Sorry for the delays in posting as the Internet connections on the islands were intermittent and not frequent. We will try to catch everyone up here on the latest.
We left Yogya and headed for Gunung (volcano) Bromo, a moody volcano on east Java. We booked an 8 AM bus to the town of Probolinggo and then had a connection to Cemoro Lawang, a small mountain town on the lip of the crater. The bus ride took about 8 hrs and then another 3 hours to the hotel on account of a flat tire encountered during the trip. None the less, we arrived at our hotel around 9 PM and were prepared to get up at 3:30 AM to begin the hour long hike up Bromo to view the sunrise. After a quick dinner, we prepared our bags for the next day and turned in for the night. The next morning as promised, we were woken up by the hotel staff to start. Sabeen and I had opted to hike rather than take the 4WD to the top, so with flashlight in hand, we walked out into the chilly night. Constellations were spinning in their orbits outside and the full moon provided its own lamp light. We continued our walk in the crater valley with volcanic ash and rock crunching below our feet, when we saw a man on a donkey asking us for a ride up Bromo. We had been following a volcano thinking that was Bromo but as it happened walking in the dark and without any trail markers we were not sure of our orientation and guessed the path. The man on the donkey motioned us to change direction to which we hesitated but luckily flagged down a jeep headed to the top and asked for direction. The jeep driver informed us to follow the ridge away from the leading volcano, which we did and after some more trekking we came up the 253 or so odd steps carved into the mountainside leading to the top. Getting closer to the summit choking fumes of Sulfur Dioxide were stirring in the air, so with shirt collar and shawl wrapped around our mouths and nose, we pushed to the top. Arriving at the summit, Bromo was fully awake and roaring gurgling sounds could be heard from the crater as the lava churned below. We watched two celestial bodies compete as the sun won against the moon and watched its golden rise against the silhouetted hills and mountains all around us. Fighting the fumes, we snapped a few pictures and watched hawkers selling bundles of sacrifical flowers to offer to the volcano.
We left the fuming beast behind and began our descent back to the hotel for some much needed breakfast, shower, coffee, and rest. Our next destination from here is to go to Bali by way of ferry.