DPQ and I started our Semerang sejourn early last Saturday morning. Our hired car arrived around seven and we set off for Mrapen. Unfortunately, our driver – who I called Chelsea after the T-shirt he was wearing (even though he said he was a Manyoo fan) – came from Salatiga and wanted to rely on a GPS device to find our way out of the city.
“Turn left in 200 yards, then go south-east“, but Chelsea didn’t speak English.
An hour or so later after a U-turn or two we found the minor road which lead to the minor settlement of Manggarmas which appeared to have no more than six houses on two sides and one warung on another.
The Mrapen eternal flame is considered sacred in Javanese culture, and it is used in annual Waisak Buddhist ceremony to be brought to Mendut and Borobudur temple together with sacred water from Umbul Jumprit spring.
It was also used for several torch relay for multi sport events held in Indonesia. The first time it was used in GANEFO sport event held on 1 November 1963. Later every Pekan Olahraga Nasional (Indonesian National Sport Week) always used Mrapen flame, followed by 1997 Southeast Asian Games, 2008 Asian Beach Games, 2011 Southeast Asian Games, and 2011 ASEAN ParaGames.
————- Hence this ….
As we didn’t have to pay to see the sacred objek wisata, we though it only right and proper to support the local economy by purchasing some refreshment at the warung run by a middle-aged ibu and her husband. However, she refused to give change saying to her husband “Harga bule” (white man price).
We angrily bought nothing and departed for other pleasures.