Mt Merapi looms ahead of us, a perfect dark cone, partially enveloped in mist. My ears pop, proving we’re gaining altitude even though the road doesn’t appear to be going uphill.
They say the volcano is smoking 300 days a year. Every time I look at it I doubt my vision, half convinced that it’s just wisps of cloud like we see around our more familiar and benevolent volcano at home, Mt Rainier.
Mt Merapi’s last major eruption was in 2010, the year before my previous visit to the area.
Today we’re taking a day trip to a village (kampung ) in the shadow of Mt Merapi where the students are doing a brief homestay.
Except, instead of spending time with the group, Hugo decided he’d rather spend time with his new friends.
Notice the black volcanic dirt:
The highlight for Hugo was this moment:
This village is also the home to a gamelan, which is a set of instruments used to play traditional Javanese music.
There are mostly xylophones and gongs, but one person will play a hand drum to keep the beat.
The pieces range in size from a xylophone about 18 inches across to this enormous hanging gong:
If you’re interested in hearing the gamelan in action, check out this video below:
We headed back to Yogyakarta, Hugo exhausted and dirty, the best way for a toddler to end the day.