Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Bali + Java volcanoes

Ijien Crater Lake
Banyuwangi - 24th September

[From: "Danny Yee" <danny@staff.cs.su.oz.au>]

The fires were not a problem - in the morning it was clear that they
were the remnants of old fires, not the harbringers of new ones.
The landscape is a bit desolate, but not dangerous.  It was a pleasant
walk up to Ijien crater - a 500m climb over 3km - but enough to
lose the Austrians.  The lake is an unearthly shade of blue that I
hope my camera captured , and the whole site is really beautiful.
(The water is at about 50C, too hot to swim in.)

We were the only tourists on the mountain, but there were lots of
men carrying sulphur down from the crater.  Sulphur is extracted from
metal pipes placed on the waterline at the base of the crater, and
from there packed into baskets and carried up to the rim, from where
it is a long but downhill trek to a waiting truck.  Using two baskets
on a pole balanced on their shoulders, the men carry between 40 and
80kg at a time, for a wage around 100Rp a kilogram - about A$4 a day,
but good money by Indonesian standards.  It must be backbreaking
work, but they seem cheerful enough (they all ask for ciagrettes,
which can't bee good for them!).

I chatted with the workers a bit and wandered around the crater, then
headed back to Paltuding.  There I learnt some more Javanese from
the National Parks officers, and we all laughed at some middle class
Indonesians who had come all the way from Jember but were too unfit to
climb to the crater.  Then I walked down with the suphur carriers and
caught a ride with the sulphur truck through the clove (kretek) and
papaya plantations.  

When I transferred to a bus the driver was real keen on setting me
up with a prostitute, and kept asking if I liked schoolgirls - even
though there were a couple on the bus with us!  The Hotel Baru is good
value for money - a really nice double room with a bathroom (mandi)
for just 8000, and free breakfast and soap.  Tomorrow I'm off to Bali.

P.S. A losmen is a cheap hotel, and a warung is a streetside food stall.
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