jogya’s diptych baby! je je je!

I am a selfish person. And Ayn Rand… I owe it all to you. If I wasn’t able go to Beijing, I shall go somewhere else. Hello Indonesian people! You shall have me for a visitor! Please make sure you change my perception that you lovely people exude this certain… certain, hmmm… certain… thing…

And so my journey began at Jakarta airport which felt like committing suicide every minute because I had to stay there for 18 hours (why I did not leave the airport is a testament to my laziness). At least I was able to sleep for a good 6 hours before camping backpackers started waking up. I got my coffee and found a nice corner where I sat in almost fetal position while I waited for my blasted flight.

To sum up the excruciating wait, I had to leech from the nearby restaurant’s wi-fi to keep my sanity in check,was able read halfway through Salman Rushdie’s “Enchantress of Florence,” felt the urge to run after airport buggies, and fought the idea of slitting my wrist for the lack of something to do. After finishing a pack and a half of cigarettes, I boarded the plane and fell into a comatose.

Yogyakarta is 565km east of Jakarta. Trains take 10hours from Jakarta’s Kota Station on Jalan Station 1. Buses take 12 hours from the Pulo Gadung Terminal on the corner of Jalan Perintis Kemerdekaan and Jalan Bekasi Timur Raya. If I were you, I’d take the one-our flight… But then again, you’d miss out on the sights… Which I did… So there…

I looked out of the plane and saw lights below. I did not realize that Jogjakarta is such a rich city, it has lights on every island on every street.  As the plane got lower, I saw the streetlights moving… really fast. Then it hit me, freaking motorcycles…

Jogjakarta (lovingly referred to as Yogya) is said to be the center of Javanese culture and learning according to my friend Paolo and practically all the travel blogs about it, and so I’m saying the same thing. The looming presence of the 18th century Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) side dished by the Gadja Mada University, one of the leading universities in South East Asia, as well as colonial buildings (Bank of Indonesia, Kantor Pos Prawirodirjan [post office]) and modern malls create time warps every after block.

The main drag of the city is Jalan Malioboro, and it had me at it’s name. Maybe because of it’s close affiliation to my brand of cigarettes, the spelling, I know… But Indonesia has it’s own flavor. Ah Sampoerna! Why can’t Gudang taste as good as you? Like the Philippines, I lurve Indonesia because of it’s insane tolerance to smokers. My guide was encouraging me to burn my lungs as we went around the city, not to mention he asked me nibble on some lemon grass he found on the sidewalk. I opted to smoke.

And like the Philippines, the concept of traffic rules seems to escape people too. The humming of motorcycles, the clip clopping of horses, the revving of cars here and there, the heaving breaths of morning walks, the grinding iron gates being opened, and the stillness of becaks parked on the sidewalk created a sweet beat poetry to my ears.

The city center is at it’s busiest in the afternoons and early evenings when the side streets are filled with items for sale. Batiks, blangkons (tradition headdress for men), sarongs, and malongs fly like curtains adding to the already colorful people who walk aimlessly, almost lost in time.

And the face of Jogja is nothing short of enchanting… The eyes of the old draws you in then swirls you, until you find yourself being drawn out by the youth’s strumming of guitars… Everywhere…

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  • Karen

    January 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Sampoerna! ;___; What is the possibility that I can find some of that here, haha.
    And I think I would have gone crazy after the 10th hour of waiting. Good job on keeping your sanity there o/

  • flip'n travels

    January 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    heya karen! my friend says we have to get juvenile and go down the black market to get this. i promise to get you some when i go back to indonesia… 😀
    thanks dear! i think i am just crazy to start with, haha!

  • Gita

    April 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Nice article! Maybe could be a good recommendation for
    you to find and explore another interesting destinations in Indonesia…

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