My family in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta Travel Blog› entry 10 of 23 › view all entries
A trip to Yogyakarta was spontaneously put in place after discovering it is where most schools are at. A 9 hr gruelling trip on business class costing IDR 110,000 was a circus. Do not expect a fancy toilet but do expect non stop vendors throwing things at you, poking or stopping at your isle to convince you to buy their wares. The train being less crowded, I snobbishly had the whole seat to myself and put on my IPOD and absorbed myself with the window view. I love rice fields and you will definitely have your fill if you take this mode of transport, I however started to get a bit tired of it by the time I got to Yogya. Close to 9 hrs of rice fields is not as fascinating as when the trip starts I guess.
Yogyakarta is termed as the 'student' city. The prices of commodities attest to this. I have been able to cut down a lot on my personal expenses.
It has been an incredible weekend. my host's from CS have been terribly accomodating and I have never been spoiled as much. As it is my first time to be up close with a Muslim family again I did not know what to expect.
The place appears to be more laid back than Bandung, more traditional in a sense. And predominantly filled with mosques and Muslims.
I have found a family with my hosts. Ayu opened her humble abode to me which she is sharing with her brother and sister in law.
All of the locals seem to have their own motorbikes and makes everyone and everything so accessible.
It was after all an amazing experience to be at the back of a bike of a Muslim girl almost all the time.
A late afternoon lunch was in place and we busied ourselves with the market street of Malioboro. I fell in love with the store of Mirota. It is a 3 storey building that has almost eveything you need, from RTW, to house decor, tons of wayang puppets, and a secluded cheap resto at the top.
My first expression was as I grabbed hold of accessories, after automatically converting it to peso with my phone was 'It's so cheap!!!' This was also where I got fascinated watching a batik painting up close.
We met up for dinner with Andri, another CS I was supposed to initially stay with. A bit formal but nonetheless interesting, I did not fancy the food too much but it was supposed to be good local food, a concoction of nasi, chicken and tempe.
I find out that I am the first Filipino CS/traveller they have ever met, what an honor.
Discovery for the day: Less babi (pig) and more ayam (chicken) in Indonesia, obviously due to the predominant religion. Silly of me.
Sunday was a day out with both Andri and Ayu. We were joined by Chilok and her friend at the Sultan's palace together with throngs of tourists. It was here I learned that Yogya is the only independent region in Indo. Having their own sultan until now which title he holds of course until he dies and turns it over to family.
A lot of the items they have used for sports, hobbies, etc. are kept here. Giant life sized paintings of the individual members of the family are also present. The artist apparently used a technique to make the eyeballs appear like they are following you around the room. This I obligingly tried out and felt the artist did indeed do well.
Over an hour of watching the traditional Javanese dance which was mainly slow with old singers and musical instruments, the same as our 'kulintang' or bronze baby gongs in xylophone fashion, was interesting only for a bit of time.
All 3 of us embarked on the secret entrance to Taman Sari to skip the entrance fee haha. This is where you are faced with the enormous old pools used by the sultan for viewing his wives to select which one he would want to have in his private pool, hmm.
An exit out to what Lonely planet says as the 'bird market' is actually an animal market. You have everything under the sun being sold here, from rabbits that are all out of the cage but amazingly too lazy to move or jump with the heat, multicolored chicks (spray painted cruelly), little monkey looking animals, mice, and Andri's weak spot, gheckos!!! Now he was warming up and letting a bit loose with how he dealt with us. I had a blast shoving him to the ghecko cages.
Ayu brought us to the secret resto at the top of Mirota for lunch and had a cheap, enjoyable lunch, cross legged on huts viewing parts of the city. The cultural exchange kept us all going.
Prambanan temples was next on the list with just Ayu and me. Here I got goosebumps seeing the ruins and details of those that remained intact. I never imagined myself ever seeing this. It was also fun passing off as a local and getting the way lower rate for the entrance.
Another CS, Fian joined us for dinner at Warung Steak where I enjoyed yet another cheap dinner of sirloin steak (which just tasted and looked like our local porkchop), and choclat shake (tasting like Milo). This was a turning point as this is where I finally got the common illness of the locals: diarrhea.
Since Ayu was busy the next day I went to Borobodur without the absence of concern from her family, by myself.
Borobudur was the bigger version of Prambanan and is known as a world heritage site. With all the ruckus about it I was terribly excited to see it. I passed off as a local at the ticket counter but at the entrance the locals unfortunately started talking to me in Bahasa and I was lost. I felt like a tourist being escorted at Immigration. I was brought to the bule's ticket counter where I got charged 10x the locals price, talk about highway robbery! This left me sulking the entire time I was touring the temple, and I did not bother taking the welcome drink as I stalked out towards the path.
The temple is impressive with all it's details, I did not even bother getting a guide as you are given a detailed brochure by the information center and the drawing interpretations are at the museums at the park.
My diarrhea did not help at all, coupled with the noon heat of the sun. I was trying my best to enjoy eavesdropping on the other tour guides notes with other travellers, and watch the other tourists distort themselves trying to reach for the Buddha inside the lamp looking structures to get good luck. When all I really wanted to do was run off to the nearest toilet. A quick chat with an Italian couple panting and deliberating if they wanted to walk all the way up kept me distracted, so did the Dutch and Malaysian traveller I bumped into at the bus.
Going home was more eventful, the bus I got on dropped us at a different stop, plus the 2 min switch of buses as our first bus' tire busted flat. The stop was way far out of the North area where Ayu lived. And I had an hour to bear and enjoy the center of Jakarta in the turtle paced Trans Jogja. By the time Ayu picked me up at the Jogja International Hospital I was close to running to the nearest house to beg the use of their toilet.
Dinner was memorable. I felt like a little sister going on a date as Ayu's brother went out to meet who was picking me up, haha. Andri's guy's motorbike was a bit more difficult to hitch up on with my skirt, but the constant rides have already made me more confident about this feat.
I got a tour of the house I could have stayed in if I went ahead with surfing his couch, together with Mei, a Malaysian backpacker, and Anthony, a tour guide from the small but apparently beautiful island of Flores. It was a huge old style house that belonged to his father. Had 8 other rooms fully rented out to students and the rest of the huge space was his.
After this Andri took us to a warung across a huge park where the 2 known Banyan trees were and ate the usual ayam's and gorengs .
The highlight was walking through the 2 Banyan trees which are supposedly for good luck. Only I got the best performance and went through the middle at the 2nd try, woohoo!!! Great auditory skills as I just followed the sound of all the other travellers flocking at the area. Andri boasted off his skills as having supposedly mastered this.
A rainy ride on the Becak (if I spelled it correctly) which is their local version of the pedicab going home and a long, meaty discussion on various topics kept me, Andri and Mei busy till close to midnight as we waited out the rain so Andri could take me back home.
My last day was uneventful as I stayed lazy at Ayu's place and at the net. Tony and Mei did meet up with me after cendol with Ayu, and they kept me company till I boarded the train. This was after 30 min of struggling phone calls, Bahasa, and sense of direction.
I felt nostalgic as I boarded the night train. I resorted to the business instead of the economy class for the peace of mind of my family in Yogyakarta. I was fortunately able to sleep in various positions on the high backed seats.