Wednesday, 20 January // Visiting a Volcano

Today I actually booked my flight for the 21st to go to Semarang, the capital of Central Java, through Lion Air. It was weird because in order to pay I had to go to a convenience store called Alfamart and then give the cashier my booking number and pay her and somehow Lion Air gets this info and then confirms my booking? 

Anyway, today me and Fia (IG: @lutfiarmdhn) went to a crater lake called Kawah Putih at the top of a volcano about three hours from Bandung. To get there, we took a minibus (Angkot) to a different minibus to the bus terminal where we took another minibus to get to a bus terminal in Ciwidey, a small city about two hours from Bandung, and then took another minibus to the base of the national park where we finally took another minibus to the crater lake.

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On the bus from Ciwidey to the mountain, there was a pregnant lady who asked to touch my nose - apparently it's culture here that if you're pregnant you have some habit like touching a nose or a chin or a stomach so that your baby has these characteristics I think. It was really funny and everyone in the bus was laughing.

We had some lunch at the entrance to the park - Bakso with noodles (Mie) and some Arabic coffee. I was joking with this dog (anjing) who watched me eat and gave her some of bakso :p

We finally arrived to Kawah Putih. Fia and I made our way down to the lake amidst a light drizzle of cold rain. The lake is beautiful. It's a silver-blue color that sort of shimmers in the dim light from the sun through the clouds. There are a few other tourists, but not many. It's a weekday in the rainy season. The ground is a sandy and rocky mixture of grey, green, and blue. Some scraggly trees hang around the shores of the lake; none too close. The crisp air smells of sulphur and other gases from the volcanic materials in the lake. There is the destroyed remnants of s colonial sulphur facility next to the water. We snap some really cool photos, but I'm getting cold because I didn't want to bring a jacket. We have some candy and seaweed lays overlooking the lake and leave.

By the time we get down to the base of the park, it's nearly dark. We walk to the road that passes by there to try to catch and angkot, but a man selling strawberries tells us there are none left - it's too late. We're trying to order an uber or grabcar but there are none around. We're sitting under the shelter of a roof outside an empty police station to stay out of the rain. The strawberry man's friends come by to see what's up. They offer to take us back by car... But it'll cost 300,000 rupiah. Neither Fia nor I want to spend so much. We wait in the rain about an hour before deciding to take their offer. One of the guys, this kid about my age, takes off in his motorbike doing wheelies to go get his car and we wait at a warung (like a bodega) and have some coffee. While we're waiting we bond with the strawberry man. He shows us photos of his children and his farm and his friends. After maybe 40 minutes, the kid pulls up with his car vroom vroom and we all pile in, including the strawberry man.

So it's me, Fia, strawberry man, the kid, and the kid's brother (who is a professional motorbike racer). And we're in the rain in this car bumping sundanis rap music (highly recommended listening lol) and traditional Indonesian music. Then they hand me the aux cord and it's like straight Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, and OG Maco (turnup squad in the backseat like bumping real hard with strawberry man). By the time we get back to Bandung it's Nirvana and Seether and some sad shit that makes me wanna cry and I'm really tired even though I just had some pocky so we're outta there!!!

Thanks strawberry man, crazy motorbike kid, and professional moto racer.

Ok and so like we don't just be reasonable and go to sleep at this point. Instead, we meet up with my friends Reza (IG: @rezaajie) and Yoli (IG: @yolitaekasapta) both of whom are awesome! They come scoop us up in Yoli's Mercedes and we go to a cool coffee/snack/bar shop called the Traffic Cafe close by to get ice cream and milk shakes. Yoli studies english literature at university so her english was really good, so her and I spoke in English while Fia chatted with Reza in Indonesian... with occasional translations back and forth for my benefit haha.

After Traffic Cafe, we went to the bar street called Jalan Braga. Normally it's quite crowded, but it was raining a bit and a Tuesday night... so it was pretty quiet except for loud music blaring out of mostly-empty bars. We visited the Masjid Raya Bandung - the Grand Mosque of Bandung - which is a provincial mosque of West Java. It has these two beautiful minarets that each reach 81 meters high. We're all tired, and so Reza and Yoli drop us off at the hotel, and we sleep.