Hiking Mt. Bromo

Mt. Bromo is an active volcano on the eastern end of the Indonesian island of Java (where Jakarta and Jogyakarta are located).  Chris and I organized a night time bus ride to the base of the mountain and then a jeep ride to the trail head where we headed up the Gunung Penanjakan mountain to watch the sunrise over the mountains. 

We wern't the only one who had this idea... there were almost 300 other people there. Which, to be honest, was a little bit of a mood killer.

 That's a framer...
I took about 23455645645 pictures or so.  They can go with my large and useless collection of pictures of monkeys from Ubud.

After watching the sunrise we headed down to our jeep and our guide, Sayno. We headed through a giant dust cloud to the base of Mt. Bromo.  We took a 45 minute hike through volcanic ash to look down into the mouth of the volcano. Chris enjoyed being a jerk and making me worry that he was going to fall in. I enjoyed holding on to the back belt loop on his pants and inching him away from the edge.  Ahhh, love, so sweet.

 Instead of a Jeep/land cruiser  these people chose to ride horses to the base of Mt. Bromo.  I liked to think of them as bandits coming to raid our wagon.


I really enjoyed the entire morning at Mt. Bromo.  However, we did get ripped off a little.  We paid double what we should have paid.  We got into town incredibly late, 3 am, after a long bus ride and in order to catch the sunrise that morning we had to immediately take a "tour package" up to the top.  If we had to do it over again, we would have arranged to take the local bus, spent the night at the tiny town of Cemoro Lawang and found our own person to take us across that dust field.  In all, we probably spent $20 too much.... but when your room only costs $8 a night that's a big difference.

Travel Lesson of the day:  You always have extra time.  But you're not always going to have extra money. Don't rush yourself into making a financial decision that goes your instinct.

Postcard Moments

Sunset in Amed, Bali, Indonesia

Awkward Tours...

Brochures of tours are strew across guest houses, internet cafes, airports, as well as thousands of other locations.  I'm not really a guided tour kind of person.  I get bored and wander away or I'll get strangely enraptured by one tiny thing and not really want to move on from my new found treasure.  Oh, and I'm cheap and tours cost tons of money. TONS. 

But, because I'm cheap, I do like to read the tour brochures and then use the ideas and do the activities on my own.  Not theft my friends, inspiration and creativity.

But then there are some times that I come across something that just doesn't seem completely right...

"The special packages tour will give you can an unportable memory"

The creepiest of the brochures:  a real cremation.  !00% percent satisfaction guaranteed.
"To perform this ceremony will need some requirements i.e. Funds"
umm y'all, don't they need a body too?

 "So easy almost everyone can do it!"
Just so help you if you're one of the few who can't...

"The one and only submarine in South East Asia" which happens to be a cartoon drawing... this sounds safe.

Coming up next: my unportable memories of walking and watching a cremation in a submarine underwater!


Still alive! Just making our way across the island of Bali to the island of Java! Our trip included 24 hours of buses and a sunrise volcano hike. I've taken lots of pictures so as soon as I can find a good Internet cafe I will share my favorites.


Clean food

Indonesia, while it is an incredibly pain to get to, is amazingly easy to travel in. The people are friendly, many speak English, crime is low; in all, this is one of the easiest, and cheapest, countries I've ever been to.

That said, there have been some moments of confusion. Today at lunch Chris asked for "chuchi" when he really meant "chumi chumi". The waitress looked at him strangely for a few seconds so Chris tried again in English, "do you have squid?". The waitress laughed and said "you just asked for laundry for lunch!"

We were the (good-humored) joke of the restaurant for the rest of the meal. But Chris did get a big bowl of fresh squid curry which was delicious. I took a picture but some how I deleted it off my camera (FAIL)

Indonesia food is simple but delicious.

Nasi Goring  Ikan-- Fried Rice with seafood $3

 Fresh caught tuna with rice and veggies $4.50

 Gado Gado-- Stir fried veggies with tempe and peanut sauce $2

 Pineapple and coconut cake $0.70

Honey lemon ginger green drink.  It was a ridiculously long name but it was delicious and so refreshing after a long hot walk

My notoriously temperamental tummy has been shockingly quiet here despite unsafe drinking water and a barrage of new foods. My goal is to take a cooking class in every country Chris and I visit.  I plan on taking a class in about two weeks in Jogjakarta on Java Island (the same island Jakarta is on).

Monkey on my back

The city of Ubud on the island of Bali is known for it's traditional dances, visual arts, and a protected forest filled with monkeys and a Hindu temple.

We spent several hours wandering through the monkey forest watching the little guys beg for bananas, steal things from purses, pick bugs off of each other, and all other sorts of monkey behavior.

After an hour or so we sat down to rest for a minute when a monkey jumped on my back and sat on my head for a while.  I can honestly tell you the phrase "I've got a monkey on my back" is entirely true... it is near to impossible to get a monkey off of your back without help.

I also did overhear this hilarious concersation:

A Japanese family who are young with a small child, the woman has a giant Louis Vuitton purse, cut off denim shorts and 4 inch wedge heels.  The husband in a crisp white polo t-shirt.

They approach the forest's "Monkey Expert" with a question.  However, English is the only language they share so there is a definitely language gap between the two parties.

Japanese woman: "He has bite.  Monkey bite"  She's pointing to her husband's arm where he is holding a wet wipe against his forearm.
Monkey Expert: "It's okay"
JW: "You have medicine?"
ME: "Yes, by entrance"
JW: "But, is monkey bite.  Is okay?"  At this point she's starting to become more worried by the nonchalance of the Monkey Expert
ME: "Yea, no rabies here"

The monkey expert walks off leaving the Japanese couple bewildered and me with muffled laughter.

This monkey had found an empty aerosol bottle of air freshener somewhere and was treating it as if it was the most amazing and valuable gem ever discovered

Indonesian Pork- babi babi babi!

Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims of any country in the world.  However, the island of Bali is mainly populated with Hindus.  While Muslims do not eat pork the Hindu Balinese eat pork but not beef.  By far and away the best meals I have eaten here on Bali have been made of pork (babi).

In Ubud there is a restaurant famous for it's slow roasted whole pig.  This restaurant is complete with long lines and even a visit from Anthony Bordain's No Reservations

Ibu Oka serves up heaping plates of pork with spicy vegetables and steamed rice.  For only 30,000 rupiah it is a steal coming at a little over $3.

Ordering at Ibu Oka 

It was so good we ate here three days in a row for lunch 

Chris and I did indulge in a pricier meal at 85,000 rupiah (about $9) when we wandered past Naughty Nuri's.  Naughty Nuri's has the grill raging in front of the street and we couldn't help ourselves from ordering a plate of pork ribs.  It didn't hurt that it was the Fourth of July and we decided the best way to be patriotic was to order iced tea and some ribs!

 I meant to take a picture of the ribs on the plate but my priorities were ummm.... elsewhere.


Hello loves!

Chris and I are in Bali now.  Bali is one of a series of large islands that make up Indonesia.  We are in a city called Ubud whch is known for it's traditional arts and dancing as well as a sacred forest filled with monkies!

I have been taking lots of pictures but sadly this internet cafe has no usb port on the circa 1998 computers.

We are headed to the eastern coast to enjoy the whte sand beaches.  But, before we leave I will definitely try to find a usb enabled computer as well as write a long deswcription of what has been going on here!

Bon voyage!