We got into Surabaya bright and early on Saturday and took a taxi to the bus station, where we hopped on a nice air-conditioned bus toward Mt. Bromo. During the ride, we were treated to numerous dangdut videos starring a woman who seemed to be constantly disappointed by a series of men. You could see why -- the men all wore weird, shiny, pimp-y clothes and acted like jerks. One of them had long, luxurious hair, and every time the camera panned to him he was running his hand through it in a way that suggested he was the hottest thing on the planet. No sensible woman would have a cup of coffee with that guy, never mind a love affair.
About an hour outside Surabaya, traffic came to a grinding halt in Sidoarjo, the site of the mud disaster. It's been two years since boiling-hot sludge started spewing from the ground there, and the thousands of people who've lost their homes and jobs are still waiting for most of the compensation they've been promised. The mud lake seemed to have gotten bigger since the last time I visited; bulldozers were out working on what looked like new containment walls along the highway.
After this sad interlude, traffic picked up again. Just outside Probolinggo we caught a public minivan to Cemoro Lawang, a little town perched on the outer crater that surrounds Mt. Bromo.
The minivan guys insisted on putting all of our luggage on top. The van was hot and pretty well packed with people. There were no music videos, but we were entertained by children singing songs in the seat behind us.
As we made our way up the steep, winding road, I tried to drink in the mountain views and ignore the terrible thought of my backpack, with my laptop in it, sliding off the top of the van and smashing onto the pavement. It was a long day of travel, but eventually we and the luggage all arrived in one piece.