On the last day of my trip to Indonesia few weeks ago, in Ubud, wandering between dainty café, exuberant monkeys and preying taxi drivers, my disperse thought got accentuated by a dubious product description of some circular mosaic plates outside a local shop — ‘balance your chakra’. Not that I am an expert in chakra, by which the pronunciation still baffles me (is the r notable?), nor zodiac nor horoscope nor taro, but was much reminded the tantalizing questions I received during a recent holistic session surrounding love. Strategically, I went on a trip alone to disinter an explanation from my side to such cosmic enigma, which Elizabeth Gilbert had successfully found hers this way. If you have to ask, you’ll never know. If you know, you need only ask.
That’s why my chakra is still imbalanced.
Maybe not even my respiratory system after Mount Ijen.
[Part II of volcano story]
12:30am 20°C at hostel
To become part of the ‘Team Ijen’, you will need to stay in a homestay in Banyuwangi, preferably meet the former sulphur miner now your lifesaver slash tour guide named Jeen (Gin), and be prepared for another sleepless night. I asked a friend of Jeen, who comes to the hostel often, what time will we return. ‘8 ish, if you are on time.’
Not the best place to contemplate the meaning of life, nor to look athleisurely chic like whoever reality star-slash-supermodel could rock, standing few yards away from the famous blue frame, apparently the only (or one of the two) place in the world to see, soaking into the smoke and choking off the sulphur gas inhaled with the uncontrollable runny nose and itchy watery eyes, I managed to photograph (almost) what I actually saw (cus I could not see a thing) and kept myself balanced (not the chakra, me, my feet on the ground without sliding through or falling down I mean.)
And hey, my dearest team mates, where are you guys going?
Don’t you worry, we got back 2 hours ago. It’s time to another adventure, 6-hour bus to Bali, without AC and toilet. Not much of a big deal, just my shorts got a little bit too wet. And guess what, the lady next to me was wearing quilted jacket the whole time. I think I need to take a moment.
PHOTOGRAPHY – HONG HIU CHING
Location – Mount Ijen, East Java, Indonesia
ps. Same as the post about Mount Bromo, let me know if you want to know my accommodation and transportation.