Travelling east on the island of Java, our next destination was Yogyakarta. It was a six hour ride, and we got a lot of reading and blogging done on the train.
Unfortunately, food poisoning struck again, briefly, in Yogya (maybe the train food?).
The Mercure, our hotel in Yogyakarta was a lovely mix of styles and eras. The pool was great, but I didn’t enjoy the bartender and parking attendant audience while swimming. Most tourists at the hotel seemed to be Indonesian. The koi in hotel’s large pond were the biggest we’ve seen. At a foot and a half long, they could easily take on my cat. A big one is roiling under the surface here, in a feeding frenzy.
I saw this charming mosque with some art deco style, while riding a cab to one of the sights. There are a lot of subtle art deco touches to architecture and other structures, throughout Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and places in between.
We went to the Sultan’s Palace, and the Water Palace. The Sultan’s Palace is a fairly casual affair.
We found the Water Palace more enchanting, with its concubine pool,
underground doughnut-shaped mosque with 5-way inner staircase,
and toilets suspended over a stream.
A crowned snake guards the entrance.
A charming little village with lots of artisans surrounds the palaces.
A tunnel connects the two palaces; a row of tunnel vents are visible here behind the laundry.
Yogya’s big claim to fame are Borobudur and Prambanan temples, built in the 9th century. Prambanan is a Hindu temple with some Buddhist elements, and is
Some of the building shapes, characters and motifs reminded us of Angkor Wat. The Ramayana is told on this temple’s walls, like at Angkor. This figure reminds me of an Angkor-style apsara.
And some forms were new to us, like these Indian-style demons.
A beautiful cow, vehicle of Shiva.
While walking through Prambanan, some students asked if they could
interview us. They were on a field trip with their Jakarta private
school, and their assignment was to interview foreigners so as to improve
their English. It was quite cute — a little group of students surrounded each of us, with
one kid asking the questions, and the others writing down the answers,
taking pictures, or shooting video. After the short interview, the kids
wanted photos with us, so we posed for numerous photos. Then, their
teachers wanted photos with us too. So we got a photo too.
Then, a random guy who wasn’t with the school group came along and
arranged his kids next to me and took a photo. It was kind of funny,
and a little odd. It’s like they’re on a birding expedition, and we’re a
new kind of bird. It’s very sweet though.
After wandering through Prambanan, we were pretty hot and exhausted.
But when we got to Borobudur, the weather changed abruptly to
thunderstorms and rain. A tiring combination with the previous sun and
Borobudur is the Buddhist counterpart to Prambanan, with, of course,
some Hindu references. It’s not actually in Yogyakarta, although it’s close by. Borobudur also contains themes similar to Angkor.
Many Buddhas surround the temple.
The topmost are in these bell-like structures symbolizing upside-down lotuses.
When our middle-aged guide heard Jason is from Ireland, he serenaded us with a Westlife song. Hearing the song sung in an Indonesian accent was a memorable experience indeed. As he showed us around the temple, he’d break into Abba or other such pop song.
By the time we’d finished looking at the temple, our clothes were soaked through by the rain.
On the way home, our driver told us about his racing pigeons (many people have them in Yogya). We’ve also seen lots of fancy breed pet chickens in cages around town.