moonwire

yogyakarta

Posted in borobudur, indonesia, java, solo, yogyakarta by moonwire on July 20, 2009

I learnt another thing, going to Yogyakarta from Kuala Lumpur. Check your departure times. For whatever reason, I was convinced my flight left at 5 pm. Well, as it happened, I tried to print out my e-ticket at my hostel (something I never do) and then all of a sudden I realised my flight was at 3 and I would have to be at the airport in half an hour.

I quickly grabbed my bag, ran to the train station. Got the train to KL Sentral, got off, bought a ticket to the airport, got off, got the bus to LCC Terminal. I got there at around 2 pm. Line ups at immigration (of course) and honestly, I was pissing myself if I was going to make that flight. I arrived at the gate, just around boarding time. Then it was announced the flight had a two hour delay. Well, it was just enough to catch my breath and buy a sandwich and a drink. The flight itself was good. I arrived at my hotel, the Ministry of Coffee in Prawirotaman, at around 8 pm and when I was taken to my room, I was one happy camper. My room is simply amazing. It is very nicely decorated. It’s got a big bathroom with a tub and a fantastic shower and the best is that I have a private patio with a fish pond in front of it. The staff here is fantastic and so is the breakfast. Yes, it was more than I wanted to spend, but for 35 USD a night this is really something very special.

The first morning however, it wasn’t so great. I walked around the area and there wasn’t really much going on. It was also very hot and the air here was (is) very bad. I took it easy for the rest of the day, and at night I met up with Paul, the dutch guy I had met in Lovina already. We spent the next few days doing a few things as well as chilling out and enjoying some of the most incredible food at Via Via cafe down the street.

On Friday we went to Solo, if only to experience being on a train that locals use. The train ride was only about an hour. When we got out of the station, there was a local market and it was amazing. It was really run down and just looking at the flies buzzing around (and on) the meat took away any sense of wanting to eat something there, but the people were so curious and so friendly. They all wanted their picture taken and someone even asked if it was free to get their picture taken! It was such a different experience than I had expected. I had read that Solo was one of the least westernized and most conservative towns in Java. I certainly didn’t expect such a warm welcome. Just great. Even better, there were no tourists at all.

On Saturday we went to Malioboro street. Incredibly busy. Lots of food stalls (once again, no appetite), batik shops and stalls with just crap. It was lovely walking around there for a bit, but very tiring at the same time. So much going on. So busy and noisy. So much heat and smog.

On Sunday we went to the Borobudur. What a buddhist theme park it was. Bus loads of tourists, luckily mostly Indonesians, but it was hard to enjoy it for what it was with so many people. I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t have to go back there ever again.

Then on Monday morning, we visited the Kraton, the Sultan of Yogyakarta’s palace. Kind of the same story. It’s nice to see, but I’m done with that kind of stuff rather quickly. I mostly enjoy the things around it, such as the people working there. Just observing what they do (or don’t, for that matter).

The funniest thing though was sitting in a becak, which is a bicycle with 2 (very small) seats in front. You get harassed to take one every other second here in Yogya. Well, after we visited the palace, we just wanted to sit down in the shade and have a ciggie. We paid a becak driver and sat down. He asked us where to take us. We said ‘nowhere and just rested in the becak, then we got out and continued our walk.

Yogyakarta was a lot of fun. There’s not all that many points of interest to me here, but just observing the local people’s lives is very interesting. This is the first time I’ve ever been to a so-called developing country’s big city. I’ve seen some things that make me feel really blessed for the life I have. My time here was just perfect;  a nice mixture of seeing stuff and just relaxing, enjoying the feel of the city, the good food and the company. Off to Jakarta tomorrow morning. I’ll be taking the train. It will be a 9 hour ride (at least). This could be interesting…

A ‘becak’ in Yogyakarta. There’s about 20 on every corner of every street and just as many inbetween.

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