Tagging volcanos in Indonesia (Day 244)

Hey all, I hope things are good with you.  I’m a bit behind on writing about my adventures.  Let me try to bring you up to speed.  When we last talked, I was trying my hand at surfing in Bali. I then travelled to the island of Lombok to visit the excellent Rinjani National Park.  Typically one can climb all the way to its summit of this volcano (3,726m / 12,224 ft), a 3-day trek, but when I arrived it was erupting!  So, trekkers were only allowed to climb up to the rim of the crater.  Unfortunate, but fair enough.  You gotta respect volcanic eruptions.  The 2-day trek to the crater rim was awesome.  The caldera has a lake inside and a new cone grows out of it.  At night one could see the lava running down the side of it.  This is another one of those times when my pictures don’t do the place justice. For a better look at the place, click on the link above.

Mount Rinjani shows her anger by spewing smoke into the air.  The orange coloured water in the lake is boiling hot.

Doing my best impression of a porter on Mount Rinjani

Of course, after a 2-day trek up this volcano, some rest and relaxation was in order (it’s amazing how little I need to do to justify some beach time and partying).  The Gili Islands fit the bill.  Beautiful beaches, good food, bars with live bands, Bintang beer.  Ah, Gilis, I miss you.

Sand and turquoise waters

Indonesia has so many excellent volcanos, one was not enough.  Next up was Mount Bromo.  It just a 2-hour trek from the nearest town to summit this volcano and catch the sunrise.  Gorgeous.  It was a wonderful place on the planet to be at that point in time.

Hello, sunshine (Pic from Stacey B)

For your amusement, here is a quick video of a reasonably crowded mini-van ride in Indonesia.  To be honest, I have been on even more crowded public transportation in Asia, but this gives you a decent idea of it.  Plus, this the first time on these rammed buses I was able to actually get an arm free to take a video.  We squeezed 24 people in.  There may been more guys on the roof, I’m not sure (In Nepal I was the guy on the roof — at least I’m on the inside here).  Enjoy.

So, that’s it for Indonesia.  I have put together a small photo album for Indonesia and East Timor on the photos page.  Indonesia was a great country to visit.  You can have it all here:  huge mountains and volcanos, perfect beaches, world-class surfing, good partying in Bali, etc.  Of its 17,508 islands, I visited 5.  That leaves 17,503 islands for my next visit!  Stealing an idea from a friend of mine, one could point out that if I visit one island per day, it would take me 48 years (!) to see them all.  Sigh.  In 3 weeks in Indonesia, I barely scratched the surface.  But, my feet were itchy.  I have to moved on to Australia.
So, I’ve changed continents.  I spent 8 months in Asia.  I love that continent, but it was time to go — this planet has 7 continents and I want to see all of them.

Australia has been really good to me so far, as well as a huge change in culture.  Maybe I will tell you a bit about it later.

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