Friday, July 29, 2011

Indonesia part 2

Indonesia part 2

Next came my favorite part. We got to climb an active volcano at 345am for sunrise. I'm crazy, yes I know! We climbed Mount Bromo, which is Javanese for brahma, one of the main Hindu Gods. The group and many more tourists made the steep climb in the dark with copious clouds of volcanic ash to the viewpoint to score ourselves the perfect morning sunrise spot. This volcano last erupted in in January 2011, causing piles of volcanic ash covering the side of the road. The ash got everywhere! I haven't been this dirty and dusty in a while. We made the 45 minute hike and found a great spot on top of a destroyed building to watch the sunrise. The sunrise was nice, but the walk down as the day came alive was even better. Volcanic ash is very nutrient rich and lush farms surround the volcanoes. The farms here as so different from home, where everything is super flat. These fields go with the land, with fields going right up to the edge of a cliff. Literally, there were cabbage plants almost hanging off the side, they farm down so far. I don't know how they tend their land without falling off the cliff!
Bali was the final destination on our tour and I'm totally in love with the place. I've decided the spend the month of September there, just hanging out at the beach and soaking up some of this interesting culture. While Java is very Muslim, Bali is very Hindu. I am not at all sad to be leaving Muslim country. I'm a little tired of the 4-530am calls to prayer. There's nothing quite like being awoken in the middle of a good REM cycle to a man praying in arabic loudly over a PA system. We spent a couple of days in Sanur, which is a quiet beach, not to far from Kota, the very touristy beach. Spent an enjoyable day lounging water side and eating ice-cream. I actually did go out one night too! In search of dinner we found a place that was still serving happy hour specials. Oooo, maybe we can stop for just one drink? Well, if we must. That led to the waiters giving us free apps from a party that had ended early and an offer to use the resorts swim up bar that night. Sometimes is really pays to a cute white girl! Several of us ran back to the hotel and quickly changed into our bikinis and we spent a great night drinking poolside!
Sadly, the tour was over and it was time to say good bye to some really fun people. Jenna and I were heading to Koh Phangan via Phuket.
Thanks to lonely planet I had a vague idea how we were to get from the Phuket airport to Surat Thani and then Koh Phangan. Unfortunately it didn't go quite according to plan (does it ever really?). We got directions to the bus station from the airport and asked the bus driver to tell us when to get off. Well, he must have misunderstood us because he told us to get off kinda in the middle of nowhere. We were not at a bus station, almost no one spoke English, and had no idea what bus station we were talking about! Super! Talk about a bitch slap back to backpacker reality! Remember how much fun this is? Ugh, we decide that our only option is to go back to the airport. Finally found a taxi, again, not an easy feat, and headed back to the airport. Back at the airport we realize our mistake, but it's to late, we've missed the last bus for tonight, by 15minutes no less. Great! Now we have to stay the night in Phuket and instead of taking a morning ferry and spending most of the day on the beach we spent it in transit. In the end it ended up all working out fine, as it always does. Found an amazing little resort with individual bungalows and a private beach. I spent the entire next day lounging poolside and beachside. Then to complete my day of bliss a massage on the beach! Complete heaven! It was a very sad goodbye the following day as Jenna and I made our drama-free way back to Bangkok via overnight train. 

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