I snapped the photo on my flight to Yogyakarta. I asked the brothers seated next to me the name of it and they told me it is Mount Merapi (literally Fire Mountain in Indonesian.. coincidentally part of my itinerary).
We hired a driver from another tour agency for Day 4. We requested to have breakfast first before we started the day, but the driver simply brushed it off. Anyway, we were first drove to a place at Mount Merapi where all the jeep tour packages are offered. We took up the package of short route (1.5 hours) where a driver would take us to explore Kaliadem in his Jeep. What were we expecting? To see the village (which was once beautiful but now damaged) after the eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010 which claimed thousands of lives and homes.
The jeep tour was definitely not for the faint-hearted like me. Little did I know the ride would be sooo bumpy going up and down on the uneven land full of lava rocks that I had to grab hold of the handles tightly so that I didn’t get thrown out of the jeep (can’t remember if we had the seat belts on). The surrounding was pretty much bare with the sight of lorries and diggers working on the lava sands that were still smoking & some greenness as plants have started to grown over years on the fertile javanic soil. But as time passed by, there were more and more jeeps passing by fetching curious passengers like us.
The jeep tour wouldn’t have been so memorable if it wasn’t our driver. A humble man who lost his home due to the eruption but still smiled optimistically. He did a great job in explaining everything to us – the stories behind the places we visited (i.e. the bunk, the museum) and the emergency evacuation experience he and his family were put through in 2010. He also brought us to the stalls operated by his wife and relatives (saw him hug his small son) where we ordered for warm coffee, ginger tea and snacks. Mount Merapi is a time-bomb with smoke still coming out of it viewing from far when the sky is clear.. so there is always a chance the home he was now rebuilding would be destroyed again when it erupts. When we posed that question to him, he said he acknowledged that but it didn’t stop him from enjoying the moment and carry on with his lives.Sadly, the adventure had to come to an end and we had to bid goodbye with our jeep driver. Our hair, face and clothes were coated with a layer of dust. I am happy that the villagers are returning, that the tourism and sand digging are helping them to move on. Returning to our driver who were waiting for us, he finally brought us to lunch. Before that, we were discussing where to go. I had my mind on attractions nearby Kaliurang area such as the national park but the driver was adamant to leave. He offered to bring us to Borobudur (or was it Prambanan) but we realized the entrance fee for two persons weren’t taken into consideration during my budget planning, thus leaving us reluctant to proceed whenever we thought of the exorbitant fees. We therefore turned him down and insisted to go back to our hotel after noon (we had a mixed feelings about our driver for that day – we found him less warm and accommodating and the fact that he kept promoting his side-business didn’t help).
So yeah, if you are wondering – we did go to Yogyakarta but we skipped the most important attractions aka UNESCO World Heritage Sites that drew everyone in. Hehe.