From Jakarta to Yogyakarta
Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
221Trip End Jul 20, 2014
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After saying goodbye to all the neighboors and having our last lunch at Marie's place, we went off to Bogor, to spend 1 hour driving through the botanical garden and then headed back to Jakarta to have our last dinner together, which was batak food. Then, off to the train station, where Lina tried to convince me I should get a bisnis train ticket for 100.000 rupiah. But I figured I can have 2 nights at a hostel plus the train ticket if I only take economi and pay 36.000. So Tiur found a woman and her husband to whom she handed me over for personal protection. This train ride was an experience that I only need to experience once. Smoking in the entire train, smelly, dirty toilets (I made sure I went before and did not drink anything during the next 9 hours). For the entire time, retail and food sellers came wandering through the train trying to sell everything from socks to belts to books and toys. Well, my bladder was bursting when we finally got to Yogya. After taking care of this situation, the woman was kind enough to take me and my big backpack on her motorcycle and drop me off close to Hotel Anda where I am staying
I set off and explored the town and met Danny, who works in the local museum and therefore has a wealth of information. Before meeting him, I went to the government arts center where students produce and sell batik, everything from 16000 - 4mill. rupiahs. Having Danny as my personal guide proofed very useful as he took me to the museum in the afternoon and showed me the collection of leather puppets or wayan kulit and explained how they are manufactures (from buffalo skin, superbly stenciled and then painted). Visitors can only buy one puppet and all personal information is recorded. As every puppet has a story, the visitor will receive the story of the puppet in the mail at a later time. There is also some kind of guarantee that the puppets will not break. Prices for puppets range from 400.000 to over 4mill. depending on size and art work. Later in the evening, I went to see a wayang kulit performance at the museum. This 2 hour event was wonderful; I always wanted to see a Javanese puppet performance which comes complete with an orchestra, singers and the puppet master who tells the story and moves the puppets
The next day I went to Solo for the day and wished I would have left at 7 instead of 10. All the museums and kratons were either closed or closing by the time I got to them. I enjoyed walking around the city, especially wandering around the labyrinth like villages in town. I like Solo and the people, they seem to be more laid back and softer, not as pushy and obnoxious as I had experienced in all the other places. Its easy to smile here and strike up conversations with people, using hands and feet and dictionary. I am not sure what it is young men see in me. I seem to attract especially 20 somethings who love to practice their English and then want me to show around town and spend time with them. The second or third questions is usually about my marital status and if I am travelling alone. To save me from any hassles, I invented a boyfriend/husband story modeled on my friend Mika who is from Europe and works in Finnland. So, I tell people that my boyfriend/husband has to work in Malaysia and that I don't so I took the time to travel for 2 months across Indonesia. It works and can keep the guys off my back. I also watched devoted Moslems fulfilling their 5 times a day prayer obligations during work. The women put on their white skirt and head cover, roll out a small carpet and pray wherever they are, store, restaurant or other public place. I am starting to like Indonesia.