Tips: 1. The Indonesian heat is hard to describe – bring a hat and always carry water with you. 2. The tourist activities that we paid for were very cheap – a few dollars at most – some charged more for foreigners and some charged extra to bring cameras.
March 15, 2010: Indonesia Diaries, Part 3
Did you have a good weekend or what? Ready for another update?
Since my last email, we’ve moved on to Bali…more on that in a bit. First, the rest of our time in Jogjakarta…on Friday, Mom and Pop went off with the car and driver to visit one of Pop’s cousins who lives in a town about an hour away. d2 and I got dropped off first in the middle of the city at an area called the Kraton. This is where the Sultan lives and it was basically like a mini-Forbidden City like in Beijing. Most of what’s open to the public is some artifacts that belonged to a Sultan who was once the VP of Indonesia, and at the very beginning there was a ‘puppet’ show along with live music – see the attached picture. We weren’t terribly impressed by the Kraton, so from there we walked to the Bird Market. This market is full of more than just birds – we saw HUGE snakes, squirrels, lizards, a mongoose, rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, bats, turtles, fish, and the worst was all of the live animal food – crickets, lavae, maggots, all crawling around in baskets that looked like large frisbees. I’m getting itchy just remembering it. And it went on and on in a deep alleyway, which I tried to quickly exit after seeing all of this. From here we walked to a place called Taman Sari, which was built in the mid 1700s as a bathing area for the Sultan, by a Portugese architect – definitely European looking, but very rundown. It was SWELTERING in the city, and we wanted to grab some lunch from a restaurant suggested in my Lonely Planet guide, so we grabbed a becak (i.e. a bicycle rickshaw – pronounced be-chuk) and enjoyed whatever breeze we could to the restaurant area. Just to put things in to perspective – we were taken about 2 km for $2. We actually bargained him down to $1.50 which was high anyway according to my guide book, but then we figured what’s 50 cents to us and gave him his very well-earned $2. We had an amazing meal – I had my first salad in awhile (guaranteed in the menu to be washed with boiled water when being prepared!!) and d2 had chicken sate, then we topped it off with a litre of water, a milkshake, some orange juice, and panfried banana with ice cream and honey (see pic – YUM). We also toured a batik making factory here – batik is the traditional patterned fabric from Indo – they either hand draw the patterns and wax and dye them like Easter eggs or press them with stamps like in the picture attached. We had a dip in the pool that afternoon and then met Mom and Pop for dinner at a beautiful restaurant that had many terraces in the open. It was all very lovely until the praying came on the loud speaker extremely close to the restaurant – think loudness of a concert except in prayer :o) I’ve also attached a pic of our hotel in Jogja here – what a great little place.
Yesterday we made our way to Bali – it was an hour by plane. We spent our first night at Mom’s cousin’s vacation villa – wow! – I’ll send pics in the next email. It’s an open concept home – the bathrooms are open to the outside and lastnight I showered under the stars – too cool. Let’s just say that we could definitely not afford to stay there without connections!! We went to a Balinese dance held outdoors that’s called the Kecak (pronounced ke-chuk) dance that tells a traditional story. It was in a spectacular cliff-setting along the ocean, next to a temple and there were lots and lots of naughty monkeys there. They enjoyed taking tourists’ bags and glasses (we saw one snatch a guy’s glasses right off his head and run away!!). The dance was really interesting, and the sunset was also amazing there. This morning we started things off with a run on the beach and dip in the pool at the villa. Then we made our way to another resort in the centre of Bali called Ubud. Too many pics for this email, so I’ll send again on Wednesday before we leave the resort.
Hope you enjoy the pics – this is a crazy amazing trip! I’m not sure my emails do it justice.
lots of love,
dpr and d2