Mount Bromo

The Tenggerese

Only on the way down did I realize that the trail that I had previously taken in the dark was particularly scenic with small huts dotting the farmland surrounded by large swaths of land growing local produce. The small huts almost seemed to be a throwback to agricultural times with an anachronism that seem to have survived the unyielding march of modern technology. 


The local Tenggerese themselves, a Hindu community believed to be descendants of Majapahit royalty, all seemed to wear what upon first glance seemed to be shawls around their necks but were in actual fact just sarungs that they used as a blankets when the temperature started to drop. I also saw these sarungs being used by mothers to support their babies on their backs as well as by older women who used them to wrap items when they were carried from one place to another. They all seemed very friendly and would wave to me as I passed and would often greet me as I passed them on the path. Once again I didn't notice any other tourists making the trek back to Cemero Lawang and had either left earlier or had taken a 4WD jeep or a speeda back.


I made my way back to the small warung that I had frequented previously for my well-overdue daily dose of caffeine. I met two local men there who struck up a conversations with me and were somewhat surprised when they found out that I was travelling alone, remarking "berani!" (brave!) as if they found it to be aberrant in some way. They also had assumed that I had a background in the military for some reason that I could not fathom. Was it perhaps the fact that I had a shaved head or maybe because I dressed almost entirely in black?

My racial ambiguity also seemed to confuse everyone that I met as they would always presuppose that I was a Caucasian but doubt would quickly overcome them when I would begin to speak to them in Bahasa Indonesia. On several occasions I was tempted to blurt out something along the lines of "I am the product of the act of miscegenation", an urge likely to be influenced by the book that I was currently reading, 'The Greatest Show on Earth', a book on Evolution by Dr. Richard Dawkins. 


Next : Mount Bromo (Part 4)