Next, Anang drove us to Ketep Pass to view the erupting Merapi, closer. The journey up took almost an hour and as I was nursing a splitting headache, sleeping through it was the best. At Ketep Pass, we could see the two great mountains, Merbabu and Merapi side by side. Merbabu is higher but is currently inactive. The guys had mistaken Merbabu for Merapi and unknowingly had taken incessant snap-shots of Merbabu instead. We later went to watch a short movie on Merapi at the museum theater and on exiting the place, we took shots of us with Merapi on the background. Only then did the guys realized that they had mistaken Merbabu for Merapi! We had a good laugh at their grave error. Imagine their dispair should they only realize the mistake at home! So, we had to patiently wait for them to redeem their lost, taking more shots of the 'real' Merapi.
As the weather was cloudy, Merapi's peak was not visible that morning. But we could see that the mountain was heavily populated with villages strewn all along the terrain, marked by rows of green vegetable farms. The Merapi lava must be providing the ground with good soil and thus good produce. No wonder, the villagers were reluctant to vacate their homes despite the danger.
Next on their list was to capture sunrise at Borobodur. Again, the entrance fee was steep for foreigners and doubled if you enter to catch the sunrise. To optimize cost, we checked into a hotel in the premise of Borobodur that included the entrance fee. The hotel rate was much more expensive but since it included the entrance fee to Borobodur, it evened out. Unfortunately it didn't include entrance for sunrise and as we felt that the price was stupendous, the guys agreed to forgo it. The Manohara Hotel, as it was called, comprised of single storey rooms scattered over the grounds next to Borobodur with absolutely serene ambiance. Big shady trees and scented-flower plants like Kenanga, Cempaka etc contributed to the natural beauty of the sprawling garden.
Borobodur is a huge ancient pyramid-like structure, built into 4-5 levels, on top of a partly leveled hill. On each levels are many bell-like sturctures called stupa with Buddha statues sitting inside, apparently attaining Nirvana. From the top we could again view Merapi and Mt Sumbing. Ikelah made a second mistake of misidentifying the two and again we had a good laugh.
Checked out early to make one last trip round Jogjakarta. We visited Kota Gede (Mataram Sultanate Kraton), the Makam Mataram and prayed Friday's prayer at the Masjid Agung Mataram. Next entry: On Kota Gede and Solo.
Nope, Mama Sarah, we did'nt go there for volunteer work. Eventhough Merapi is erupting albeit 'softly', the people are still put in the 'siaga' state i.e. only those living up high on the mountains are vacated but not those below at the foot. In fact, from the news yesterday, many farmers are fed-up waiting and had stubbornly threatened to return to their farms to tend them. Mynn, as Boogey had put it, the sky did turn purple! :))
QOTH- I think that phrase is truly apt for them! :))
Anggerik, Edward, Simah: it was indeed an adventure for someone like me!
Pycno- Thank you for praying for us. A true friend is one that make dua for another! No , 'wedus ghembel' is only formed when there's profound eruption.
Hiyoshi- there must be concrete reasons that your parents are erupting like volcanoes! :))