Jogya Chronicles lV: Ashes to Ashes

The sign says it all

After the majesty and mystic of Borobodur, we headed to the wasteland of Kaliurang for a view of Mt. Merapi.  It was late afternoon already by the time we entered the village and climbed the slopes of the mountain. Clouds had rolled-in and Merapi was nowhere to be seen.  The devastation became more evident as we went higher and soon we were surrounded by felled and burnt trees, damaged houses and structures, and patches of earth that seemed to have opened-up.  It seemed that tourist peak time viewing was over as the food kiosks were all closed and except for a couple of guys offering vcds of Merapi’s eruption, there was nothing entrepreneurial about the place.  I did buy a 2-disc set from one guy as a way of helping-out apart from the mandatory entrance fee (Rp 5,000) paid earlier at the village entrance.

Steam was still emanating in some spots and there seemed to be an air of smoldering ashes around.  I don’t know if it was just plain cloudy or it was just really thick with volcanic particles.

There was nothing beautiful about all that destruction. At best it was a little awkward to be standing in the middle of a village that once was teeming with life but had now been turned into a tourist attraction. There were a few others taking pictures.

I had hoped to see Merapi but Hanya and the guy who sold me the vcd said it was impossible due to all the clouds.  When I asked where Merapi was, they simply pointed up and ahead and told me I had to take a motorbike to go higher-up on the slopes, something I didn’t dare risk as the road seemed to be jagged and muddy.  It was just a mere 5k to the summit they said.

We didn’t stay long as the morbidity of the surroundings soon caught up with us.  The air seemed to be getting denser as if we were enclosed in a gaseous chamber. We climbed aboard the Avanza and headed down the slopes until we reached the main road and sunlight once more beckoned to us.

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