Tips: 1. You can definitely bargain at markets in Indonesia. Since dpr’s clearly a foreigner, this didn’t work to her advantage, but she generally managed to talk them down. 2. We tried Pizza Hut one night just to see how it differed from our North American experience. 3. We had ants in some of our hotel rooms which isn’t a big deal for us, and it is the tropics after all, but just be prepared. 4. There is an area in Jogja that has a number of jewellery shops selling 92.5% silver and semi-precious stone jewellery. You can bargain at these stores and get a great deal on all kinds of goods. 5. You might want to bring some Imodium just in case….
March 12, 2010: Indonesia Diaries, Part 2
I hope you’re having a good week – we’ve been having a very good time way over here on the other side of the world. We’re now in central Java, staying in Jogjakarta – we arrived yesterday from Jakarta. On our last day in Jakarta, d2, Pop, and I started the day by visiting a market with one of Tante’s kitchen staff – a very interesting experience to say the least. They sold anything and everything in this market – from textiles to shoes to underwear, to fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. It was really crowded with goods and despite the heat and humidity, it wasn’t smelly. Let’s just say that the beef and chicken areas were interesting and leave it at that :o) There are a couple of pictures here for you. We took some fun taxis back from the market called bajaj – which are three-wheeled little cars – see the picture of Pop and I with the bajaj. In the afternoon we went shopping again to get me a media card for my phone and we also hit up a market for some dvds and cds (60 – 70 cents a piece).
And yesterday we arrived after a one hour flight in Jogjakarta. This city is a lot smaller than Jakarta and is east from Jakarta on the island of Java towards Bali. First we checked in to our little hotel which we found thanks to Tripadvisor. It’s called Rumah Palagan and there are only about 20 rooms here on lovely grounds that include an extremely refreshing pool – a double room is around $30/night. I didn’t think I would be able to tell the difference heat-wise between really hot and really really hot, but it’s definitely really really hot here. So the pool is a good thing! We checked in, went for a swim, and then jumped in a cab to downtown Jogja as it’s called. My Lonely Planet guide told us of a restaurant called New Superman, so we went there and all had super tasty food (chicken sate for me!) for around $12 for us all. Back to the hotel to call it a night, since we got up at 2.45 am today so that we could see the sunrise at Borobudur – a Buddhist temple that was built in the 800s (see attached pics). This was AMAZING (sorry, I’m running out of adjectives, so these simple ones will have to do). First of all we drove for about 45 minutes to get to there – we went through all kinds of small towns, including some that had crowded markets at 4 am!! We got to a hotel right near Borobudur that arranges sunrise tours, and they guided us up the temple. Then we sat facing east and waited for the sun to come up amidst all kinds of birds and crickets chirping and prayer broadcasts. The sunrise was spectacular, and after we soaked it in, we walked around each level of the temple, and had some deep fried bananas, coffee, tea, and a muffin at the hotel where we started. It was not even 8 am when we finished, and then scooted off to another much smaller temple nearby. I’ve attached a picture of me under a huge banyan tree here – if you look carefully you can barely see me. We bargained and bought a few things in the market there, and then went off for another hour’s drive to a volcano called Merapi. This volcano is still active, but luckily not today :o) (*NOTE: This volcano did erupt again in 2010 – just over 7 months after we visited. The eruption and toxic fumes killed 353 people.) We actually got to walk on an old lava flow here today – see the picture – which was pretty cool because it just looked like a rock slide had come down the mountain – it was just this path of rock and silt, and you could see some houses that had been in its path. On our way back from here we stopped at a restaurant for lunch that was set on stilts over some goldfish ponds and near rice paddies. Back to Jogja where we dropped off Pop at the hotel and continued on to the famed silver markets. I found a couple of nice rings, Mom loaded up on some goods, and back to the hotel for a swim. Tonight’s meal was….Pizza Hut. There was hot sauce on every table, and some interesting menu items :o).
Now we’re pooped and off to bed. Like I said, I’m really enjoying things here and trying to soak it all in. One thing that really strikes me is how there’s both really developed areas and really developing areas mixed altogether here. If you are well enough off, you can choose to live a very ‘western’ lifestyle for lack of a better descriptor. On the other hand, there are lots of people who barely get by like we witnessed in the market in Jakarta, and like we also saw everyday on the streets in Jakarta. Our driver today and his wife have university educations, but he can’t find a job in his field so he hires out his driving services. I guess seeing all of these things really makes me appreciate the life I have and how fortunate we all are. Anyway, that’s my revelation for today’s email message…
Take it easy! Lots of love,
dpr and d2