Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Bali + Java volcanoes

Paltuding Guesthouse, Ijien Plateau - 23rd September

[This is being transcribed by Danny himself - many thanks to Sheila Clark
for helping me get net access in LA, as well as for meeting me at the airport.
The card is an Indonesian postcard and has only a small picture of a Balinese
cremation on the front, along with the address.  This has the advantage of 
freeing the whole back for text.]

Today has been the scariest day yet of the trip.  The morning was placid -
an hour's wander around while I waited for the post office to open so I could
send off postcards #23 and #24, then checkout from the hotel, a betchak to
the bus terminal and a minibus to Sukosari (where I pigged out on fresh mangos).
There I hopped on a truck bound for Sempol (a plantation village on the plateau,
and was joined by an Austrian couple headed the same way.  (They tell me 
everyone asks them about kangaroos when they say where they are from :-).  The
truck ride was pleasant but unexciting, and once in Sempol we ate a decent meal,
bought some supplies and headed off to the climbers' guesthouse at the foot of 
Ijien, 12km away.  (A police officer had told me it was too dangerous to climb
mount Raung, so we stuck together - they appreciated my ability to speak
Indonesian and I was glad of a chance to talk English for a bit.)

We started the walk to Paltuding at 3.3pm, expecting it to take 3 hours or so
(no major ups or downs, just a gradual 300m climb), but they made slow going
with heavy packs and no mountain climbing practise.  It got dark about half
way there, and the rest of the walk was done by starlight and by the light
of hundreds of small fires in the bush, often right next to the road (which
was, fortunately, asphalt and in good conditition).  The Austrians were very
nervous, and would have turned back if I hadn't pushed them on (they
kept overestimating how far we had come and started thinking we were lost,
which was quite impossible), but eventually we saw the white glare of a 
kerosene lamp amongst the red glow of the fires, and we were safely at the
guesthouse.  I'm still a bit worried about the fires - no danger at night
without a wind, but what will day bring? - but the park ranger assures me
it's safe.  A quick meal of instant noodles and it's time for bed.
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