A few weeks ago I headed over to Java, the Province next to Sumatera, to see a little more of this interesting country.
My main goal was to meet up with Tom and Charlie in a city called Yogyakarta aka Jogja.
After meeting Tom and Charlie there we would rent some bikes and head up to Borobudur.
From Medan I flew into Jakarta, Indo's capital, on the 22nd of March. I would spend the night there and early the next afternoon head back to the airport, destination Jogja. In the morning I was left with a few hours before I had to head to the Airport.
I heading down to the National Monument which wasn't too far from where I was staying. It was basically this tall ass structure similar in shape to Brock's Monument but much taller. If you are from the Niagara Region you should get the reference.
It wasn't much to look at but you are able to pay a few thousand Rupiah to take an elevator to the top. When you get to the top to try and enjoy the view that's when you realize how polluted the city is. As you look around from the top of the tower you can see a fair distance but you also can see where the large parts of the city are heavily polluted.
By this time I was swimming in a pool of my own sweat. I had all my gear with me while I was strolling around the monument because I was heading straight to the airport after. I still had some time to kill so I took a walk through the diorama museum they have under the monument and learned about the country I live in.
There wasn't much else to see around that area so I headed for the train station nearby which has buses to the airport. I hoped on after being told it was only 50000 Rupiah. I saw everyone else was paying 20000. When the man came around collecting money he still asked me for 50000. I told him everyone else is paying 20000 so I will be doing the same. He just smiled and took my 20000.
My friend Christie said the bus ride was going to be a possible hour and a half to two hours because of crazy traffic. The bus got there in a little over half an hour. I was way too early for my flight. So early that the check-in counter wasn't even open.
I was glad I brought a book.
Finally my flight took off and I was headed for Jogja. I got there about 3ish and Tom was at the airport waiting. He had already hired out a bike so he drove me to the guesthouse him and Charlie were staying at.
It was a solid guesthouse. I didn't have to pay all that much and the place had a pool that was never busy. We took full advantage of that one for sure.
I was pretty beat that day after being up quite late the night before but after some decent food and a cold beer I got my energy back. Tom, Charlie and I felt we should go out that night because the following day was Tom's birthday. We headed to this "must go to bar" in Jogja which was just like any other average Discotheque I've been to so far.
It wasn't too busy so we just hung at the bar having some drinks and a bit of dancing. Tom got really into as he always does and at one point was dancing on the bar for everyone. Pulling a few new moves I hadn't seen yet along with a few of his classics.
The next day I hired a bike out in the morning so we could ride up to Borobudur. The ride was nice and we got there in under an hour. We spent pretty much the whole day there. We arrived early afternoon and didn't leave until the sun was going down. We stayed that long because we wanted to be on the temple for when the sun was setting.
Before the sunset we had the hecklers chasing us around trying to sell things. They were really aggressive but I still don't think as aggressive as China. We ducked into a market area to get away from them and grab a light meal.
The sun was on it's way down so we walked back over to the temple. We took a few good group shots of us in front of the temple then we thought we should start back up the temple. As we get back to the stairs we notice a ton of people are coming off it. The security tells us they are closing very shortly and we had time for a few more shots. We get to the top and as we do another security guard is telling us we have to leave. We snapped a few shots each and he kept saying we could pay him some money to stay a little while longer. He wanted about 150,000 (15 dollars) I believe. He called it a "sunset ticket."Charlie told him he was corrupt and we left, not getting any real good sunset shots.
We did however find out later that there happens to actually be a SUNSET TICKET, which if you buy at the gate is about double the price. The security guard was offering us a good deal but we didn't know it.
We rode back to Jogja that night. We took a dip to build up a hunger and then went out for food. We went to a restaurant we saw the night before that offered a few interesting dishes. They had Shark on the menu, which Tom and Charlie were both interested in trying. I was up for something I knew I would like so I stuck with something simple. I did end up trying there shark though. After doing so I wish I had ordered it. Don't pass up shark if it's on a menu.
The next day was our last full day in Jogja. We took our bikes around the city popping into different areas to do some shopping. The city was a little confusing as far as getting around but Tom seemed to have a handle on it so I just followed his lead. After being drained of energy we headed back to our guesthouse area for a beer. Tom and I knew that in the city you could find places that serve Kind Cobra and we had been talking about it throughout the day. After our beers we popped back into the guesthouse for a cool down dip. After that Charlie was pretty wiped so she went to bed. Tom and I still had our cobra mission to take care off. Tom also heard about this coffee that is worth trying in Jogja. The called it KOPI JOSS. It's coffee that they serve up with a burning bit of charcoal in it. We found a sweet spot that overlooked a bit of the city. Anyone can pull up and grab a seat on these mats on the sidewalk and enjoy the view and order some food or drinks. We tried the coffee and were both thoroughly impressed by the coffee. Imagine the taste of burnt coffee. It's damn good.
After that we hoped on our bikes and headed to an area near the train station where we heard the best Cobra would be. Everything around that area was closing down so we had no luck there. We booted around the city for probably a good 40 minutes looking for snake and exploring. We remembering seeing a restaurant near our guesthouse that did offer King Cobra so we headed back that way.
They had two options for King Cobra. I went for the steak and Tom, the satay.
We both had rather large portions of Cobra and we both really enjoyed it. I can't really compare it to anything I have eaten but if you get a chance, try it.
The next day I was heading back to Jakarta and Tom and Charlie were heading to Bandung.
I got back to Jakarta about 1 o'clock in the afternoon and found myself a guesthouse to stay in. I was meeting up with my friend Christie later in the evening to grab some dinner and not much else. We had some dinner in this kick ass buffet in one of the 10,000 plazas in the city.
Christie was a great tour guide, she took me to places I wanted to see and to places I would like to see. We did a bit of shopping that day in a few plazas, some better than others. Later on we heading north to check out this crazy packed market that was in a shell of an old plaza.
When we both got sick of shopping we headed a little further north to see 'old town' Jakarta. It was a pretty cool part of the city but we didn't stay too long, I think because we were just a bit worn out. We headed west from the 'old town' to the waterfront area to grab some dinner. We had dinner on this boardwalk restaurant and watched the sunset. It was a cool spot. Ended off the night just taking it easy and having a beer and going to see a movie. I was off the next day back to Medan.
I really enjoyed my trip. Jogja was amazing. I would really like to go back there again some day. Jakarta was alright as well. I can see why people can be drawn to it from other parts of Indonesia. It's the big city life. It was definitely still Indonesia but I felt like there were splashes of Toronto here and there. It made me miss back home a bit. I'll live.
Ever since I have been back in Medan it just feels like it's been non-stop. I had a ton of exams to mark when I got back to work along with other things to take care of. I am just now feeling like I'm back on track and ready for the few weeks ahead. Busy weeks of course.
My goal for this weekend though is to just kick-it old school. Watch a few movies I have been meaning to see and just take it easy. We'll see how well that works out.