Picture worthy but time…not so.

 

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Mount Bromo is one of the most picturesque spot in Indonesia, sitting neatly on the plain of Surabaya, 2hrs away from Singapore by air. Surabaya is accessible by budget airlines and full service flights to and fro Singapore’s Changi Airport on daily basis.

Many would have heard of Surabaya but Mount Bromo?

Mount Bromo is an active volcano, last erupted just 6 days ago. Yes, 6 days ago.

Mount Bromo like the other Indonesian destinations is not easily accessible. While flight time to Surabaya is 2hrs, it took me 5hrs to get the foot of Mount Bromo in a car. When I pulled up at Cafe Lava, the place that I had make reservation to put up for a night, it was almost dark. And, the temperature has dropped to a bone chilling 6 degree. I was shivering in my jeans and thin jacket.

I spent less than 24hrs in Mount Bromo. This is a transient town, people come and people go in a matter of hours. Once checked in, I walked around the vicinity of the town, trying to get a shot or two. This town is basic but scenic. In the cold of night, peddlers bundled up in the thickest coldwear they could find, selling gloves, sweaters and other items to tourists at a meagre 1 dollar.

After settled in, I had dinner in a small restaurant with a book. The restaurant was quiet, everyone kept to themselves or they are just getting lost in their own reverie. While I was in between bites and reading a few lines from the book, the power went off and instantly the restaurant turned pitch black. No one moves, no instructions were given. We all sat still at our table. I overheard the complaint from the restaurant owner about the outage and the frequency of its happening off late. 10mins later, power returned and everything else resume.

I went to bed at 9pm to get up at 3am for the infamous sunrise. My room was not fitted with a heater. It’s freezing cold, I was bundled up but still the cold managed to find its way to me; crawling at me.

At 3am, I woke up. Getting ready to meet my driver who’s going to drive me the peak for sunrise. Waking up in the chill and grogginess soon overtook me. We departed at exactly 3.30am. We drove in the silence of the night. No one spoke. My driver’s eyes were trained on the desert road, the ashes from the volcanoes were everywhere. I was rather disorientated. I couldn’t see a thing. I had to rely on my driver and his direction. When we arrived at the foot, I was greeted by hundreds of people who had similar plan as me. I saw stalls selling warm food, more peddlers selling gloves and sweaters for rent. We didn’t stop for food. My driver told me we should break away from these people and get up to the peak first to get a good spot to catch the first light.

And, that’s what we did.

But, up there unfortunately, there we already another hundreds of people waiting as well.

We waited in the cold for almost 2hrs and finally the light slowly rising up for its slumber, separating the horizons in a sliver of light.

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With the light, it also reveals the number of people on the peak.

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And, from where I was standing, the awesome Mount Bromo could be seen.

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After this, we left for Mount Bromo itself.

And, I was floored by the beauty of it.

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Indiana Jones kinda scene. 
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Genghis Khan in the Gobi desert.
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The mixure of soot, dusts and horse’s dung. 

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Approaching the stairway to heaven.
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The steep and treacherous stairway. 
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Taking five in the between steps. 

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Random stall in the middle of the desert.

I would do anything to get a good shot. And, I am extremely pleased with the outcome. Each time people commented on how beautiful and scenic this place is, I always wanted to remind them that the journey to get these shot though wasn’t so easy.

I am glad I did it despite it all. But, would I want to do it again, I guess not.

But, while it lasts, I am extremely glad I did.

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