This is a city that is located in the Java, it is commonly referred to as Jogja and I was super wowed with it cultural exposure at every turn. I arrived here via flight from Jakarta. Imagine going through the market and being unable to decide on which batik cloth to buy, attending interesting puppet shows (who said puppet shows are for children), watching a live open air theater version of Romeo and Juliet (I hardly blinked), to visiting a real palace whilst the Sultan is there. Walking through Jogja felt like walking through the medieval times-and what an amazing experience it was.
Horse and Carriage:
Ever dream of riding a horse and carriage yet never had enough money for it? Well-you should ride one in Jogjakarta. They are a common means of transport which thus translates to them not being expensive. Next up, also ride on a bicycle carriage-now these are unique-instead of the usual seat being behind the driver, the carriage is at the front so its kinda weird but fun.
Or you can battle it out with the numerous motorbikes that fill the streets.
I had never heard of Borobudur until the day I visited it. There were fliers at my hotel about a tour to beyond the town and it seemed interesting. The pictures of Borobudur seemed like an interesting architecture so I was interested-only to arrive and discover it is actually a 9th Century Buddhist Temple which is now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once in, everyone is given a sarong to tie across their waist. Ensure you arrive very early to get a view of the layout as well as tour it before it gets crowded.
The architecture for me is a masterpiece and to think it has existed this long fortifies that it is indeed a masterpiece of an artwork. Prepare to walk many many steps to the top, but while at it take time to try interpret the messages on the wall. In the construction are carvings in the rock that tell stories of the people, the community and life at that time.
As you head toward the top, you will meet what I though were bells only to discover that within them were large sculptures. I ended up gaining a sort of celebrity status as I seemed to be unique (Black Africans) seem not to be a common feature and thus I posed for many pictures.
Goreng seemed to be a staple food and thus was present at every corner, every turning-everywhere. I believe it means fried thus different variations would then define its final name. Nasi goreng-fried rice , mie goreng-fried noodles etc and I think what makes it different is that the rice or noodles would be pre-cooked and then they would add their variation of seasoning. I especially liked when they served it on banana leaves.
You have not been to Jogja if you haven’t gone to a Karaoke Bar and actually sang your heart out. To make it even more comfortable for the “scared ones”, you and your friends can hire a booth/room, get served food and drinks exclusively and get to belt out tunes/or not in the privacy of your own Karaoke bar.
All around Jogjakarta, there is batik-its in their dressing, its in their fashion, decoration-everywhere. I need to highlight, their batik is like nothing you have seen before, it is unique, it is outstanding that at the shops I was in complete confusion on what to buy and what to leave. You should not leave Jogjakarta without several batik pieces. Be careful however with some people you will meet who will offer to show you unique, batik pieces at a hefty price.
Indonesians are really friendly people. I made friends with Sari and this lady would take me around Jogja everyday after work-I am forever grateful. I also got the opportunity to feel like a celebrity as I took pictures with many people. It seemed like Black Africans are not common in the area and thus I was the closest some would or had ever been to. Instead of them treating different in a negatived way, they smiled, they spoke to me, they conversed with me on all things Africa and took pictures.
Visit the Sultans Palace
This place indeed a beautiful, wonderful place-one of my favourite places in Jogjakarta. Imagine that, a Sultan who opens up his palace to the people. It is also a cultural center that hosts several events like puppet shows, gamelan (Java and Bali music made up of percussion instruments which I attended among others. I couldnt believe I was laughing at puppets as they shared jokes in a language I didn’t comprehend yet understood the joke to being entertained by their “gamelan” traditional music made by percussion instruments which were played by a group of over twenty. It also hosts a museum that shares stories of old about Jogja history. Walking in it I was awed to see most of those present wearing traditional attire, the men wore sarongs and batik shirts with traditional hats while the women also wore sarongs, batik blouses, they had a sort of similar looking headpiece like a net and they walked barefoot around the area-not withstanding the heat. I was informed this was a sign of respect for the Sultan and his family.
This is one dance I would advise everyone to watch. I watched it at Purawisata Open Air Theater, where they have nightly shows. Ramayana Ballet is an old Indian love story, filled with music, dance, deception, betrayal, entertainment, anxiety all whilst no word is spoken. At duration’s, a narrator sings while accompanied by gamelan music to explain the story line but you will better understand watching than listening as she sings in Java language. I assure you, you will not want to blink an eye and the story-line will have you captivated to the end.s open to the public
The scenery in Jogja is interesting from the buildings to the hills to the trees. I was particularly drawn to these huge trees that seemed to have roots hanging on trees.
This place is indeed an amazing place and there is still much more to see and learn from there. I thus hope to make a return trip-a longer one this time. My apologies for not having adequate pictures, my flash disk crashed and I wasn’t able to retrieve all pictures.