Animal Sacrifice

Bromo Travel Blog

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The moonscape of Bromo and its neighboring volcanoes has inspired many legends from the Hindu Tegger people who still inhabit the area.  The area is possibly the most famous group of volcanoes in SE Asia and was on the top of my to do list.  Public transport, cheap accommodation, and no guide requirements made this a surprisingly cheap adventure.

After a quick bite to eat at our "hotel" overlooking the smoking cones we headed out across the desert-like crater on foot.  As we walked across the 3 km dusty plain we were surprised that we had still not seen a single tourist in Java even at this famous natural wonder.

   Bromo was not particularly high nor difficult to climb.  There was no one else there when we arrived at the rim.  With nothing else to do we hung out at the top for the better part of the afternoon.  Only two other people came up that day.  They were carrying a sheep.

Everyone has heard of animal sacrifices to the the gods but I never imagined that I would see it.  Popery was in the air as the man and his son said some prayers over the flower assembly on the edge of the crater.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  The ritual was short.  He grasped the sheep by the gruff of its neck and by it's back, gave a couple of swings, and tossed the trustworthy sucker into the smoking pit.  The sheep screamed as it's legs broke while tumbling down the treacherously steep slope.
  It never made it to the bottom.  It was stuck somewhere, left to die, in the name of God.

The next day was one of the longest of my year of travels.  We got up at 3:00am to catch our jeep ride up to the top of a nearby mountain to get the postcard sunset view.  It was a bit cloudy in the morning so I decided to wait to try to get a clear shot when the sun burt off the fog.  This meant that we were going to have to walk back but we were told that it was only 2 hours so I wasn't too worried about it.  I gave up on the fog clearing at about 7:30 and we started to walk.  We could not find anyone who could tell us a direct path down so we started walking down the road.  After only about a half hour we got picked up by a couple of Japanese folks who were making an eco movie.
  Distracted by their travel advice, I missed our turn and we went the wrong way for 20 minutes on the jeep.  We hoped out and started hitching back after giving up on the staring locals trying to jew job us.  The sun was baking and water was already in short supply as we headed back up the mountain.  There was no way that we were going to walk all the way up so we decided not to walk at all and just hitch it.  Almost every motor bike that passed by stopped a hundred meters down the road, dropped off their poor passenger,  and came back to offer us a lift for a fee. Although the prices were high, it was not the main deterrent.  Among many other things, Ian had a phobia of motorbikes.  Eventually we got a ride to the turn were we went wrong in exchange for some oreos and smiles.
  Unfortunately this was still 10km from our hotel.

A few typical ratty trucks passed us without stopping as we made our way down the mountain road with our thumbs out.  Eventually a truck stopped. Not just any truck, maybe the newest fanciest truck I had seen in Java.  We hopped in the back with the guitar cases and drum sets.  The truck came to an abrupt stop when we arrived at the crater desert.  We hopped out on the dusty barren landscape. Before we knew what was happening we were greeted by a half dozen fancy trucks.  My heart rate quickened as more and more dudes with unnaturally large arms testing the elasticity of camouflage muscle shirts with automatic rifle logos were emerging in all directions.  Then done up miniskirts hoped out to.

  A camera man was filming us as the guy who picked us up asked if we wanted to be in their video.  They said it was a rap video but we were wondering what they wanted us for in the take.  We figured it was more likely that they wanted to shoot us than have us grope their girls so we turned down their offer to head to the floating falls and decided to walk across the desert.

Ian also has a phobia of wild dogs.  We saw several as we sucked flour fine sand for the hour long desert crossing.  We made it back to the place in time for lunch at 11:00 am.  The rest of the day was relatively uneventful but heavily draining as we worked our way to Yogykarta via bemo and minibus until only to arrive at 4:00 am.

Travbuddies: Ian (UK), Sweed Sisters

arlene0725 says:
I hope there is NO PETA members reading this blog or they would race to Bromo and ban the practice. I do feel sorry for the sheep. I would not mind if they ate it. All in the name of Allah.
Posted on: Jan 13, 2009
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photo by: Ils1976