After my way-too-short nap, it was time to explore the vicinity--all kinds of peeps were showing up, kids were fishing, monkeys were diggin' thru the trash--it was a dramatic scene all shaking down at this lake within a volcano.
Now keep in mind this crater rim is 6k wide and sports a whole 'nother baby volcano in the middle of it (Mt. Baru). Could you imagine? A full volcano sprouted up within the volcano. Royal told me about the time he was there as a kid, swimming in the lake, when the baby volcano erupted. He ran all the way home (a normal 2 day trek mind you). There's no--I scraped my knee playing dodge ball, it's a full: the volcano erupted, so I ran home.
People come from all over Indo for the hot springs of Rinjani. After a warm Bintang, we headed down there--oh no! If we go down, we must go up--but whatever, I wanted to get a handle on these springs that throngs of people make this pilgrimage for. Wellllll.....they were pretty funky (*bathing, cleaning fish, brushing teeth, washing clothes, etc...all happening in one spot), and it turns out that all these folks had trekked in and were camping by the springs. It was pretty much a total gyspy village. They were all deep-seeded locals and they practically lived in the hot waters for weeks on end--so they could heal. Internally and externally. I was a little nervous to get in, since it was me and ALL MEN, and on top of that freezing...but after a bit of successful shimmying out of my clothing (I left undies and a t-shirt on) I popped in to the perfectly temperate water. Not quite boiling hot, but hot enough to make ya break a sweat within a few minutes.
Now, these guys will sit in the springs for hours, hopping from one pool to the next, but I was anxious to go back up and see if Titi and Oggy had caught any fish from the lake (please check out the ingenious can-line fishing "pole" photo). Plus, there were some strawberry wafers calling my name. I abandoned Royal in the pool and made my way back up the hill just as the sun was starting to dip behind the crater rim. I spied my little blue tent across the way, shrouded in fog and was tickled when I rumbled back into camp and the boys had caught 3 fish. Dinner was on.
Let me just tell you something--to be camping out in a wee tent at the edge of a blue, blue lake in the middle of a volcano--eating fresh fried fish doused in lime juice that had just been caught and drinking mountain tea AND almost being able to reach up and snatch the shooting stars. Well, the whole dang journey was worth that long-winded moment alone.
Another legendary moment was when I hobbled out of the springs and asked this happy old fella to hold up my jacket so I could change into dry clothes and he thought I was giving him my jacket, so he was dead delighted and tossing it on and I was laughing and trying to show him what to do (which was simply hold it up so I could change without the world seeing me naked) and he got a real nice gander at my boobies! Eeeeeeeee! His overjoyed, no-teeth smile reached his ancient earlobes.