The Way Home

© Budi N.D. Dharmawan

© Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Yesterday, 14 May 2011, I went to document water purifying procession from Jumprit spring in Temanggung to Mendut temple in Magelang, Central Java, ahead of Vessak ceremony, which will be on 17 May 2011. In the long-term consequences of the last Merapi eruption in November 2010, more than a dozen bridges had collapsed due to the mud flow from the volcano. Some are now being rebuilt, but they already caused terrible traffic jam, because those bridges used to serve the busy route from Yogyakarta to Magelang vice versa.

I was stuck on the way home from Mendut to Yogyakarta. So I went around to look for an alternative route. Some locals suggested me a route that would take straight east-ward to Muntilan without passing the traffic jam, so I could continue head east to Yogyakarta smoothly. It turned out that the route they suggested was across a once narrow river but it got wider due to the mud flow. The bridge over the river had collapsed too—locals have built this temporary bamboo bridge though. So my options to go home were (1) through a traffic jam which could take hours or (2) over a bamboo bridge which could collapse anytime…. Holly cow!

Well, I guess I’m not that heavy—so I took the second option….


I went back to Mendut, Magelang today to shoot the fire purifying procession. It rained heavily all the way from Yogyakarta to Magelang, even flooding at some points, causing more mud flows. And guess what, the bridge I passed yesterday, the Srowol bamboo bridge, got carried away by the mud flow. So tonight I went back through the main road, through more than 2 km of traffic jam. Oh boy….


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