Dusk in west Bali, dawn in east Java

Trip Start Jan 14, 2012
1
6
14
Trip End Feb 05, 2012


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Where I stayed
Losmen Citra Anda

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why is this place sometimes spelled Jogja and sometimes Yogya? At least I know how to say it. Jogja was great, and unexpected. And cheap compared to Bali! A spontaneous 3-day adventure (more like 5-day if you count the two overnight bus rides!) I'm just going to reiterate how awesome that bus ride was through east Java: acres of farmland dotted with trees and shrouded in mist, with distant volcanoes peering through the clouds at times. Incredibly eerie. Everything was washed in fuzzy, muted blue-grey tones and landscape appeared so vast and otherworldly.

Ok, here I am in Jogja. I keep thinking, how on earth did I get here?! I found a cheap losmen, wandered around, found a map (and stopped feeling so lost and freaked out by being in a city with no corresponding guidebook). It's hot here! I mean HOT. The bus ride was long and arduous. It sure feels different from Bali here in Java. Different surroundings, different people, different vibe overall.  Did I mention hot as hell? Did I mention that I lost a pair of pants in the taxi on the way from the bus depot to the city? Now that was random.

Jogja turned out better than I'd expected. Getting to see Borobudur, Prambanan and Sewu was incredible; I gawked at them for hours. They deserve separate posts entirely. Saw a gamelan/wayang kulit performance at a museum. Javanese gamelan and wayang kulit (shadow puppet plays) are distinct from the Balinese versions; it was neat to get to see each island's version of both.

On the last day I met a dude from Australia and we wandered around the city together checking out the sights: a market, an old water palace, and the sultan's residence (Kraton). Yeah, Jogja has a sultan. Fancy! The residence wasn't amazing, but it was interesting. I can't say it was really a highlight, and it seemed to be more of an attraction for domestic tourists. But that makes two fellow travelers I've met so far. I didn't realize how fun it can be to travel solo and run into other solo travelers! Mental note: must do this more often.

Before long I was back on another looong bus ride back to Bali. People with money, of course, take the one-hour flight back to Denpasar. Then there's the people with no money but plenty of time. Think slow, and cheap. The perk is that so much more can be seen that way. More landscape, more small villages that would otherwise be overlooked.

Next time, I'm going to Sumatra.
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