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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...


INDONESIA | Friday, 17 October 2014 | Views [799]

Inside Vredeberg Fort

Inside Vredeberg Fort

With nearly no sleep on the Senja Utama Yogyakarta last night and bleary-eyed, I got off the train in Yogyakarta (often called “Jogja” by locals and the “y” is pronounced somewhere between a “j” and a “jy.” Both Japan and Indonesia have well-developed rail networks, but don't even think of mentioning the two in the same breath. The station is nice and the sunrise was magnificent!

Shut the hell up Chris and enjoy this damn journey! That’s what I’ve told myself. The past several days there haven’t been a lot of good things to write about; nearly everything I’ve mentioned has been about rubbish, pollution, stink, beggars, humidity, heat, smog, and sleepless nights on buses and trains. From now on I shall share (or at least hope to share) positive stories. Ning, my CS host would pick me up on her motorcycle at 6 AM. She has to start work at 7 AM but she said she’d pick me up if my train arrived on time. Jogja comes as a pleasant albeit surreal surprise after the rigours of Sumatra and Jakarta. Whilst not quite Japan, it’s noticeably cleaner and the sky is noticeably bluer. Jogja is regarded as a “special district” since it’s headed by a sultan; the only area of Indonesia headed by a precolonial ruler. After a cuppa I had a long nap, and I slept deeply. Ning has the unfortunate position of living directly beneath a flight path and next to a railroad, so it can get pretty noisy here. After a deep and much-needed slumber I was ready to explore the charms of Jogja. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago with a complex mish-mash of religion, culture, food, music, dance, art, language, geography, and so forth. It'd be unfair to myself if I didn't enjoy it. My perception of this country of more than 17,000 islands would slowly change as I entered Fort Vredeburg. Dioramas detail Indonesia's fascinating and tumultuous history.

Formerly known as the Dutch East Indies, modern Indonesia was founded in 1945 by Sukarno (mononymic name). Independence wasn't acknowledged by the Dutch until 1949 after a long reveloution. Outside of the fort, some of the street art is colourful and interesting.

melted bench

It was then time for the Taman Sari water castle. Originally part of a royal garden, much of the former area is now taken over by homes. A local showed me round the castle and then invited me to his family's craft shop, in which I picked out a handmade postcard. In a Japan-like stroll I discovered a hidden gem: a luwak coffee house. A single cup of Java luwak coffee goes for about $15! The owner gave me a sample and then a cup of normal coffee for about $2. Luwak coffee comes from coffee beans defecated by the Asian civet. The poop filled with beans is collected, the beans are washed several times and roasted. It makes me wonder: how to people discover and/or come up with stuff like this? Before heading off into the night I got a photo with the civet, though it's too bad I'm indirectly supporting Coke after sipping coffee.

Full of caffeine and energy, Ning and I met up to get a massage and then something to eat. A 2-hour massage set me only 65,000 rupiah (a little more than $6) and it was utterly blissful. I just had a massage in Jakarta the other night but I won't find $6 or $10 massages in Australia, that's for sure. For dinner tonight we settled on burgers, though I spotted a vegan restaurant only metres away (boo!); I would have eaten there had I seen it (we would eventually go a couple of days later). Tomorrow I'm visiting the magnificent temples of Prambanan, and looking at the photos they would give Angkor Wat a run for its money! Thanks to all that's come my way I'm starting to enjoy Indonesia. 


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