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The Mighty Bromo

Waking up at 3am to climb a mountain is not something I would normally care to do, but when the mountain in question was the mighty Gunung Bromo – one of Indonesian Java’s most impressive active volcanoes – I was prepared to make an exception. And what an exception it was. To get there, we had to spend twelve hours in a minivan from Yogyakarta (in itself a challenge), then spend a night at a guest house high up in the mountains from where we would leave at 4am the following morning to drive up to a view point for sunrise and then onto Bromo itself.

When the alarm clock went off we were less than enthusiastic about climbing out of our cosy beds into the frosty air outside, but no sooner had we walked outside the hotel than our spirits were lifted by the sight of a shiny pink Jeep. It took about half an hour to reach the car park for the view point, from where we walked up a further half hour to reach the summit. Soon after we arrived, the sun began its steady ascent into the sky, lighting up the mountain range with the most beautiful array of colours; blue, amber, gold and pink to name but a few. When the night finally succumbed to the day, the stars disappeared and an eerie pink mist in the valley beneath us began to creep like a thief around the mountains. Above it, a layer of fluffy white clouds hovered unobtrusively. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed.

After the sun rose, we picked our way carefully back down the volcanic ash-covered mountain to the Jeep, stopping to take pictures of Bromo in the distance and pat some of the gorgeous little mountain ponies who give lazy tourists a ride up from the car park. We then drove to Bromo itself, parking in a vast expanse of desert-like plains where we succumbed to the lure of three ponies and agreed to ride them to the bottom of the steps leading up to the crater. The mountain cut an impressive figure rising up out of the sand dunes, and as we approached we could see the thousands of other tourists snaking their way to the top like ants on an anthill. We dismounted our trusty steeds and began to walk up the 253 steps to the crater lip. By the time we reached the top I was painfully aware of how much my fitness had slipped in the previous few months of travelling, and had to take a moment to catch my breath. It was only then that I realised how incredibly high up we were, and struggled to keep my fear of heights in check. As I teetered precariously on the edge, I took in the awesome sight of the deep crater below us, sporadically puffing white clouds of steam like an old man lazily smoking a pipe. It was hard to believe only four months previously this apparently benign natural wonder was on the verge of eruption, spewing great swathes of grey smoke and ash into the air and prompting evacuation from the local villages.

We walked back down to the car park in awestruck silence, hardly believing what we had witnessed in just a few hours and feeling so far removed from the reality of our lives we were akin to Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole and emerged into Wonderland. I really believe that it’s moments like that we should seek out and treasure in this too short life, through which most of us sleepwalk. Because it’s only in moments like that we can be truly present, and experience what it is to be fully and completely alive.

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About Belle365

Hi, I’m Belle. Thanks for stopping by. Here's a list of ten things about me: 1. I want to write, but rarely do it. This tortures me daily, and, unless I seek to remedy it by writing more often, will continue to torture me until my dying day. 2. I worry: about hate, about greed, about selfishness, about the state of the world my (God willing) children will inherit. I worry about what people think of me. I worry that this makes me shallow. I worry about things happening to my loved ones. I worry how I would cope. I worry that this makes me selfish. I worry that worrying will send me to an early grave. But I'm so good at worrying that I also wonder what I would do if I wasn't worrying. Probably more writing (see point 1)....Oh. 3. I see myself as two people (though, as far as I am aware, I am not technically schizophrenic): a) the fancy dress loving party girl, who loves nothing more than having fun with her friends, because she has seen through her own experiences that life is short, so why not enjoy the ride? b) the more serious and reflective person who wants to learn and to help people and to find her higher purpose (I suspect it is also she who really, really wants to write). Sometimes these sides are conflicting. Fortunately they are in total agreement when it comes to chocolate, red wine and travel. 4. I don't see myself as an ardent feminist, but the older I get the more frustrated I feel by the societal view of women and ageing. Having just hit the metabolically displeasing age of 35 (now officially past it according to the massive wankflap that is Donald Trump, as well as virtually every media outlet on the planet, whether they overtly state it or not) I hate the fact I am made (and have let myself be manipulated) to feel that my fertility is now teetering on the edge of a clifftop free fall, and that even if I do negotiate this rocky march towards infertility and manage a miracle procreation, my usefulness as a financially solvent career woman will be over, seeing as having a baby in your mid to late thirties is pretty much akin to career suicide. It's enough to make you want to drown yourself in a vat of wine (hence why I often don a wig and do just that - see point 3a). 5. The older I get, the more I realise that you are never too old to love drum and bass (whether you are ever too old to publicly dance to drum and bass is an issue I am currently grappling with). Ditto UK garage. I will never be ashamed of these two great loves. Never. 6. Speaking of great loves, I have two: my husband, who (sickening as it is) completes me, and Leonardo DiCaprio, whom I have loved since I first laid eyes on him as Romeo to Kate Winslet's Juliet, and will love until my dying day (likewise the husband, all being well). As much as I like Kate Winslet, I will never forgive her for leaving him on that door. There was definitely room for two. 7. I am riddled with self doubt, and have a serious case of imposter syndrome, particularly in relation to my fourteen year communications career. I have never understood how anyone could deem me capable of running their campaigns. The lack of complaints would suggest I haven't made a total balls up of it so far. But there's still time. 8. Infinity and death frighten me senseless. I can't even talk about the universe without breaking into a sweat. I need to believe in life after death because death CANNOT be the end. I should probably have some (more) counselling to address these issues. 9. If procrastination were an Olympic sport, I would win Gold, Silver and Bronze (to give an example, I sat down an hour ago to work on my new novel, and instead have been updating this bio. I refer you to point 1. Sigh). 10. I make more lists than Buzzfeed. When I die, besides having Oasis's Champagne Supernova played at my funeral (deep breaths - see point 8), I should probably have a To Do list inscribed on my headstone for when I reach the other side...

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2012 by in Bea Adventurous and tagged , , , .
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