Caught the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, a city midway way along Java, near the south coast. The journey itself was long, but very comfortable and I found an OK hotel near the station. Yogya has a reputation as a cultural centre and as the government licensed Batik art centre was open I paid a visit. Its a system of dying where molten wax is used to stop the cloth being coloured. Wax is added initially where you want white (the cloths natural colour) and then the clothe is dyed with the lightest colour. This is done until stage by stage using darker colours until complete. I ended up buying 4 smaller pieces, two that reminded me or Ozzie Aboriginal art and two with gecko symbols on them. I’ve come across geckos everywhere I’ve been in the tropics and as they eat mozzies I’m very fond of them.
After a couple of nights I headed to Kaliurang, a village 900m up Gunung Merap, one of the world’s most active volcanos. The hostel I was at was run by one of the local rescue teams and he and his brother are licenses to take people on treks into the level III hazard area. It was up at 3:20 in the morning to start on the hike up the volcano. This meant that although it was dark, it was also fairly cool whilst we had to climb. At around 5:30 we had got as far as were were going to be taken, still disappointingly far away from the volcano. Currently there isn’t a lavaflow to see however the volcano continuously emits a fair amount of smoke. Its was atmospheric watching the changing silhouette of the peak as the sun rose beside it.
The hostel only had cold mandis for washing and unable to face them I caught an early minibus (bemo) back to Yogyakarta. A mandi is a big basin / trough full of water you slosh over yourself with a scoop. Although I can take cold showers were you can gradually edge bits of yourself into the stream I hate cold mandis where you get hit by a scoop full of cold water at once.
Didn’t get up to much last night in Yogya, and tomorrow afternoon I catch a train to Surabuya, before connecting next morning to Probolinggo near Mount Bromo. Yes its another volvano, but being up high is much cooler than the lowlands and the heat in Indonesia is making me very lazy.