Jogja, Days 3 & 4: ‘You got yourself a stew, baby!’

Sunday, 9-30-2012

Look, there’s a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to finger a bottle, ok!?

There is only one logical choice for breakfast after last nite’s pizza binge and that of course is an all-you-can eat, western style buffet, which we found at a fancier hotel just across the way.  Though I miss having a regular dose of pizza, I miss American style breakfasts even more; I’m a HUGE breakfast man.  Biscuits n’ gravy and eggs benedict are a couple of my favorites.  Unfortunately, neither of these comfort items were available, but I was still enthused.  My friends and I were able to eat made to order, real omelets, real toast, real sausage, lots of real fruit/juice and real deal coffee with real milk and when we were done, we were REAL stuffed!

After feasting we decided to dabble in a little cultural activity and took a becak (a kind of

Ellen making a ‘Buddha Call.’ It was brutally hot outside!

bicycle rickshaw that always seems to be maned my someone way past their prime) to a Batik art gallery – you can not escape these things! – where we were given a little background about the batik making process.  It really is pretty amazing how the artist work.  I’ll spare you the step by step process, mostly because I don’t remember it, but suffice it to say that by the end of the presentation, we had enough batik banter to hold us over for a while, except for Ms. Ellen that is, who was determined to find that all illusive piece.

After batik hunting we hit the mall

Another moment of tranquility.

on the landmark Malioboro street. Why were we wasting time in a modern shopping mall in middle of Jogja, the cultural heart of Indonesia?  Pure and simple, we wanted some of that A.C. and in the mall, we got it full blast!  On the second floor, we found a perfect spot to relax.  Their were cushy couches, super cold, ice-cream coffees and plenty of angles to people watch.  It was the right place to take a break while Elle continued on her batik mission.

You needn’t ever worry about finding a kindling fire, even in the middle of the city there is burning trash.

After the mall we attempted to hit the palace, but, surprise surprise, it was closed…really.  We then made our way over to Temansari, which served as a private bathhouse for the Sultan and his mistresses back in the good ol’ days.  Sadly, this too was closed…really!  We vowed to come back in the morning though and have a look see.  There wasn’t much to do at this point but head back to our place for a shower and go have some chocolate cake and coffee (eating made up a large portion of activities).  After that, a cold beer was in order (doesn’t sound great after coffee and cake, but I assure you, it was).  Ellen would later join us for dinner at the same restaurant we dined at the first nite.  It was just as good, maybe even better this time around.  While waiting for our food to come out we were serenaded by a few Indonesian musicians who played a few American songs really well, one of which, was ‘West Virginia.’  And we were all happy.  And it was a nice cap to a great day.   

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Goodbye comfort!

Ok, pinch me again, I think I might be having a nitemare!?  That’s right, all good trips, even those to Jogja, must come to an end.  Ellen was the first to go due to transportation issues.  The boys and I didn’t get going until 4pm.  Before that though, we got another crack at that Temansari place.  Second times the charm?  We were in like Flyn this time around and despite the fact that there wasn’t a mistress to be found, I caught a second wind.  Temansari reminded me of the Greece I have never visited and know nothing about.

My second wind didn’t last long and I was soon feeling a lot like the former Sultan, who has been dead for some time now.  There was still one last job to take care of though and that job involved getting in one more pizza pie before the long ride home.  In fact, that WAS the job.  We were able get that pizza and that meant we could go home in peace.  Getting back to our sites was the biggest adventure of all however.

The only other cool spot on the train was next to the open door.

Matts’ and my train was to leave at 4pm (Drew took something called a ‘travel car’ that takes him door to door; what a sucker).  We took a city bus that we believed would get us to the train station on time, but “Matt the Map” worked out that we had a lot further to go than we first thought, so we ditched the bus and found a taxi, which worked out fine.  Once we got on the train we “accidentally” sat in the ‘executive’ section and things were looking good right up until the point were the people holding the tickets to our seats, or rather, their seats, decided to show up: the nerve of some people!?

So, Matt and I took the walk of shame back to regular ol’ ‘business’ class.  This is when

A filthy pool never looked so good.

we discovered that the business of our particular car involved grown, unattractive dudes dressing up as and pretending to be even more unattractive woman.  Matt got spooked when one of them said, in the way only a transvestite can, “Helloooo Misterrr” and asked if he needed help.  I was walking in front of Matt and he whispered aggressively for me to keep moving.  We found another bench that didn’t belong to us in the next car and made ourselves comfortable…until the real ticket holders showed up again.  We couldn’t catch a break, so it was back in the transvestite shark car for us.

I thought Matt was making a statement with this newspaper jilbab, but he insisted it was to keep the sun off his neck.

The train ride felt much, MUCH longer on the way back, which is odd, because I have this theory that the ride back always seems much shorter.  We were both beat and it was uncomfortably hot.  Thankfully the ‘shemen’ didn’t bother us.  When we rolled to a stop in Surabaya, we got off the train and went in search of a ride to the bus station, only it turns out we had gotten off at the wrong Surabaya train stop (there are two), so we had to walk along a busy road that had some kind of nite market going on full stop and look for a mini bus to take us to the bus terminal.

We made it to the terminal finally, found a food stall to pick up a snake for the ride and

Think tank.

hopped on the bus, relieved to be one step closer to home.  I asked the bus ticket person to tell me when my stop was near, but found out that our bus didn’t go to my stop and that we would have to get off at some point and take another bus; good grief.  I kept drifting on and off in what felt like a drug induced sleep; Matt was out cold.  The nice ticket lady made sure to wake me in time for our stop, so I elbowed Matt and we jumped off.

All the proof you’ll ever need that we come from apes…I mean me and Drew specifically.

The second to last step involved waiting for a bus.  I’ve been told that these buses run through this area 24 hours a day, but someone must have forgotten to tell the bus driver this, because there wasn’t one in site.  We waited and then waited some more, but nothing.  Eventually, we wound up hitching a ride with a trucker who was on his way to Malang, by way of Bali.  He asked me to tell him where my stop was, I told him that I would let him know, only, I didn’t know myself, so I kept my tired eyes glued inches away from the front windshield in hopes of seeing something familiar.  We got our first stroke of luck when I recognized something and we asked the guy to pullover.  I wish I could thank him again, cause I was a dead man walking at that point and by giving us that ride he shaved off at least an hour off our trip.  From there we were able to find the last possible becak man to take us back home.  It had the makings for a very romantic moment, only I had Matt B sitting next to me instead of a beautiful woman.  Oh well, the important thing was that we were home.  It was past 1am, which means we had been traveling in some way, shape or form for over twelve hours.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Jogja crew, 2012…it’s a ‘rap!’

Drew, Ellen and Matt, thank you all for an absolutely awesome trip!


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