At long last, after 8 hours flying to Frankfurt, 12 hours to Singapore, 5 hours at Singapore airport, and 2 hours on Air Asia, we have finally arrived at our destination! Yogyakarta was very much a tiny airport, with maybe 5 gates…it was an absolute nightmare trying to get through customs as we first had to buy our visas on arrival ($25 each for 30 days), then go through security and scan some of our luggage in a room the size of my NYC living room. We were on our way about an hour later, using a cab to get to our hotel (60,000 rp). At the time, the conversion was 9565 Rp to the dollar, so not a bad deal at $6 for an airport taxi! Along the way, we saw some interesting sites – driving on the opposite side of the road, mopeds EVERYWHERE even outnumbering cars, a pet dancing monkey on the street corner, and a truck towing cows in its flatbed.
Our hotel, Rumah Mertua, was located a bit out of Yogya, but we didn’t mind as the setting was really nice. We walked above a little koi pond, followed by an open air restaurant area, situated by the pool which was really pretty with lounge chairs and fountains. Our room was on the other side of the pool, with an outside terrace area where we received a random but nice welcome snack. The room was nice too with a bean bag sitting area, and tons of space.
Shortly after getting settled, we took a taxi to Malioboro Street, the main street in Yogya, to walk around and get our bearings straight. It took at least 20 minutes yet we only paid 30,000 rp ($3)…definitely not in New York anymore! We were immediately accosted by vendors and people who were asking where we were from, and pushing different things on us. It was definitely hard to figure out everyone’s motives and who to trust. We kind of got pushed into going to a batik shop off the main drag that also doubled as an art school, by a man whose motives were questionable…although he was friendly enough and flattered Doug by calling him a “bodyguard.” At the studio, the “master” quickly demonstrated to us the steps of batik with using hot wax and paraffin to prevent ink from absorbing in areas that the artist doesn’t want to get dyed (definitely cliffs notes version here). Of course we got talked into buying a few cloths and then were on our way. The free food from Singapore Air finally wore off, and we were starving so we grabbed a bite from a locally recommended spot called “Superman” – real authentic name huh. I ordered nasi goreng (fried rice) while Doug ordered nasi campur (rice with fried chicken). The food was good enough, and extremely cheap ($10 for two meals and two drinks) but it quickly went downhill when I went to the bathroom which was downright scary (the true Indonesian toilet doesn’t flush, you have to flush by dumping a scoop of water down the toilet), encountering a lizard while washing my hands, and then as soon as I sat back down we saw a huge rat scurrying across the top ledge of the wall! Not too much to blame as the restaurant was open air but still…thank goodness we finished eating already is all I have to say.
After our early dinner, we walked around Malioboro a bit more but everything seemed the same (batik prints and t-shirts), and since we were still exhausted we headed back early and hit the hay by 8pm…earliest ever but much needed for our 3am wake up call the next day.