In June 2006, I decided that one of my life’s dreams was to gaze inside the innards of a live volcano; to admire it in fearful wonder, and to draw in the noxious fumes of sulphur as well the overwhelming beauty of the harsh landscape that typically surrounds it.
And so, I made my way to Mt Bromo; on the eastern side of Java, Indonesia.
The original plan was to cycle straight out of the airport at Surabaya, making a stop at Probolingo for the night and then making my assault on the 40km of winding mountain road to the top of Bromo in the morning.
But … I took one look at the Javanese traffic and wisely retreated into the safe confines of a taxi instead.
Or so I thought…
The Javanese are mad. No, they are beyond mad. The jovial driver of the taxi proved me right when he nonchalantly overtook a car. Nothing wrong with that, except, he was overtaking another insane driver who was overtaking another insane driver. For about 10 seconds, I hung on for dear life while the taxi hung on to the shoulder of the other side of the road in the madness of this whole episode. To say that lawlessness abounds is putting it very mildly.
Even pedestrians get in on the act — like the guy below who helped himself to some sugar cane in the midst of gridlock.
Probolingo, where I put up for the night, is a non-descript little Javanese town. The only thing that got my attention was the signs on some of the stalls. One in particular, selling Terang Bulan, or what we Malaysians call apom really caught my eye.
Next….the ride up Mt Bromo!