Yogyakarta

22nd August 1988
Rama Hotel (Rp.3,500)

Days later, it’s 7am and the rain has just ceased.

We haven’t gone swimming; I reckon that paying Rp.20 thou for the use of a pool and the bland company of tourists doesn’t outweigh the cheapness and, more importantly, the chance to live Indonesian style.

The furniture, like the entire building, has the scruffy air of having been lived in for a long time and the owner’s family live downstairs with an enormous collection of kris.

There are caged birds galore chirruping away and the squat toilets serve as the mandi drainaway. There are china pots of tea left on a table just outside our door, but at odd hours so I have yet to have a hot cuppa.

There’s a German couple here who were here when we first arrived. Apart from visits to the mandi for laundry and the other usual purposes, all we’ve seen them do is write – letters, postcards and in reply, we presume, to received missives. So when do they gain the experiences to commit to paper?

Sam complained yesterday, Sunday, that we hadn’t done anything either.

He’s left his yet-to-be-written postcards in a shop, possibly the one in which I bought some shirt material. We’ve walked to the kraton, and seen a troupe of busking tumblers, and another one on Saturday night. We’ve eaten and drunk a great deal, often in Suparman’s for the western food and Bintang beer, and while sitting on the sidewalk in the night market on Jalan Maliobro also enjoyed the (chicken) nasi gudeg . We’ve also played 12 frames of pool, and for a change, I won most of them.

We’ve also assuaged Sam’s longing to ride in bejaks, the ubiquitous form of transport here. (video)

Sam has bought a collection of batik paintings which aren’t to my taste and, bar one which shows the influence of ’60s psychedelia and pop art, are somewhat commercial. However, in doing so he’s displayed a hard-nosed attitude to bargaining – even though I think he’s paid over the odds.

Maybe I have too in my purchase of a Tulus Warsito original of a bicycle, shadowed against a wall with an electricity meter (for Rp.40,000). The subject matter is not particularly Indonesian, but the skill and artist’s eye is only obvious to a trained eye. Mine?

We shall find out later today about the skill as we both attempt to produce a masterpiece in a workshop probably run by Tulus’ brother.

Later, assuming the rain has held off, we hope to get to the last night of the Ramayana ballet at Prambanan temple. This only leaves tomorrow for Borobodur and the Bima Express back to Jakarta,

Yogya is one of those staging places, somewhere for rest and recuperation for weary travellers, a banana pancake to ease the pains of nasi goreng and hello mister-sister.

This holiday is rapidly coming to an end. When I asked Sam yesterday what he wanted for his birthday (August 31st) he replied, “Another month in Indonesia.”

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About Jakartass

A Brit Abroad
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