Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 7 October 2013 • Blog
By this day, I knew more of my bigger traveling family, which are drivers, winners of the Terios 7 Wonder blogging competition, and a few reporters from automotive media; some are pretty senior. It’s interesting to travel with this type of journalists. I’ve learned that these guys are people that do a lot of tours (long distance car-testing trips) and are used to living on the road. They’re not people who work from the desk; they’re out and about. Hence, they have a sense of humor that I can relate to. I seldom laugh my head off listening to them communicate on the handy talkie.
“When the chicken crossed the road, why didn’t it look both ways? Because his eyes are on the side of its head.” This is an example of the bad jokes that I had to deal with a long the road. It’s so bad, it’s funny.
Honestly, the trip is getting a bit boring for me. I enjoy the lack of responsibility as a passenger and the awesome view, but this is the longest trip I’ve done not doing anything on the road but sit. Once I did something, I ended up denting one of the Terios cars! I admit to my mistake. Sorry, Daihatsu!
I was pretty surprised with some of the sight I saw on the road. I’ve never been on this route before and I lost my breath a few times. Semeru Mountain, being the highest on Java is no doubt over powering everything and interestingly macho, visible from all sorts of angle. Trenggalek turned out to have an awesome valley, different to anything I’ve seen so far on this trip as the vegetation was more brown and dry.
Ranu Pane was our end destination this time. We arrived during the night and couldn’t see anything aside to our tents that were located beside a lake. We had the chance to have dinner at the local assembly room, which is a small common house called ‘Pawon’, which means ‘kitchen’ in Javanese. A stove is placed in the middle of the room for minor cooking and to heat up the room. In rural Indonesia, communal life is the way to go. We were lucky to enjoy this intimate place as we know that not everyone can.
We sat down around to listen to the story the locals, told by Pak Lutfi, a lecturer from Malang. Unfortunately, there are a few sad stories behind Semeru Mountain. Lately, the mountain has gained more popularity, which causes more trash and has become a problem. Apparently, many hikers separate their love of nature to just hike and not take their trash down. Of course there are other problems in this village such as the lack of water, but the waste problem is an impact from outsiders. It’s something that we all should be aware about when visiting Ranu Pane, or any destination for that matter. I guess this was the motive for providing wastebaskets made of used tires to the locals. Pretty cool!
We camped on the side of Ranu Pane lake with tents that were already prepared. We couldn’t see where we were as we arrived at night; only knowing that we were beside the lake. Sleeping was both good and bad. Good because I could really fall into deep slumber, and bad because it was freakin freezing and the air was thin during the night. I woke up every time I had to change my position. In between these deep sleeps, I was tortured trying to inhale as much air that I can. But, it was a refreshing feeling. It’s been a while since I’ve woken up on a mountain. I do miss that crisp chill and the foggy breath in the morning. As cold and hard as that night was, I’m not going to say never to mountains.
Ranu Pane is beautiful and obviously a paradise, although not as hidden to those that love to hike. It’s a small lake in the middle of a small village and plantation. It looks similar to Dieng, but a lot more compact as some of the valleys are tight. The extra oomph to everything is the sight of Semeru Mountain stretching to the sky in the distance. It is truly majestic. Although I still might not have that urge to climb Semeru, I’ve changed my mind for Ranu Kumbolo, the next lake to Semeru after a 6-hours of relaxing walk. Now I’ve reconsidered reaching just Ranu Kumbolo, and that is a part of Semeru.
The really great dinner that night deserves a shout out, as it was part of a culinary paradise. Cooked by the locals, we had what was considered a feast. Our menu was as simple as grilled chicken, cauliflower stem (which is really good by the way) and clear soup. Although simple, it was really really delicious, and I have 23 other people that can testify. The most adored item on the menu was the chili paste, which was uber hot and can double function as a laxative. It’s that deadly. It has now held a special place for every member of the road trip! *if you know what I mean*
*This post is in accordance to the Terios 7 Wonders trip but the opinions are my own
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