Climbing Mount Kerinci (part 2)

We arrived at the village of Kersik Tuo around 8 hours after leaving Padang. This, however, included a stop-off for lunch at a particularly dodgy Padang restaurant, which was as gloomy as a cave, and served us a very limited range of uninspiring dishes and, most disappointingly of all, no rendang! Arggg!!!

Climbing Mount Kerinci was certainly a slog, but not as difficult as Semeru (Indonesia’s third highest volcano), or I have been told, Rinjani (Indonesia’s second highest volcano). Whilst these two volcanoes have soul-destroying scree that has to be trudged through on the summit approach, this is not a problem at Kerinci, where the ground is stonier and therefore much firmer.

Trash, alas, was everywhere on the mountain. But this is what happens when a country is considered by its citizens to be an enormous rubbish dump. One person in our group said there were three ways (using an institutional/ formulaic type approach) to address the problem, namely: 1) providing ways for people to dump their rubbish (i.e. bins), 2) imposing sanctions (i.e. fines), and/or 3) providing education to change people’s behavior and prevent littering.

In reality, though, such an approach is unlikely to work in my opinion. Instead, far more direct and aggressive action needs to be taken. Why not, for example, simply trash the homes of the idiotic litterers to really ram the message home? Or ban plastic packaging outright – especially plastic drink bottles?

Having talked rubbish for a while (quite literally in our case), the topic of conversation then switched to the world’s most expensive coffee, kopi luwak, much of which is produced in Sumatra. Most of us had never tried it and the few who had said it was nothing special. If you aren’t aware, this coffee is especially expensive because of its unique and lengthy production process: it comes from the defecation of partly-digested coffee beans/cherries eaten by civet cats.

This, of course, raises the unpalatable question (hahaha) of how the coffee came into being in the first place. After all, who in their right mind would ever think of the idea of using this shit to make coffee? And why? Originally, it should be noted that the defecated beans came from wild civets but nowadays they come from civets which are cruelly caged up and served a diet of coffee cherries – all the more reason, I suggest, not to buy the stuff besides its very high selling price.

Reaching the peak of Indonesia’s highest volcano called for a moment of quiet reflection. Not just because we had made it but because there was nothing to see! Visibility was only a matter of meters as the dreaded Sumatran clouds had come in and vanquished what-would-be incredibly expansive views, leaving behind just a small and intimate area at the volcano’s peak. But sometimes life is like that. We may have had shitty views at the summit but, hey, at least we got there (thanks God and thanks bus driver). And, in the end, that is all that really matters.

Notes: Indonesia’s highest volcanoes (above 3,000m)
Mount Kerinci 3,805m Sumatra
Mount Rinjani 3,726m Lombok
Mount Semeru 3,676m East Java
Mount Slamet 3,428m West Java
Mount Sumbing 3,371m Central Java
Arjuno-Welirang 3,339m East Java
Raung 3,332m East Java
Mount Lawu 3,265m East Java
Mount Dempo 3,173m Sumatra
Mount Merbabu 3,145m Central Java
Mount Sundoro 3,136m Central Java
Mount Cereme 3,078m West Java
Mount Agung 3,031m  Bali


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