Mount Merapi: A Physically Painful Experience

While trekking on Mount Merapi can be painful, it remains rewarding. Lungs breathe clean moist air. Eyes absorb hitherto unseen sights. Every atom feels alive. 
A local poet once compared dawn to the tearing of light through a wound in the clouds.

Yet, this particular sunrise seems too harmonious to be described as such. It is far too gentle, transient, inviting and quiet.

 This is the cave where we spent one-point-five hours napping. It was exhausting to slither over scree, move from hugging trunk to trunk and just trying not to be impaled by broken branches.

I found myself wondering, why can't I be hornier? A mountain ram, with its exquisitely curved horns, is a skillful climber. So too a forest stag with a rack of antlers. Horny creatures, it seems, are better at climbing.

Our local guide, a patient, humourous, devious person, seemed to be smoking non-stop.
He lied to us that friend is 'pacar' in Bahasa Indonesia when it should be 'teman'. It led to a modicum of embarrassment the next day.
P.S. pacar = girlfriend

 This cloud is like a kueh lapis, with layers of fluffiness.

This giant clam, with stones as its shells and moss as its flesh, seems contented to be embedded in the rocky floor.

Dear faraway mountain,

Wearing a hat doesn't hide the fact that you're bald.


This brain-like fungus (lichen?) is humble. It doesn't demand anything from us except to leave it alone.

Someone - a scientist, I think - once said that it's easy to discover new fungi and name them after yourself. These organisms are abundant and fairly useless to humans, therefore not well studied.

Erioderma Yaoyao sounds like an interesting name.

Breakfast tasted exceptional, this banana pancake drizzled with caramel. (Partly because we barely slept that night.)

There are many moments during this trek that I felt like giving up. So tempting to just sit somewhere and while the night away. So tough to stay awake. So easy to fall asleep. Whatever happened, I am thankful.