The second of three excursions John and I went on from the home base of Paron was up to John’s coworker’s home in Jogorogo. It was a wonderful escape from the hot and humid rice paddies since it was on the foothill of Mt. Lawu, and I instantly felt more at ease in the mild mountain air.
We were greeted to John’s coworker’s home with fresh coconut water and a tour of their lovely home, which included Yon’s Luwak. A Luwak quite literally shits profits, since the coffee beans it eats comes out the rear end “better tasting” than when they went in the front end. I did not get to try any Luwak coffee, but John did back in the day.
After the tour, Yon and Haneik, John’s co-teacher and Yon’s wife, retired for an afternoon nap. Re-energized by the cool mountain air, however, I persuaded John to go on a walk to see if we could see the infamous Mt. Lawu, despite the heavy, rainy season cloud cover.
The walk we went on was a good time to finally catch up with John, mostly because up until that point I had been high on adrenaline from arriving south of the Equator for the first time, and he had been caught up in work stuff getting ready for our trip north. We walked and sweated while debating if we might be some of the first Americans, or possibly even Westerners, to see this road and it’s views of East Java. Eventually, we arrived at what appeared to be the end of the road, and I decided to see what was actually going on in the rice paddies.
We returned to John’s coworker’s home, where we decided to keep walking to go fishing in a pond at Haniek’s relative’s house further down the road. It was a bit like shooting fish in a barrel (throw in a worm, catch a fish within 5 minutes), but we feasted well on all the fish we caught later that evening, which was a refreshing experience to say the least.
That night, as our fantastic hosts put on the only English-speaking channel they had available, which was NHK, from Japan. While John graded papers, Yon and I watched with fascination while in food-comas as they transitioned seamlessly between coverage of the election happening that night and the most boring cooking show I had ever seen. We returned to Paron the next morning so John could try to grade the last of his papers, but it would not be long before we returned to the mountain for one of the coolest summits I have ever stood on.