Travel to Indonesia: Merapi
Further explorations of the countryside around Borobudur--in this case Mt. Merapi and the plains at its foot.
Merapi is about 20 miles east of Borobudur and about the same distance north of Yogyakarta, from where this picture was taken. Yes, that's a plume rising from the peak. On the left, and behind Merapi, is Mt. Berbabu. It's slightly above--Merapi is slight below--3,000 meters. Such days are uncommon in the rainy season--and if you want to see the mountain more clearly, they're an opportunity not to be missed.
Road head at Kaliurang, a resort on the lower slopes of the mountain. It was still early--the restaurants weren't open yet.
Paths lead upward. At first they're substantial.
They thin and show signs of rainy-season erosion. Curiously, the paths don't lead to the summit: for that, the approach is from the north side of the mountain.
They do get you close enough to see the mountain in some detail, not only with steam but with clear evidence, especially on the left, of recent lava flows.
A bit of zoom brings up the summit and its crater.
Think we should have tried ascending farther? But look again: this picture was taken an hour later, back on the flats: cloud was already obscuring the mountain, which was soon to vanish for the duration. Besides, there's plenty to see right here.
Once more, waters coming down from the mountains will irrigate paddy lands. In this case, the government has put in concrete-lined ditches with steel gates.
The water will flow through lands at every stage of production. Here, on the village road, paddy spread out to dry.
Tucked in a grove surrounded by fields, there's a prosperous-looking village.
How much of its income comes from these fields is unclear, but certainly this is intensive cultivation, with growing and maturing crops side by side.
A sawah is flooded and worked to make it waterproof for the coming crop.
Nearby, another field is just about ready for planting.
Here's the paddy nursery whose seedlings will be transplanted into the larger field behind.
Water drains from one sawah to the next. In this case a pipe outlet is replaced by a simple cut, presumably to speed up the flow or drain the water in the upper field to a lower level.
Another contrast between younger and older crops.
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