heavy to walk such distance.
There are always options. From the gate, there will be some people offering service to use their horse. Choose to do so but don’t for get to bargain! One way can reach Rp 50,000 a person per horse. So both ways, you probably can haggle to Rp 75,000 per person per horse.
Coming down I chose to take a pony ride which cost me Rp 50,000 all the way up to the main gate. Felt kinda Malboro Country kinda feeling. Me likey!