Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Journey To The Clouds (Part. 3)

Final Step to ‘Mordor’

January 20, 2008

A woman walked down the path carrying a bamboo basket on her shoulders. Her cheeks were reddish tanned. As she walked, her old skirt swayed lightly in cool breeze. Next to her, two little boys chatted cheerfully. One of them covered himself with a sarong. They brought a small-size axe and a handmade fishing rod. When I stepped behind them, the little boys suddenly turned back looking at my carrier. A friendly cute smile then came to me. With a shy childish voice, they greeted me, “Mbak, mau kemana?” (Sister, where are you going?).

It was wonderful and surprising. In my normal life, I am the one who agree the words ‘never talk to stranger’. But it didn’t work to those little boys. I walked closer to them and answered, “I’ll go to Bromo. Wanna go with me you guys?”

They looked at me for a while then shaking their heads, still smiling shyly. At the end of the path we parted. Those two boys followed the woman climbed the hill where the green vegetable field waiting for them in serenity of morning.

That was my last day in Ranu Pane.

From Ranu Pane village, I continued my trip to Bromo-Tengger Mountains in Probolinggo regency. It took three hours riding Land Rover from Ranu Pane. The weather was fine though the fog came and went easily. The glorious sandy summit Mahameru was hidden behind the thick fog as we rode down the village. I felt hard to go at first. If only I had longer holidays, I would camp at least a week long in Ranu Pane.

As the Land Rover moved, I tried to record as much memory as my mind can keep. I want to remember the way the little boys greeting me, the freezing night at Ranu Regulo, the floating thin fog above the lake … everything! Well, most of my friends say that I am a nostalgic person. But it’s okay. I don’t mind what they say. Sometimes people need to be nostalgic to see how far they have gone through this life.

At about 11am, after passing the Bantengan Hill, we got the T-intersection to Bromo-Tengger Mountains. The Land Rover turned left tracing the path downward to the wide green savannah dominated with asparagus bushes. Above us, the clear blue sky embraced the earth in natural harmony. No fog at all! The combination of green wide savannah and blue sky was something rare to find in my coastal hometown.

Didn’t want to lose that amazing scenery, I asked my friend to stop the car. I spent 20 minutes to take a look around admiring the great masterpiece of God. I lost my words. I remembered what Domenica Santolina Doone* ever said: I am the dot. Yup, I was like a tiny dot in the middle of savannah. Nothing but the dot! God is great!

Then the Land Rover moved again till the paving block path was end. Now we entered Tengger sand sea. The scenery turned dramatically from gorgeous green into gloomy gray as if we came to another world. The blue sky changed into grayish white. The cold wind blew the sand away everywhere we go. It changed my white veil into something-like-pale-grey color :p.

Far across the sand sea, the Tengger caldera lied together with Mount Bromo and Mount Batok. If you ever watch Peter Jackson’s Trilogy of Lord of the Rings, you will find that Tengger caldera looks similar like Mordor’s Mount Doom where the two Hobbits - Frodo and Sam - threw the ring away. Once again the Land Rover stopped to give me a chance to look around. Unfortunately, it took only five minutes since the thick fog started to float around us.

By the noon, we finally arrived at Mount Bromo. It is one of Indonesian’s active volcanoes and very popular of its beautiful sunrise. Once a year, Tengger people around Mount Bromo hold a Hinduism ritual ceremony called ‘Kasada’. In this ceremony, they will throw various crops and even livestock into the caldera in order to express their thankful to the God.

My friend parked our Land Rover in front of the Hinduism Temple near the mountain area. Next, I should guide my two friends – Odah and Yuni – to the peak of Mount Bromo. We took a short hike to the foot of Mount Bromo then we climbed 250 stepladders to the peak. For my two friends, this experience might be their historical moments. It was their first hiking and they had taken a long windy road to get it.

To tell the truth, they were the main reason I took this trip. I wanted to show them that hiking is not a ridiculous thing like some people usually say. I wanted they see the wonderful world I used to see. Instead, the most important thing was, I wanted to make their dream comes true.

Eleanor Roosevelt was truly right that the world belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. That day, Odah and Yuni had lived their dream to hike. And I was proud to be part of their dreams. I believe they’ll never forget this trip.

On my way back to Malang, I hummed softly Michael Buble’s song against the sound of the Land Rover machine:

I see skies of blue, clouds of white

Bright blessed day, dark sacred night

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world …

Finally, here I’d like to thank my Dear God, Allah the Almighty and everyone who had made this trip possible: Debi, Sofia, Brother Dodo, Ali, Andi, Keke, Sutris and Yudi. Nice hiking with you all guys. I’ll miss this time!!! It’s a kinda bless having you as my friends.

Last but not least, thanks to YOU for spending your time to read this journal. See ya next time :)



*Domenica Santolina Doone was the main characters of Sharon Creech’s Bloomability, a teens novel that I love to read. So motivational and inspirational!

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