East Java: Charm At Height


East Java: Charm at Height

As many may believe, I'm so much addicted to turquoise shallow water bank, I couldn't agree more. My last trip to home island where addiction have been hailed by three-week straight long vacation at the end comes to end as this small 72-seated turboprop is just right away to take off, leaving the runway alone bordered by no far white shorelines in the north. I'm heading to the sky but the sight down there still remains clear, just like sparkling sea today in a very good afternoon weather.

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Garuda Explore turboprop ATR72-600 at Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin III Airport of Sumbawa
Transiting at Lombok International Airport for three hours could be that so boring. Although, thanks to good 3G internet connection -in spite of desperate deactivated free WiFi at waiting room at that time- that keeps my device firmly clutched in my hand, surfing on the bookmarked webs, reading news online, even sometimes juggling myself in super epic Logo Quiz and Geography Quiz, are kind of pain-killers that may charm every gloomy boring moment at airport. Some other passengers decide to have a perfect end-holiday nap as they might be infinitely drowning in a dream of dream like Inception scene, expecting Monday would return a decade later from now on. Unfortunately all the dreams out of the blue cease when a warm announcement informed by a pretty girl next to the gate ask all passengers bound for Surabaya queuing for boarding pass check before entering the aircraft. Bang!

Upon arrival at Juanda Inernational Aiport of Surabaya, nothing much to do but immediately getting on a minivan for IDR 90,000 to Malang, a growing tourism city two-hour away in the south.
(Notice that $1=IDR 13,600)

It has been the third time of mine visiting this "Kota Bunga", for the same reason: wandering for no reason. Well, I just aim to trek on Mount Bromo for this moment. There is always new impression toward the city, not only for its growing popularity for study destination but also the fast growing number of newly built attraction at its altitude. And at this time "Museum Angkut" is on my random random list. Checked!


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At 685 m above sea level, based on information displayed somewhere at observatory tower, Museum Angkut is situated. And at this height, no wonder a wonderful panoramic view could be easily captured through lens. Not to mention the very well designed and managed duplicated urban streets of some renowned cityscapes, the well refurnished retro cars, wheel race track, and some more attractions are well paid off with only IDR 90,000. (For conversion in USD please refer to previous currency exchange rate, I'm not much interested in discussion about the rate these days as weakening Rupiah is unfortunately still plummeting and have no idea when rebound put back)

Mount Bromo

I google out somewhat how to access the infamous awe-striking mountain, Mount Bromo, from the town. My search finally ends up on Backpackers Borneo , a Borneo-based trip organizer with branch office in Malang. As they offer very reasonable fare for one-day Bromo trip, I immediately contact the due person and confirming my book. Luckily I'm in, considering it should be booked at least a week in advance, and thus joining other 8 subscribers who happen coming from Jakarta. I met these new fellows at night by Taman Balai Kota where 4-wheeler is parked over there, an off-road use ride that will take us to the next level of journey. I'm so much excited and expecting this trip would be that as extreme as the ride might seem.


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Three-hour long midnight trip reaching the top could be that darn sleepy. Though, thanks to the cowardly frigid weather and steep trekking route that inevitably makes me juggled with curious mind over self-convo "Hey, how long anymore would it take to witness the beautiful sunrise?". Hold on, no pain no gain! At the end, a flash of illuminating orange-yellowing ray over the east is likely to appear. Spectators are lining up already up there, some are just too excited. Local and foreigners mingle in deep curiosity, witnessing the first spectrum of hopeful ray could be something like "practicing ancient Egyptian religion, Ra is coming down onto Sahara, May glory be with Him, hail!". And yes, I am among the crowd and the synchronized vibe is on.
 
Right down there, a majestic cohort of remnants of ancient mega eruption dating back then in the long past, roundabout volcano with skyclimbing sulphurous fog is definitely unresisting attention, well, I can say one of world's rare splendors. Mount Bromo is no less than God's finest creature, on the other hand, it is where the priest of Tengger's Hindu lay down hope of perpetual Deity's bless upon the Tenggerese and their mother nature.


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Too bad, I miss Kasada, a sacred religious sacrifice ceremony of Hindu Tengger who devote offers to Sang Hyang Widhi, which was held just a day before, definitely not a serendipity. However, I can clearly still overlook and hopefully feel the nuance of celebration through the Tenggerese themselves who pass by with offers in their hand. And one robust standing Hindu pura beneath  feet of the mountain over there, is a center of spirit that solemnly shares yesterday devoting prayer to its visitors.


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Not far from the ridge complex, lush savanna by the hill and "whipering sands" are two must-to-visit points. Forget about driving/riding license, I try to ride cross-country motobike cruising the strikingly vast black dessert, meanwhile my friend driving effortlessly 4-wheel drive at up-to-you speed. And we could be that wild at acceleration, no rules applied. Don't try this at home!


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Enjoy your ride!