"I Need More Allowance - yo di lay hee ho"
Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
83Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Tiffa Art Shop & Losemen
We walk a lot in South East Asia and frequently burst out with random songs (I've made up a cute one about how Shaan is my jalebi [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalebi] baby.)
Shaan began singing from "Doug" and I said to myself "I never would have expected to be a 26 year old, walking around this artsy city in Indonesia with a future husband, who is singing a retro song from the cartoon 'Doug.'"
Come to think of it, more allowance wouldn't hurt
We got into Yogyakarta ("jog-jagarta"), aka Yogya, after an 8 hour train on Sunday. On the train we got to see many rice paddies, scenic mountains, and got to use a bathroom on the train which emptied out onto the train tracks.
Yogya is considered the heart of Javanese culture and the most visited city on Java. We got off the train without a guest house booking and unfortunately many of the places we wanted, and visited, were full to capacity.
We found one place -- Karunia -- which was adequate but had a frightful bathroom, so we left after one scary night there. We spent our other nights in Tiffa Art Shop & Losmen. It is an art shop on the first floor and a guest house (aka 'losmen') upstairs.
Wonderful restaurants we've visited in Yogya: Via Via, Bedhot Resto, FM Cafe, & Gading (and Pizza Hut)
We've tried riding -- and negotiating with the drivers of -- transportation called becaks
One of our best nights here was when we happened on Lucifer, a neighborhood bar which played live music. There was a 7 person band, all Asian, who covered musical groups including Lady Gaga, Sean Kingston, U2, Jason Mraz, Queen, Craig David, 4 Non Blondes, and Michael Jackson. Man, they were great!
While there we also tried local beers - Bintang and Bali Hai.
Another fun night was when we went to go see the Ramayama Ballet at a wonderful outdoor theater, set with a backdrop of the famous and very old Prambanan Hindu temple. The ballet featured 150-200 Indonesian dancers/actors in authentic old school costumes (lots of monkeys). The story tells the story of Rama and Shinta. Our favorite part were when Hanuman, the White Monkey, actually physically lights the stage on fire. SO cool!
New foods in Yogya: avocado milkshake (just what it sounds like), as kopyar (iced drink with jelly), gado gado (boiled vegetables with a peanut and chili sauce), an Indonesian salad (with lemon garlic dressing), & oseng-oseng (green beans, chilies, tempeh and tofu, served with white rice)
We also began our Malaria medicine in Yogya because we're heading to some exciting (but semi-malarial) places very soon!
We are flying to Kalimantan, the Indonesian province which makes up 2/3 of the island of Borneo. We are going to take a 3-day houseboat tour through a river in Tanjung Puting National Park, and we are going to look at orangutans who live in that forest!
Lonely Planet describes Kalimantan: "Kalimantan offers great rewards for visitors who make the often-substantial effort to lift its veils."
Substantial, no kidding. We wanted to be at Borobudor temple right now, but instead we're delayed in Yogya due to transportation issues. See below.
1. We spent a few hours on Monday trying to research flights and details of this Tanjung Puting National Park riverboat expedition. There aren't a lot of helpful websites with accurate information.
2. We spent a few hours on Tuesday working with a travel agent, trying to arrange airfare. He couldn't eventually give us the tickets, though, because his office isn't one which is connected to KalStar, the obscure airline which flies between our two destinations in Kalimantan
3. We spent a few hours today, Wednesday, trying to find the KalStar office in Yogya. Even though it has an address, it's only "Jalan Solo KM 8" -- which is translated as "Solo Street, 8 kilometers outside of Yogyakarta." But WHERE in that 8th kilometer? Well, you just have to search ;)
We found the office and there was one dude who does work with cargo, not aviation. He didn't speak English but we figured out that he wanted us to come back tomorrow to buy the tickets. Instead, we went to the Galleria mall, which we heard has one travel agent (in the basement, in the parking garage, actually) which is affiliated with KalStar. We spent an hour with her trying to figure out proper flights despite language barriers, but we finally got it all worked out and paid.
One problem-- they didn't actually have enough of official paper from KalStar to print out the tickets. Womp-womp.
We have to return once again tomorrow (taking yet another taxi ride) to pick up our tickets from Surabaya to Banjarmasin (Lion Air) and then Banjarmasin to Pangkalanbun (KalStar), as well as return flights.
We joked that we're working very hard to lift the veil (hijab) of Borneo-- hopefully it's all worth it in the end!