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Published: October 13th 2013
We fly straight to Yogyakarta, from what Lonely Planet tells me it is the main touristy spot in Java. We are not really bothered about too many beaches at moment knowing that there will be plenty of them on our trip. There is very different vibe to the city in comparison to the cities in Bali. Java is a Muslim country and this has a big effect on the general appearance and also my general appearance, no scantily clad dresses or shorts that show my butt cheeks anymore J I shall be conservative in order to fit in! They pray a few times a day through loud speakers, the first one being at about 5am and you can hear them everywhere. It’s pretty annoying.
Our hostel is lovely, another homestay and again in a small tropical style garden. We decide to walk to the palace (the main attraction in town) as it doesn’t look too far on the map. We were wrong; it’s a good 45 minute walk in a hot, humid and polluted city. Realising that it was closed for Ramadan when we got there we take a walk to the main street through a bustling market. After some lunch we catch a cyclo back to the hostel. A cyclo is a Javanese man on a bike with 2 seats on the front and they are all over the city. Tourists and locals alike use them as a cheap form of transport. The men doing this must be at the peak of physical fitness as it does not look easy! Especially during Ramadan when they are not allowed to eat or drink all day. I really enjoy the journey; it is a great way to see the city. You are in the middle of the crazy traffic, with scooters carrying 3 or more people or being driven by 10 year olds zooming and weaving past you.
The hostel provides afternoon tea, which consists of fragrant tea with sugar (yummy) and some kind of tofu with vegetables that are battered and fried (also yummy) and fried cassava which is a root vegetable that a lot of their crisps are made of. The breakfast is traditional Javanese with rice and two curries made with tofu and a boiled egg that was a blacky colour which is not really the colour I like my eggs to wear, maybe black is the new white for eggs.
We have to stay in Yogy for a week in order to extend our Indonesian visa. The main reason for our trip to Java was to see Borobudur and Prambanam. We book a sunrise tour to see the temples for the next day and I talk James into some shopping. There is a huge shop called Mirota Batik which we head to and I buy lots of colourful clothes which included a pair of patchwork dungarees. You know the kind of stuff you can’t get away with in the UK or when anyone knows you. Side note: I am in love with the baggy alibaba trousers they are awesome, comfy and flattering, I do not know how I have lived my life without them so far. It’s possible they may not seem so great in the miserable British weather but I still want to buy them for all my friends in some ditch attempt to make them acceptable in England. Full steam ahead on baggy trouser plan!
The trip to Borobudur sets off at 4 am; we sleepily get into a van which fills with people. We arrive at the viewing platform in time for sunrise (which we have to pay extra for, humph) it’s cloudy and hazy so we see no sun at all and no temple so head off to the temple itself. Our group pays for a guide (as apparently our driver does nothing) and he tells us great Buddhist and Hindu stories. Explaining that Java is a peaceful place where their religions all intertwine and they are respectful of each other. The temple itself is amazing, easily the best I have seen. It is also nice and quiet so we get to appreciate it properly.
The next stop is Prambanam which is impressive but nothing compared to Borobudur. One of our group gets a group of Javanese students practising their English to be our tour guides; they are very good and try hard to explain the history behind each building.
After researching a few other tours up volcanoes but given that we have just climbed Mount Batur we decide against them and save our money (also sooo lazy). We are interested in doing Krakatoa when we reach Jakarta.
We take a train to Jakarta which is 7 hours but through some beautiful scenery. We do not plan to stay in Jakarta long, it is not a nice city. We do our research for Krakatoa and it turns out it is far too expensive a trip so we book our flights to Sumatera.
My arms are getting tired from all this flying…
P.S. I am aware I have said “we” a lot but there is two of us and I feel like lazy writing today.
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