Wednesday, 7 March 2012


In a mad rush to make it to Jogja to get my passport extended for the 3rd time i said goodbyes to Freea, Mill and Semu and caught an ojek to Ubung station in central Bali, the bus trip was about 20 hours from there to the city of Art, graffiti, buskers and music. The trip was long, and broken up with a stop off for a free feed at a large food hall in which i took my time, too much time, and was almost left behind by the bus, i jumped on drenched from the heavy rain and was greeted with abusive shouting from the fellow impatient bus 'buddies' in Javanese, with me wanting to yell back "i cant understand you, so it doesn't offend me!" but instead curling in a ball and falling asleep, yes it still offends even if you don't know what they are saying (maybe even more so?)

I had met a lovely, crazy Italian traveller named Marzia and we decided to share accommodation in Pariwotaman a street in the southern area of Jogja, on first impression i was highly let down by this city. Acknowledging disappointment and angry at myself for having expectations for the first time on this trip. The first few days were spent tripping back and fourth from the immigration office getting my visa extension sorted. An interesting day running around trying to find a 'sponsor' for my stay, ending up with a Becak (bike cart) driver agreeing to help, with of course a little payment, his name was Superman, yes Superman like the superhero! It was dodgy and i was worried that it was a fake ID, but it worked and i was granted another month here. 

After a lot of walking around the city, i began to grow fond of this place, its decrepit, muddled, graffiti covered streets. The buskers, everywhere. The poverty, the haggle and hassle. 
In the centre of this city, there lies the sultans palace "Kraton" an area in which many people live tax free, sort of like a castle, winding alleys and streets, caging within a bird market (that no longer sells birds) a water castle (that no longer has water in it) and a night market, an intimidating place filled with chinese bric a brac, food vendors, cheap carnival rides and 1000s of people walking around in circles chasing their tails.
Jogja is renowned for its art scene, and i had this romanticised idea in my head that on arrival i would fall strait into it. That did not happen and hence the slight disappointment, however, i did see some great art and performance whilst there. Going to a gig at the LAF gallery called "DJ Urine" an experimental performance musician who burnt ones ears with record scratching tunes, and a couple cool nights at Asmara art and coffee shop hearing some blues music.

Meeting up with a local friend of a friend named EDO after Marzias departure, we cruised around the city going to art exhibitions in the evenings, the chinese dragon festival on Malioboro street, and to the inexpensive version of Prambanan temple. 
A suprising day began with a long morning of waiting, for something to happen at the Kraton. We spent 4 hours in the sun drinking copious amounts of tea in a crowd of hundreds, sweating getting sunburnt and waiting. I really didnt know what we were waiting for, Edo spoke little english so sometimes things got confusing. But when giant sculptures made of food came out into the crowd minutes later an intense food fight broke out, this was to celebrate Grebeg festival, and it is said that if you can get a piece of one of the sculpture wether it be food or bamboo or string, it will give you good luck. i ended up with a chunk of rice on my forehead, so eating that i hoped it would bring something good... as it tasted like sour mushy peas. 
In the 10 days spent here, i also did a bit of sight seeing around the area. Going to Borobudur temple, which was amazing! Beautiful mountainous areas surrounding this well kept temple, leaning in to touch the Buddahs head for good luck, and wandering around each level slowly in the weeping rain.

A day spent trying to get to Merapi with public transport after being told not to... 4 different busses, beginning with the air conditioned tranz jogja bus, 2 other mid range busses and reaching Merapi 4 hours later in a rusted to the skeleton mini van with a complete nutter mid 20 year old lady sitting next to me singing muslim prayer songs in my ear this hour long leg. But it was worth it, the 2 hour climb to the top of a near mountain and incredible view of this volcano was awesome, in the true meaning of the word. Observing the lava flows, fallen trees and village sitting on the shoulder of the crater were relaxing and thought provoking. It was good to spend a few hours in nature by myself.

This is where i had the realisation, that i really wasnt enjoying being in a city, i wanted to see more nature, and i decided that i would do some more research on Sumatra! and possibly head there in the next week.


Some sexy Junk i was checking out one morning.

Tasty eats at the markets


Prambanan back street temple

Inside the temples

Merapi, caught in a long stare, i only fathomed a photo once the clouds had moved in, goose!

Green ground turns to grey
the shadows loom close
as the clouds hover in with motivation
but no direction
after the heat
the rain falls heavy
a wet open book
is left lying in a field
full of thoughts
someones words
whose mouth is now stuck shut
whose lessons are lost
blotted ink on a page
content in just being
but awaiting the next mornings sun
and someone to find it

Dragon Festival, Jalan Malioboro

Kraton 'Grebeg' celebration festival. FOODFIGHT!

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