Thursday, November 21, 2013

We are unable to comprehend our experience

Thursday, November 21, 2013

our human tragedy is that we are unable to comprehend our experience, it slips through our fingers, we can’t hold on to it, and the more time passes, the harder it gets…. My father said that the natural world gave us explanations to compensate for the meanings we could not grasp. The slant of the cold sunlight on a winter pine, the music of water, an oar cutting the lake and the flight of birds, the mountains’ nobility, the silence of the silence. We are given life but must accept that it is unattainable and rejoice in what can be held in the eye, the memory, the mind.

~ Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown, 2005 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Climbing Mt Rinjani: Lombok's Sacred Volcano

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

As I trudged up the mountain gasping for breath and trying not to listen to the sound of my heart pounding against my breast and my legs groaning in pain, my mind pondered the events that brought me there.  It was three years ago when I told myself that I could—and would—climb Mt. Rinjani, a volcano located in Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Despite the strenuousness of the hike, I am glad I talked myself and my partner into doing it.  We could have spent our entire vacation lounging by the stunning beaches of Bali but we wanted adventure, which we had in climbing Mt. Rinjani.

The Two-Day Hike to Gunung Rinjani

We started walking from the Senaru Trek Center at 7 am, rested and had lunch from 11 am to 1 pm, and reached the crater at 4 pm, where we also spent the night.  The 9.2-kilometer trail that we struggled through for seven hours to reach the rim we could have covered on foot for less than two hours on flat ground.   
The Terrain

During the first hour of the trek, we walked on relatively flat ground under the cover of trees then the trail became increasingly steeper as we went through grassy meadows and the rocky steps leading to the crater.

The Food

The meals served by our outfitter, Galang Ijo Expedition, were simply superb. It amazed me how the team was able to prepare such elaborate meals given the limited time and equipment.

The Hikers

Aside from my partner and I and the local guides and porters, there were no other Asians in sight.  The other hikers were mostly Europeans and Australians of varying ages.  It was quite embarrassing to be caught huffing and puffing while a vigorous group of Italians in their 50s and 60s pass me by.

Danau Segara Anak and Gunung Baru Jari

Gunung Rinjani soars 3,726 m above sea level and is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. The 4-km wide caldera near the top of the volcano is filled by a 230-meter deep lake, Danau Segara Anak (Child of the Sea Lake). A smaller active volcano, Gunung Baru Jari juts from the crater's interior at the edge of the lake.

The Camp

The team set up our camp on a private spot near the edge of the rim, complete with our very own toilet tent and a spectacular view of Rinjani’s summit, Lake Segara Anak, and Gunung Baru Jari.  From our spot, we could see numerous tents dotting the crater of the volcano.

 The Expenses

The 2 days and 1 night trek package from Galang Ijo includes the following:
  • Pick-up and drop-off transfers from any place in Lombok
  • Accommodation in Senaru the night before the trek
  • Entrance fee to Rinjani National Park 
  • English speaking guide and porters 
  • Full board meals
  • All camping equipment

Monday, November 11, 2013

An Invisible Boundary

Monday, November 11, 2013

This made me think of the many invites I ignored, the excuses I came up with to not be with people, the wall I’ve built inside myself behind which others can't touch me, the distance I kept even from my friends. I could have written these words myself:

The upshot of all this is that when I was young I began to draw an invisible boundary between myself and other people. No matter who I was dealing with. I maintained a set distance, carefully monitoring the person’s attitude so that they wouldn’t get any closer. I didn’t easily swallow what other people told me. My only passions were books and music. As you might guess, I led a lonely life. ~ Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart, 1999
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