Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
By good fortune this morning it didn’t rain and instead we had gorgeous weather. We hired the hotel car and driver and set off through Lembang to the nearby volcano, passing street food vendors and terraces growing delicious vegetables and fruits including the tastiest strawberries that I’ve ever tried.
The Tangkuban Perahu volcano is easily accessed by a road to the crater. The crater is surrounded by walking paths, lookouts, souvenir stalls and touts. We enjoyed peering into the crater and seeing sulphurous gases pouring out of vents. The hydrogen sulphide gas is a bit unpleasant but not overwhelming.
We were careful not to show interest in trinkets because that is tantamount to drawing a target on your chest for all touts in the surrounding area to descend like vultures. Because of the touts we did not relax and enjoy the crater at leisure. The only thing that I bought was a lovely sample of native sulphur for my mineral collection.
A guide attached himself to us the instant we disembarked from the car and he convinced us to buy a ticket to walk about 1.2km down the hill to some active vents and thermal pools. I’m unclear on whether we really needed tickets and a guide or if we could have just walked down there for free… We paid for 1 hour of his time which meant that we had to rush the whole time. We tried to release him so that we could enjoy the vents and pools without rushing but he insisted on guiding us back to the car and reminded us to tip him so that he can buy food for his baby.
This is the first volcano that I’ve visited despite having studied a geology degree and it was exciting to see. The hot gases bubbled mud up at 120°C and bubbled through various pools of water. The guide took me to see beautiful crystals of native sulphur. Overall it was a splendid experience.
On the way up the mountain we saw two large black monkeys and on the way down we enjoyed looking out over vast tea plantations on our way to the village of Ciata and the hot springs.
The hot springs that we visited are part of a resort and we were the only westerners there with predominantly Indonesian and a few Arab tourists. I had foolishly packed my bikini but after regarding the women in full clothing and burkinis I simply rolled up my trousers and waded into the knee deep water while looking longingly at the people standing with their shoulders being pounded by hot water from waterfalls. Our children had fun playing in the warm water. Two separate groups of lovely women asked me for photos and posed with me. We tried to talk but with my limited Indonesian and their limited English we mostly smiled.
We eventually were chased away from there by heavy rain and while we waited under a shelter for the rain to abate my husband read us a chapter of the second book by Cressida Cowell in the dragon training series. When the rain continued we hired umbrellas from a smiling vendor and walked to the exit where I changed our children behind my sarong into dry clothes as friendly Indonesians huddled close around us watching with great interest.