acid rain

it is freezing at cemoro lawang. i am bundled up in two layers of sock and three layers of jackets as i trek my way up mount penanjakkan 2, because that’s where everyone raves the best sunrises are. thing is, it is november and pretty much into the winter season. the mist is thick and the winds are bitter. so thick and bitter, that along with a bunch of other travellers, i waited and waited. the sky turned brighter, but the mist never lifted. by 5.30am, it was morning, and mount penanjakkan 2 was still shrouded in fog.

this is what i should have been able to see from mount penanjakkan 2.

i made my way via jeep over the sea of sand – massive plains of volcanic ash – over to the celebrated mount bromo. fyi, mount bromo is an active volcano and continuously spews sulphuric smoke. you can hike up the volcano, or you can hire a horse. thing is, the horses look a little malnourished. the walk up is long and steep, but no matter where you stop along the way to rest, the views are beautiful. oh yes, you’d want to go up on foot.

mount bromo erupted and blew its own top off several years ago. it is one of the most spectacular sights i have ever seen, truly. it was very very cool.

it constantly drizzles at mount bromo. the rain stings the eyes and smells strongly of chemicals. you’ve guessed it. acid rain. getting back to my guesthouse after the climb, my jacket was covered in the stuff.

since we canceled out on going to ijen, we decided to climb mount batok that afternoon on foot. the guy at the guesthouse told us that the hike would take about half an hour.

half an hour my ass.

you see the smoking volcano? that is mount bromo. mount batok is the one on the right. the path up was narrow and steep, with numerous sharp cliffs. mount batok is a dormant volcano and has been inactive for several years already. even so, the mountain is comprised mostly of volcanic rocks and ash. the soil was soft and tends to crumble as we climbed. you can’t scramble up the mountain like you can if it was solid.

but dear god, the view from the top of the volcano – it shot itself right at the top of my list as some of the most awesome sights in the whole of south east asia! it is like being on a movie set, just about a thousand times the size. from the top of the mountain, i gazed at the yonder plains, blanketed by mist. and then, the miracle of god almighty himself, the mist opened like a silver curtain to reveal grey and green ash plains that roll out for as far as the eye can see. to my left, mount bromo, extending to a range that spans from grey to yellow to light green to deep, almost bluish green. to my right, the edges of the caldera, gorgeous.

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