Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ketchup, part 1

I used to always start my blog entries the same way. Something to the tune of "I'm sorry it's been so long. Internet access has been patchy, too much homework to do, my life is boring. etc. etc." But recently it dawned on me that introducing my posts with an apology is at best boring and at worst funereal. The only thing I'm sorry about is that you've missed out on all the epic adventures which have taken place over my past month (and to my family and friends for the 10 days of incessant worrying).

So, since you've been gone...

I traveled from Jakarta to Bali by train, bus, car and motorbike. We got in a small fender bender which turned our supposed to be 10 hour journey into 14 V E R Y long hours. They took us to the police station which was more or less an automobile graveyard. Scary!

I explored Yokjakarta, one of Indonesia's most historic cities, where I saw the world's largest Buddhist temple, Borodudur. Built around 800AD with almost 3000 hand carved panels which tell Buddha's life story in chronological order, it was worth the 4 hour wait in the police parking lot.

Since I hadn't really stopped sweating since I came to Indonesia, and it was to be my first Christmas completely on my own, I decided to head to the mountains, where I at least had a chance of being in weather similar to the homeland Oregon. I found coldness!

I arrived on Christmas Eve to a magical village where the smell of sweet, bell shaped flowers filled the cool mountain air. And on Christmas day, I climbed the volcano (Mt. Bromo) and ate the best fried rice ever at the top. All in all, not a bad Christmas, although I would have given anything to play the Franger family pickle game or eat some of Grandma's cioppino soup.

On my trip to Bromo, I met some great people from Malaysia, who invited to to accompany them to another volcano called Ijen. Money was the only thing stopping me, so when they said I could crash on the floor of their hotel room, I was in. They were wonderful people and invited me to spend the Chinese New Year with them in tempting!

One of the primary occupations for men living in this area is sulphur mining. It was hard enough for us to complete the 5 mile hike. I didn't even go to the bottom of the crater (although many tourists do) because the suphur was so penetrating to the eyes and lungs. These hardcore guys make this trip carrying 198 pounds out of the crater and down the mountain, 2-3 times per day, some with no shirt or shoes for around 10 bucks a day. It was painful to witness and made me a little more thankful for my nearly minimum wage subbing jobs.

Gotta wake up at 5:30 tomorrow to be with the orphanage kids, so that's all for tonight. The rest will be saved for ketchup, part 2. Thanks for reading...much love!