Trip to Ijen Crater – Enjoy amazing Blue Fire – part 1
After a long discussion via email, we agree that the 5-day trip will be held from 24-28 June 2013, according to this Itinerary Ijen – Sukamade – Bromo and Rafting in Pekalen. There are 4 participants who request for tour packages to these destinations, they were Alan Yeo Yuan Lun, Loh Ee Chong, Enwei and Hu Peng Kiat Ong, they are all from Singapore and I as their guides. After repeated correspondence with Hu Enwei, I thought I’d be able to guess how their current appearance when they came in Surabaya Juanda Airport, and i was totally wrong, initially I thought Enwei name synonymous with women, it turns out upon arrival at the airport, they were 4 young people age with me, of course none of them are women like that I guess. Chinese names are always difficult to distinguish whether they are women or men, at least to me Indonesian people and do not understand Chinese or Mandarin.
Although my guess is wrong, but eventually I met also with them, and it’s easy to recognize them, as they out of the door International Airport and then turned left and right, do not know who they should meet, I took the initiation to approach them and ask if any one of them named Hu Enwei, and they answered “yes”, and I find then so they do. I say to them welcome in the city of Surabaya and i introduce myself, the atmosphere still feels stiff, after that we straight out of the airport and start the 5 days tour program in East Java. There were missed while we were at the airport, they should change their Singapore dollar at Juanda Airport, we had to find for them money changer in Sidoarjo and unfortunately we did not fond it, after a brief chat we agreed that the remaining payment will be made when returning to Surabaya. We had lunch in Sidoarjo.
The journey to the crater was so long, we leaved Sidoarjo at 15:30 pm, stuck in traffic in Porong and we had just arrived at the Catimor hotel on the slopes of Mount Ijen at 23:00 pm after passing through three checkpoint, 2-hour delay from the original plan, we do not have enough time to rest before the start of the climb to the crater of Ijen at 0:30 pm on the next day. Unfortunately we spent the rest of the evening with a hot cup of coffee from the break, eventually the whole night we did not sleep. After eating lunch bread provided by the hotel, we went to Paltuding and start the ascent at approximately 1:30 am. I’ve climbed a couple of times accompanied Ijen crater and normal so far, I always lead them to climb to the crater, but apparently not this time, they were just left me behind, salute to their power, the climb to the crater of Ijen is always tough especially for smokers who easily out of breath. After 2 hours of climbing we reached the lip of the crater, then down into the crater for a closer look at the blue fire, after nearly 30 minutes, we’ve been very close to the blue fire, we were very lucky at the time because the fumes do not lead directly toward us, we could enjoy the view blue fire long enough, felt satisfied, we climbed to the crater rim, shortly after the sulfur smoke began to fill the entire crater. The challenge of climbing to the crater of Ijen is most severe when the fumes of sulfur fills the entire parts of the crater and we got stuck in it, if not used, we might not be able to breathe because the air mixes with sulfur fumes.
After sunrise we get down into Paltuding and enjoy hot coffee in stall while resting. Actually we intend breakfast at the stall, but because there is nothing to eat, then we went on a trip to Banyuwangi, so we sat in the car, the five of us fell asleep exhausted after a night of no sleep plus climbing activity Ijen crater is so tiring. We stopped at the shop for breakfast, we ordered a rural side dish with fish wader and fried eel and vegetable, so good, but apparently Hu Enwei and his friends not familiar enjoying breakfast with weigh menu, only me and drivers who eat with gusto, we also had to buy bananas and papayas as stock for next trip to the Sukamade beach in southern Banyuwangi. –To be continued–