In my previous post I talked about getting from Bondowoso to Probolinggo and getting on a bus to Cemoro Lawang, but I never actually arrived there. Well, not on paper anyways. In reality, I did.
LOOK, BUT DON’T LOOK
As I got on the bus, I couldn’t believe I had been waiting for over 2 hours to “fill up the bus”; the thing was completely packed! I expected there to be a lot of “bule” (foreigners), but surprisingly I was the only one! I took the (empty) front seat, no seatbelt but definitely the best views! And boy, were those views great. About 10 minutes after leaving Probo, the landscape changed into little villages and beautiful mountains in the backdrop. I should have kept my camera ready, because at one point I saw a lady, she must have been 80 years old, carrying a complete tree, (4-5 meters) ON HER HEAD.
I can’t help but watching the road whenever I’m in the front seat, even though I know that clenching my teeth won’t change the eerily narrow roads, nor the driving skills of the man sitting next to be, casually leaning back and steering with one hand or his elbow, whichever he found easiest I guess. So people: don’t look at the road. Trust that the driver will drive like a madman and let the scenery distract you, it’s worth it. Otherwise, you will have several micro heartattacks.
After about 1 hour, we arrived at Yoschi’s guesthouse, which is located in Ngadisari, a village a couple of kilometres from CL. The temperature had severly dropped, I guess it was about 20 degrees Celsius there. No one got off of the bus at Yoschi’s (despite the sign saying they had “die beste Kartoffelgerichte!”, but some did at the nearby Sion View Hotel. They were all dead set on getting a picture (and by “a” I mean: at least 4 per person) with me so we did a little photoshoot with what I guess was mount Sion in the background. After that, the whole bus wanted to take pictures with me and it came to the point where I had to say “this is the last one” (I mean, they must have taken at least 50 at that point!). A while ago I got annoyed by all the curious picturetakers. I then decided to take a picture with whomever attacked me with their camera, and ever since I’m not that annoyed anymore. While I might still grace the Facebook profiles of dozens of Asians, at least I now have my own photoalbum “Me with random Asian strangers” to show for it!
At the hotel, there were a couple of boys selling “Bromo hats”. The freezing cold of Kawah Ijen still vividly clear on my mind, I bought one for 10,000 INR (about 70 cents €), and promised the boy I would not tell “my friends” about this price. Waving goodbye to all my brand new bff’s, we continued to Lawang, it was only a 15 minute drive from there. As I had asked, they dropped me at the highest guesthouse, near Cemoro Indah hotel (the town is actually quite small so the drop-off point could also be at cafe lava, it’s a two minute walk). I then shopped around for a homestay, seeing at least 5 rooms, before checking into homestay “Yog”, with friendly owner Yog. He had the best value for money, including a private bathroom with hot shower and squat toilet for 150,000 INR (10€). He started with 200,000 INR, That’s why I looked at several rooms afterwards, most of which looked like they might have creepy crawlers in the bed and the only other one that actually offered a shower wanted 300,000 INR. Crazy prices up there, and these are BASIC HOMESTAYS I’m talking about, absolutely nothing fancy. The word “shower” made some faces turn into a big questionmark. An other homestay even seperated two twin beds with a filthy looking curtain. Ever the bargainer, (just kidding, I hate bargaining and am not very good at it) I went crawling back to Yog’s and told him I would stay 2 nights for 250. No such luck, but I could change to a cheaper room tomorrow, with shared bathroom, for 275,000 INR total. We talked about it for a couple of minutes, I promised to send all my friends to his place (this is me doing that, for your information) and we settled on my price, but I had to switch to another room tomorrow. I have not yet seen that room so I might be in for a big surprise.
I was told to head to Cafe Lava, for they’re supposed to offer great advice on doing the trip by yourself. After reading Be My Travelmuse’s blog about it and gaining confidence after my Ijen hike, I decided to DIY the shit out of this mountain. But what d’ya know: Lava was closed! So instead, I wrote this blog and am heading to Cemara Indah to rent a jacket and use their wifi, then get an early dinner, read Game of Thrones and get up at 2.30 to prepare for my walk! Ah, the lone traveller’s life! More on my solotrip after I return.
DO’s & DON’T’s:
– look at the road while driving to Cemoro Lawang;
– settle for the first hotel/homestay you like, unless you really like it (and the price);
– be mad if you have to wait for 3 hours before actually heading up to CL.
– look at the fantastic scenery;
– buy a hat. I guess. Will reconfirm after my hike;
– shop around for accommodation;
– take pictures, either of the views or the people you’re with.