Just a picture that I love.
A storm approaching while we were in Krakatau.
A few weekends ago, Dave, Sam, Ed and I went to visit Krakatoa, or “Krakatau” as the Indonesians call it, to climb the active volcano “Anak Krakatau” (child of Krakatau). The volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was so violent that it had a higher nuclear yield than the Little Boy nuclear bomb in Hiroshima, cooled the Earth’s climate by 1.2 degrees from all of the ash blocking the sun, was the equivalent of 200 megatons of TNT, destroyed 165 villages and towns and over 36,000 people died. If anyone was within ten miles, they would have gone deaf. This makes it the most violent volcanic eruption in history. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatau).
I was terrified to go, but Dave had a great point-if Krakatoa did explode, we wouldn’t be safe on Java, either. He’s right and, in fact, nowhere in the world is safe after an eruption of that strength…the tsunamis and shock waves would be catastrophic. Besides, we’ve been dying to try out Dave’s new underwater/shockproof camera.
So we went on Friday after we finished work at 7:30 in the evening. After spending 3 hours standing on a bus, then taking a roach-infested ferry from 2-5:30 AM, then an hour angkot ride in a downpour, then another wooden boat, we finally (and gladly) reached our destination. We were exhausted, and hungry, and badly needed a shower after sitting and sleeping in all of those crusty, rusty, littered places. ;P The best decision we made when we got there was to pay extra to rent a homestay deeper in the village for 200,000 Rupiah altogether, split between the four of us and Kelvin, who we met on the bus. The house was sparkling clean and beautiful, and the family was so friendly. There was even a shower, not just a standing bath! We really lucked out.
After we got there, it started to rain again. Within about 20 minutes the village sidewalks were flooded with muddy water. Here are some pictures of the rain that we endured all weekend.
After our day of rest, on Sunday we woke up at 3:30 AM to go climb Krakatau at sunrise. It was another hour boat ride to the volcano…luckily it was an easy climb to the top. It only takes about 20 minutes to walk up there.
Ready to go!
Check out the smoke coming out of the top!
We have to climb all the way up there?! :/
Sulfuric gas is the only gas out of all of the built up gases in there that’s small enough to fit through the sand and rocks. This was the very tip of Anak Krakatau.
After we climbed down, we saw that the beach we had pulled into had black sand.
After climbing Krakatau, we went snorkeling. We were a little disappointed with the photos and movies we took underwater, because the weather was so cloudy and we took the pictures with the camera angled straight down. They would have turned out better if we took them at an angle, but we’re learning as we go! I won’t bother posting the videos we took…they make you feel sea sick when you watch. It’s seriously so terrible, but as I said, we’re learning!
This looks like a good snorkeling spot, we’ll stop here…
Some Brain Coral!
Krakatoa was unbelievable, like nothing I have ever seen in my life. Even though the weather gave us trouble all weekend and getting there was….an “experience” let’s say…we were glad we saw it. We’re getting ready to go to Sumatra next Sunday, May 5th-10th to see Tangkahan, Bukit Lawang, and Lake Toba. And I think I speak for both of us when I say, we can’t wait to use that camera again!
Thanks for reading. :)
Dave, Sam, Ed and I had a very eventful weekend hiking up Krakatau (there will be a post about this soon!). There were some ups and downs, and one downer included me falling asleep on the boat while we were on our way to go snorkeling and getting the worst sunburn of my life. It was cloudy the entire weekend, but as we all know, sunburning through the clouds is possible.
I didn’t get any blisters or anything, and I felt fine besides the usual sunburn chills, but I woke up on Monday morning with swollen eyes and a puffy face and mouth. Rahma took me to the doctor to get it checked out, just in case it was a food allergy we wanted to be on the safe side. My experience at the “hospital” was…interesting. When we first got there, I filled out a brief, and I mean brief, hospital form. Just my name, birthday phone number, and my parents’ names were put on it. A phone number for Mom and Dad weren’t required which I thought was strange. When we were called in, the doctor wasn’t wearing scrubs or a white coat or anything, she was an elderly woman in a pink dress and wearing a traditional hijab. She didn’t wear gloves while she checked me out, and I didn’t see her wash her hands. Luckily, she was only looking at my skin and not checking for infections or anything!
Anyway, at the end she said it was from my sunburn. She told me that there is no medicine, but that I need to take care of my skin because it could stay puffy for up to 28 days. She prescribed honey, a special soap, and Vitamin A pills to take after every meal. She said I had to rub honey on my face and wash it with the special soap from the pharmacy, which is basically a soap that is used for babies and sensitive skin.
Now, I have to admit, I really scoffed at this whole experience. When I got back and told the teachers that my balloon face had to be treated with honey, they all raised their eyebrows and laughed too. I immediately bought some Aloe Vera, which is imported and rather difficult to find here, and started applying that almost every half hour. I finally tried the honey method today though, and I have to admit…it feels so nice! Immediately when I rubbed it on my face it felt so smooth and moisturizing, and I never thought that sticky honey would be so great for my skin. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to chemically made face washes ever again! I’d recommend for all of you at home to try it!
Also, my face is no longer puffy. I just kept my head elevated for most of Monday night and when I woke up yesterday morning it looked completely normal-sized. :)
Once in awhile, friends and family ask what our meals are like here. I’m really enjoying this Soto Betawi for dinner…it’s one of my favorite foods here. It’s a beef soup in a coconut broth, and it’s amazing. And it’s only 38, 500 rupiah (about $4 USD). Not too bad, right?
Happy Easter from Jakarta!
image by the awesome Neven Mrgan, thanks to Ben for pointing me to it.
I love these writing prompts.
I’m not sure why we feel this way, but we do. It’s not like we can never come back to Indonesia in the future for a vacation, or come back to visit our friends. But looking back, I can’t believe how fast time has flown by…I mean, it’s been seven months already, more than halfway finished with our contracts here. I already feel like I miss it, which is a strange feeling since we’re still here. I think I look ahead too much, and I need to just enjoy the present!
Since we’ve started feeling this way, we have been feeling like we’re “in a rush” to see all of the beautiful places that we haven’t seen yet in this country. We just booked our flights to Sumatra in May, so we’re looking forward to that so much. But we still haven’t seen Bali or Raja Ampat, and we only have 4 vacation days left after Sumatra. Luckily, I’m a planning extraordinaire and Dave is an adventurer, so I have faith that we can do it. :) The money is an issue too, but I think we’ll find a way.
Dave’s birthday is coming up this weekend. He opened his present a little early because apparently I’m the worst at hiding presents and he saw it the very day that I bought it! It’s an underwater camera, waterproof up to 10 meters in case we ever get diving certified, and shockproof. Should come in handy in Sumatra when we’re jungle trekking on elephants in Tangkahan, seeing waterfalls (I read that these are sometimes called “jungle showers” in Indonesia, I think that’s so clever), hot springs, and swimming in Lake Toba. Now we’ll be able to share photos of what we see when we’re snorkeling in some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world with all of you.
The only problem with booking a vacation is that it doesn’t come fast enough!