I upgraded to the new version of WordPress and thought I needed a slightly newer look to the site, so here it is. Similar to the old, but lighter. I wanted to get away from the white on black, because it can be harder to read. I had been ignoring that rule because it looked cool. I may get around to making a new header image one of these days too…

So, lots of interesting happenings over the last while. Christmas was a nice quiet affair spent with friends from the office. New Year’s was another quiet one because I was ill. Deasy, a friend from the office, was planning a trip to her hometown (near Malang) and from there a hiking trip with friends up around Mount Bromo. I joined, along with Nina and Ollie for the latter part, so we headed off on what turned out to be about a 14 hour bus ride (including ferry jaunt) to Malang. After arriving and hanging out with Deasy’s family, we went for a swim in a large river/spring fed outdoor pool, situated down a beautiful mountain path through rice paddies and farms.

On the way back from the swim it bucketed with rain and we were all completely soaked. I was sick that night and the following was New Year’s. It was a strange virus that just gave me really bad headaches and body aches for days, so I spent a lot of time sleeping.

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I wasn’t quite recovered when we got to Ngadas, the town near Bromo (and highest village in Java), so when everyone got up at 1am to climb Bromo and watch the sunrise, I slept in. Luckily, after the extra sleep and more breakfast, I felt much better, so in the afternoon I went and joined everyone. This involved jumping on the back of a bike with the son of the tour guide and hooning off over the rough mountain path, down into the caldera that Bromo rises out of.

It’s a stunning area and we spent the rest of the day looking at different areas around there, napping by the side of a small lake and having a grand time. The next day we spent all hooning around on the back of bikes with the local ojek yahoo squad, then hiked around the mountains a bit and watched Semeru erupt a few times with puffs of smoke & ash. The whole area is so high and cool (climate) that it doesn’t look or feel like Indonesia. All the plants are different to the tropical flora you usually see around. The people even dress more like mountain folk, with sarongs wrapped around their shoulders in a poncho-like arrangement.

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Later that day it was time to head back and we were all exhausted as we sat around waiting for another mammoth bus ride. It was an incredible trip and I’d love to get back up there, hopefully in full health, and try to climb Semeru. It really was the most stunning place I’ve been in Indonesia so far.

Lots of cameras out on the trip and mine was back in action, so here’s my full set. You should also check out Deasy’s and Ryan’s, because they’re great and got shots of things I missed.

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