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Notes on the Geography of Indonesia: Merapi

Further explorations of the countryside around Borobudur--in this case Mt. Merapi and the plains at its foot.

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Indonesia: Merapi picture 1

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 of steam rising from the peak. On the left, and behind Merapi, is Mt. Berbabu. It's slightly above--Merapi is slightly below--3,000 meters. Clear days are uncommon in the rainy season.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 2

Road head at Kaliurang, a resort on the lower slopes of the mountain. It was still early-, so the parking lots and restaurants were empty.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 3

Paths lead upward. At first they're substantial.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 4

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 5

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 6

A bit of zoom brings up the summit and its crater.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 7

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 8

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 9

The water will flow through lands at every stage of production. Here, on the village road, paddy has been spread out to dry.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 10

Tucked in a grove surrounded by fields, there's a prosperous-looking village.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 11

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 12

A sawah is flooded and worked to make it waterproof for the coming crop.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 13

Nearby, another field is just about ready for planting.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 14

Here's the paddy nursery whose seedlings will be transplanted into the larger field behind.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 15

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.

Indonesia: Merapi picture 16

Another contrast between younger and older crops.


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