You go to Probolingo for one reason only, to see Mount Bromo, or 'the Bromo' as Eva likes to say. So at 2am we got woken up and told we needed to leave, as the journy to the summit was 2 hours, and then a 20 minute hike, (Hannan had forgotten her inhaler, but we hoped her pains would be worth it). The previous day, Eva and Louise, (I said Louisa in my previous blog, its the same girl), attempted to see the Bromo sunrise but unfortunately due to the weather, which seems to be a recurring theme, all they could see was white. However kindly the organiser allowed them to go again free of charge.
Anyway both of them said the weather was much better today, which must of said allot because the majority of our view were just cloud also. As the sun rose, intermittent cloud cover would slightly obscure our view, having the effect of bluring the sunlight throught the cloud layers. Although this was not we would have liked to see, it was still rather beautiful. Anyway we decided to call it a day up 'The Bromo' and got driven back down the mountain to arrive at our hotel at around 8:30am, had our breakfast, packed our bags and hopped on a bus for Surakarta, or Solo as it is known.
On the bus we met an English person, Will, who was as relieved as we were to meet some other English people. (The dutch seem to be taking over this area, and in Yogjakarta it was only more apparent). This 9 hour bus journey was filled with sleep, my reading of 1984, some chatting, food, and eventually we arrived in Solo, leaving the girls and Will to go onto Yogjakarta. We found Chakra Homestay, our bed for one night, and went to sleep swiftly.
There were a phew things to see in Solo, two palace's or kratons, and a Batik (traditional indonesian cloth) market. The palaces were decent, however they are not nearly as lavishly decorated as the European palaces. However what struck me and Hannah most about Solo, and indeed Probolingo, was how amazed the locals were that white people were in town, particularly more with Hannah, whose pale skin (which Hannah hopes to rectify), blonde hair and good looks drew much attention, some of it slightly hostile and degrading. As we walked down the tight alleys of the Batik market, you could see the shop sellers passing down the news to the next shop seller that white people were coming. And as we walked passed, what seemed to be taunts and jeers were coming from the old men, who are clearly not used to seeing an unrepressed women, and i might add, where enjoying the site.
From what i've written it sounds like Hannah was walking around in a bikini, but she was actually wearing shorts, a strapless top and flip flops. This was the first real clash of cultures we have witnessed.
We arrived in Yogjakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta) on the 25 March, which was a very welcome sight after the past few days. Just over an hour on the train (which cost 60 or 70p) and we had arrived at Dewi Homestay, with, Eva, Louise, and Will already there. We also met Christa (another Dutch girl), Kristof (a German) and his girlfriend Miriam (who's infact Swedish). Another Dutch girl Morega (i'm sorry to offend her, but i'm spelling it how an Englishman would say it, and the way an Englishman says it is so wrong it seems, that the Dutch girls can't even tell who we're reffering to). Anyway, this would be the group for the next three days in Yogja.
There will be more on Yogja and Melaka soon, as there is much to write about. Thank you for reading, and the next installment should be just before we enter Thailand on the 8th or 9th.