We have arrived in Java!!! The trip across from Bali was ok apart from the ferry crossing which had S looking to the horizon due to the pretty sizable swell.
Our first stop in Java was a place called Banyuwangi which is roughly where the port is. Due to the fact that the Lonely Planet had neglected to mention anything about this place we turned up and did not have a clue which way was which. We stayed in a rather basic 'hotel' the city for one night in a cockroach (blooming big ones!) infested room which had the feel of Horfield Prison!! Cue much screeching from S.
The next day was our introduction to Indonesian trains. We got the only train of the day to a city called Probolingo which was the jumping off point for the volcano area of Mt Bromo. The train was an interesting experience. We managed to book seats in the 'Bisnis' class which were ok and we rattled our way for 5 hours to Probolingo. When we got to our destination we met up with a Canadian couple who were stood at the station and were looking as perplexed as us!
The two things that stood out were the complete absense of tourists and the fact that not many people speak English. Needless to say our Indonesian is coming on leaps and bounds. After struggling to communicate with the station staff we eventually found a chap that would take all four of us up to the volcano region in his car. After an hour car journey we were at a small village way up in the mountains and right next to the volcano of Mt Bromo. We only just managed to get a room at one of the few hotels due to the fact it seems to be hoilday time over here and the world and his wife wanted some volcano action. The rooms at the hotel we stayed in were tiny and very basic. The bed consisted of a small wooden frame with a thin bit of foam on it. The toilet was a shared hole in the ground. Nice! That evening we (ourselves and the Canadians) met up with another couple from Ireland. We then all discovered that the hotel sold 'Hot Wine'. Hang on a minute, the W Word!!!! It turned out that this stuff was really good mulled wine and for only 40p a glass!!! Again S was a happy chappy!! Lots of mulled wine sunk.
The next morning we all got up at three o'clock (owch!) to climb up to an observation point to watch the sunrise over the three volcano cones. The observation point was at about 9000ft so air was at a premium but it gave one of the most incredible sights that we have both ever seen. Hopefully we will be able to put the photos on to view. We then trunddled back down and had a walk around the rim of one of the cones which is still active and spews out sulphurous gas and steam. The landscape was almost lunar and very weird. It really was a great trip.
After the Mt Bromo we all headed back down to Probolingo for a night in a nice hotel and a hot shower. We worked out that we had not had a hot shower in about 10 days. The hotel was really nice and the beds really comfortable. After an afternoon nap I swung my leg out of bed only to find a scorpion about 2 feet from where my foot had landed. I then said to S "You had better look at this" S then developed Tourettes and ran off to Reception to get help. unfortunately they did not speak any english, leading to S having to do an impression of a scorpion...all very humiliating. Eventually, the message got across and the scorpion was 'dealt with' by a member of staff, using the underside of his shoe. poor thing.
got to dash, canadians await,
S and C