As previously mentioned, I work/live in a school that is basically in the middle of nowhere, just close to the small village of Mojosari.
And, as previously mentioned as well, on weekends I travel to Malang, a proper city that is +/- 2.5 hours away by scooter. And there I did meet lots of people, and so I go there to meet them, go somewhere on a weekend trip or just to hang out.
A change of plans
So on my last weekend, my decision was to go to Malang for just Friday night to attend one of my friend’s graduation party, and then 10 am I’d leave Malang and go to Mojokerto to meet with some other interns and go to Mount Bromo.
This plan was, of course, thrown away when I woke up at 10 am with a bad hang over, and so I called the other interns and apologized that I won’t be able to make it. And instead, I thought I’d join my friends from Malang to go and relax by a waterfall, and then we’d go rafting.
This plan was also forgotten about just during breakfast, when out of nowhere we thought “Why not go to Mount Bromo today, watch the sunrise and then go rafting followed by waterfall relaxation tomorrow?”
Sounds great to me! At least I would meet with the other interns on the mountain!
We didn’t leave Malang until it was almost dark. At 5:30, 5 scooters with 9 people on them were going in Bromo’s direction.
After a short ride on the semi-highway, and a left turn, we started climbing a really dark street, only to meet one dead village after every few kilometers, and then it’s all dark again for another 10-15 minutes.
It was an endless ride before the road’s structure changed. The asphalt was replaced with rock tiles, half of them were missing, and with sharp curves right on the cliff of the mountain, there was no chance I could go faster than 30/40 Km/hour.
And sooner than I thought the bike wasn’t able to go any further on the steep climb, slowing down to a halt, which forced me and my partner to take turns on driving while the other would walk for a bit.
Our climb up stopped when most of us needed some gas for the scooters, and so we stopped at one of the small bamboo shops with a guy smoking a cigarette inside selling bottles of benzene…
“Isn’t that a little bit unsafe? You know…he’s selling benzene and filling our scooters while smoking his cigarette!”
“Did any of the roads we just passed seem safe enough for you? I think it’s normal here…That is definitely safer than some of the turns we had to make!”
And that is when we learned that the last village we passed IS THE LAST village until we reach Bromo, so we better take shelter in there until it is time to drive again to catch the sunrise. Otherwise we’d reach Bromo too early and freeze to death there while waiting.
And so that is what we did, after turning down one offer of home stay, with a huge room with one bed in the middle for the nine of us – none of us had the energy for an orgy that night, I’d say – we ended up renting a whole house with the 3 bedrooms, 3 beds and several couches, for 30 dollars shared among us.
We also negotiated a guide from that village to Bromo, as we would have to drive through the Indonesian Sand Sea/desert, and it wouldn’t be so much fun to get lost in the desert, when you don’t see anything in front of you and there is no “road” to follow.
Wait! Isn’t that what actually happened? We’ll get to that part later…
Second – Broken – Leg
At 2 am we started driving again, to reach the mountain by sunrise…The road started by 15 minutes of steeply descending a mountain. And by steep I mean I was using my left breaks full time, and my front/right breaks on and off, and it was literally impossible to make the bike totally stop.
Then, of course, re-climbing some of that we descended, then it was flat land.
No, flat in that case was not good. As it was deep soft sand. On a small weak automatic scooter, it was really a pain in the butt to keep on driving, getting stuck in the sand every 200 meters or so, while most of the others were going further, and me and my partner being left behind…
At 3 am, we couldn’t see the rest of the group anymore. We kept going on for a while, also sometimes taking turns in walking when the sand got really deep. But that was only until the tracks we were following got dispersed, going in totally different directions, and most of them looked like car tire tracks and not motorbikes…
There was no way we would reach Bromo on our own…so we decided we’d head back to the village. Worrying about that 15 minute descend we had and how will we be able to climb it again, we got a phone call from one of our friends asking where are we…a bit too late I’d say…so we told them we’re heading back to the village.
If you are on my facebook page then you already know that we didn’t make it back to the village! Stay tuned for Chapter II of the story to know how it went after that 😉
Did you ever go to Mount Bromo? Share your experiences with me! Because I know one does not simply walk into Bromo 😉 Also did you ever get lost and it wasn’t inside the city limits? Where was it and what did you do?