A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

Australia

Northern Territory

sunny 89 °F

Photos added 06 Oct 2013

11 September 2013 – continued

We’re off again!! The five minute complimentary transport to the airport got us there in plenty of time. Check in with Air Asia was easy,$15 departure fee, immigration and then a quick stop at Duty Free- we’re headed to Australia.

We were told that alcohol in AU is very expensive. Ok, we’ve been told that EVERYTHING in AU is expensive but there were great deals at the Duty Free in Bali. From our experience this trip, the best DF in Bali airport is the first shop, on the left, after you leave immigration. The prices were really good to begin with and there was a sale of 40% off if you bought two of selected items.

Off to our gate… At the Bali airport, your bags are scanned once, going in and then a 2nd time going into the waiting area which means once you’re inside and you want to buy a bottle of water for the plane, you cannot. Duty Free is different- they deliver it to you once you’re inside the gate.

Note: Bali’s Denpasar Airport is under construction – it should be stunning once it’s completed.

Our plane was about 30 minutes late coming in and then again leaving but the flight was a smooth 2 ½ hour ride.

Darwin has a fairly small airport and Immigration had a long line but the process was a breeze. I had applied on line for our E-Visas and we got in…so I guess it worked.

As usual, pick up bags and then customs: AU is very strict about what you can and cannot bring into the country. Jim was afraid that some of the tea he had been carrying since China and Thailand was going to be confiscated but luck was with us and those items passed. The only thing that was confiscated was some Kaffir lime leaves. The customs agent apologized up and down for having to take them. No Worries!!

Out to get a cab…not so easy in Darwin. Any other country we’ve been in, people are fighting (figuratively, maybe) for your business. Outside the airport in Darwin, there is a cab stand and about every 5 minutes or so, a cab pulls up. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our turn and fortunately the driver knew right where to go. Another 15 minutes and $30 later (Dorothy – we’re not in Kansas or Asia any more) we arrived at Discovery Travel Caravan Park. It was after hours, but thanks to the direct phone line outside the registration office, we were directed to the locked box with our keys and directions to our Studio Cabin – our accommodations for our first night. I had no idea what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. The building was a beige metal box with a small outside patio. Inside there are two single beds, a small couch, small table for two and a basic kitchen. Just off the kitchen is a good sized bathroom and a shower with great water pressure. The cabin is very clean and compact with all the basic essential tools.

Our first night in OZ - little cabin at Discovery Caravan Park

Our first night in OZ - little cabin at Discovery Caravan Park

Another photo of cabin

Another photo of cabin


12 September 2013

The campervan rental site was a few miles away from Discovery and our plan was to grab a bus. Kim (a guy Jim met in the camp office) offered to drive us over to pick up our van and Vicki (one of the owners) – let us leave our bags at the registration desk. Since we really weren’t checking out – just moving – we didn’t have to wait until 2pm to check back in.

For the campervan, we had done the on line check in, so picking up the van was easy peasy. As I finished up the paper work, Jim foraged through left over items from other campers, for our kitchen and picked up a fair amount of goodies, I.e.: olive oil, olives, anchovies, clothes detergent, spices, etc.

This van is a little different from the one we had in NZ. First of all, it’s much newer and it has a pop-up top. The jury is out as to how that is going to work for us. There is not as much storage space and the frig is smaller but this model has a microwave and much more counter space. I think, maybe, we got an upgrade. Mentally, I had prepared myself to drive on the left side with a manual transmission and much to my surprise our van is an automatic – I hope you can see the HUGE smile on my face.

Off to the grocery store (there are two major grocery stores in Darwin: Woolworths and Coles). In many ways, Australia is definitely more expensive than the US but most grocery items were similar in price. We actually found some really good specials, picked up a SIM for our cell (we were told that Telstra has the best coverage for this area) and by 11ish we were back to the campground to find our spot and get the van sorted out, which left us with a free afternoon to explore Darwin.

Our campground is in Winnellie, which is a small suburb not far from Darwin proper. A ten minute drive brought us to the Esplanade where we parted and walked along the beautiful water front park area. Darwin’s Info center is right downtown and a lovely Aussie lady gave up heaps of info about things to do, not only in Darwin, but also for our whole trip. From there, we walked to the Waterfront and enjoyed a cold beer at Finnegan’s Green before heading to Mindil Beach for their Thursday Night Market. The market, which is held every Thursday and Sunday, had been recommended for its vast variety of different foods and its splendid sunsets.

Mindil Beach Market ....before the crowds

Mindil Beach Market ....before the crowds

The Market opens at 5pm and runs to 10pm. We arrived a bit early: some food stands were already set up and we watched as others brought out their luscious delicacies. One man was making the largest paella I’d ever seen. It wasn’t ready when we walked by and I totally forgot to go back …..booo!

Paella King

Paella King

Jim couldn’t resist the fresh oysters and there was some salt and pepper squid that I couldn’t walk by twice. We had our choice of just about any food you could wish for: Indonesian, Chinese, Italian, paella, Vietnamese, fresh fruit smoothies, seafood (raw and cooked), Sri Lankan, to name those that I can remember. Also, there are merchants selling their wares: clothing, croc stuff, soaps, jewelry, art work, massage and my favorite, Slappas – aka flip flops, which I currently own a new coral red pair.

Salt and Pepper Squid...yummmm

Salt and Pepper Squid...yummmm

Jim's Favorites

Jim's Favorites

Jim Slurpin' Oysters

Jim Slurpin' Oysters


The splendid sunset was just perfect for our first full day in Darwin.

Sunset at Mindil Beach

Sunset at Mindil Beach

13 September 2013

We spent the day touring cultural highlights of Darwin. Prior to arriving here, I had no idea about Darwin’s history but their War Museum enlightened me. During WWII, Darwin became a positioning point for some of US Troops, specifically the USS Peary. On Feb 19th, 1942, Japanese planes bombed Darwin, destroying a good portion of it and also sinking many ships that were positioned just off land, including the USS Peary. Approximately 250 died that day, with 91 being Americans. That day was essentially Australia’s version of our Pearl Harbor and was the only place to be bombed during WWII. Australian troops were deployed in the Korean War and Vietnam and there was information regarding both.

Our next stop would be the Darwin Art Museum but not before lunch at Darwin Ski Club which is right across the street.

The Ski (waterski) Club is a private club but is very welcoming to visitors. Lunch, a Beef Pie for me and Fish and Chips for Jim were tasty as we stay waterfront and enjoyed the view of Fannie Bay. We were confused though how they ski with salt water crocs and box jelly fish in the water..we were told...just don't fall!!! (Thinking of the Maitlands while we were there)

Darwin Ski Club

Darwin Ski Club

The Darwin Museum is fairly new and gave a compact view of the NT (Northern Territory). There are art exhibitions, some wild life/sea life displays and one of the largest displays is information regarding Cyclone Tracy, which in 1974, tried to do what the bombings in WWII had started. After WWII, Darwin rebuilt but on Christmas Eve 1974, Tracy blew into town and by the time she was done over 70% of the buildings in Darwin were damaged…..300 people died.

Being the ever resilient Aussies, Darwin rebuilt.again. Yes, like many places in the world, when natural disasters strike, new guidelines for building are then put into place. Today, Darwin is a “new” city. It’s very modern but with that “Aussie” twist. Frankly, we quite like Darwin!!

Darwin Waterfront

Darwin Waterfront


14 September 2013

Up early and it’s off to Parap Market. Similar in some aspects to Mindil Beach Market (some of the same food venders and merchants) but more fresh produce. Yes, if I lived here, Parap would be on my list of “to dos” every Saturday am.

Back to the campground to sort out our purchases and get ready to take off on Sunday.

A sunset cruise on Darwin harbor would complete our time here but with evenings being pretty warm (and humid) we decided to stop by the Might/Britz Campervan office to see if they might have a fan. Yes, they did and we also picked up a small eskie (cooler) from the left over table.
This day had been one of mishaps for me: I pour ice cold water all down the front of me – being the highlight...until we got to the boat. I grabbed a bag that I thought had water and wine in it….no, it had the vegetables from the am market. We got on the boat, Jim went to get the wine out to put it in the eskie (new word for us) and all he came up with was eggplant. No questions, I picked up the bag and walked back to the van to retrieve the wine – my thoughts being, maybe a boat was not where I was supposed to be that evening.

We did have a lovely time on the cruise though. We chatted with Vanessa and Owen from Darwin and Anna and Robb from Perth. The weather was lovely and the sunset beautiful.

Sunset cruise off Darwin

Sunset cruise off Darwin

15 September 2013

Good bye Darwin and we headed to Litchfield National Park, about a 115km drive from Darwin. It was easy to find our campground (Litchfield Tourist Park), decided which site we wanted and made our way to the Termite Mounds site. I can’t say that I was too excited about termite mounds but they are a bit interesting, in a weird sort of way. There are two types of termites: magnetic and cathedral and they build their mounds – which can reach about 12 feet tall. Viewing them in their environment, they look like headstones and the one area where there are many – looks like a cemetery.

Termite Mount in Litchfield National Park

Termite Mount in Litchfield National Park

After that exciting outing…it was back for a swim, where we talked with a couple from Darwin for a bit. You never know when a short conversation might just alter your course.

Our original plans didn’t include a trip to Uluru (Ayers Rock) but I guess (again) our plans have changed. When we leave Litchfield that is where we’re headed. The woman we spoke to in the pool told us if we didn’t go it would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Her boyfriend just rolled his eyes but… Makes sense to us!!! Time to get the maps out again.

16 September 2013

Today is a touring day. We’re out early and make our way to Walker Creek for a hike (about 4k).There are swimming areas along the trail but we opted to wait a bit. Our next stop was going to be at Cascades but it was approaching mid-day and seemed a little too hot so we went to Wangi Falls for a swim . All the brochures put Wangi as a highlight for swimming and they were right. Two waterfalls there flow (in varying degrees) all year round. The water is very refreshing and a swim to the waterfalls was our “little” workout for the am. On nice thing about the campervan is having everything with you. We opted to stay for a picnic lunch and then a quick stop at Tolmer Falls (no swimming there).
It was then back to LTP where we had the pool to ourselves.

On Sunday, we pretty much had the whole campground to ourselves but today cars and campers arrive at a steady rate but still nowhere near full. September seems to be a nice time to travel in the NT.

Over dinner, we again readjust our plans for the next two weeks. As it stands right now, which is always subject to change, we’ll do “housework” tomorrow (internet which is not free, laundry) and see what the lovely town of Batchelor has to offer and then on Wednesday take off for Tennant Creek which is a little more than half way to Alice Springs.

Posted by pjburke 18:45 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Quick stopover in Bali

9 September 2013

My goal for our last day in Jogya was to get totally up to date on the website and I succeeded!!!! Yeah!!!.

Our last dinner was at Bladok – a nice way to spend our last night.

Jim's 63 cent haircut

Jim's 63 cent haircut

10 September 2013

0415 came too soon and by 0500 we were off to the airport. Check in at the airport was a breeze and then off to the waiting room but not before a 35K Rp charge per person. I found that a little strange. The flight in from Bali was a little late so we were 30 minutes late leaving for the 50 minute flight. Our driver was right outside the arrivals gate. Since the airport is under construction, there is a bit of a walk to the parking lot but the hotel van was close by. It was a late request on my part but yesterday I had contacted our hotel (Quest Hotel Tuban) regarding airport pick up and was pleasantly surprised on two accounts, one was their quick response to my email and secondly that transfers were free.

Our hotel was just about 5 minutes from the hotel – we can see it from the top floor of the hotel. For $38, it is a lovely room overlooking the long infinity pool and it includes breakfast.

Quest Hotel Tuban Bali

Quest Hotel Tuban Bali

Relaxing afternoon in Bali

Relaxing afternoon in Bali

This is the life!!

This is the life!!

We did decide that “you know you’re in Asia too long’ when it’s a treat to have a bathroom where the shower and toilet do not share the same space. Just sayin'......

There aren’t many choices close to the hotel but we found Pawon Pasundan just a short ways down the street. It turned out to be a great choice. They are known for Gurame Bakar “flying fish” – Jim had a version in a tamarind sauce …sooooo good.

Wonderful Gurame Bakar

Wonderful Gurame Bakar

Enjoying lunch at Pawon Pasundan

Enjoying lunch at Pawon Pasundan

Our afternoon was spent enjoying the pool and the spa facilities. My reflexology foot massage and Jim’s massage Services were not as inexpensive as some places in Ubud but still a great price: a reflexology massage and pedicure for me and an hour massage for Jim - $45.00 total. I was so looking forward to having pretty feet again.

We didn’t have high hopes for dinner as we wandered outside our hotel. But, as we rounded the corner at the end of our street things changed. We noticed a small warung that was full – there were a lot of westerners but they looked pretty happy and after our dinner…so were we. Jim had a fried (stir fried) seafood noodle dish that was good but I ordered a deep fried sweet/spicy squid dish that was awesome. It’s been a while since we’ve had squid so tender…we picked a bad time to leave our camera back at the hotel. Thanks to Warung Segarrrr in Tuban for such a great meal.

11 September 2013

Breakfast at the hotel was pretty good. It’s time to repack our bags and get ready to head off to the airport. On to our new adventure in Australia!!!

Even though we're off on new adventures, the thought of friends at home and the 12th anniversary of September 11th weighs on our minds. With all the other strife in the world our thoughts are at home.....may we never forget!!!

Posted by pjburke 18:51 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Cooking and Dancing - two of my favorite things!!

sunny

Note: if you get a chance, please take a look at the photo gallery. There are additional photos in the gallery that are not on the web pages. Enjoy!!

7 September 2013

Cooking class today!! We made our way down to Via Via which is south, about 30 mins by becak from our GH.

We met Made our instructor and our two classmates – James and Alex from the UK. Luckily, they also have adventurous palates, so the two dishes we decided on were a little out of the norm.

Our menu: Rendang Chicken, Aubergine (eggplant) with Sambal, Coconut Rice, Fried Morning Glory (aka Asian Spinach) and Fried Tempe with spicy Caramel sauce and Krupuk.

Off to the local market to pick up some items we needed: chicken, eggplant, spices, spinach, tempeh, raw krupuk and also some treats to have with coffee before we start cooking. Our treats were purple sweet potato muffins, sticky rice with chicken inside and small, yummy green coconut treats.

Market in Yogya near Via Via

Market in Yogya near Via Via

Ladies at the Market

Ladies at the Market

Lady at the Market

Lady at the Market

Purple Sweet Potato Muffins

Purple Sweet Potato Muffins

Steamed Rice with Chicken inside

Steamed Rice with Chicken inside

This class was a little different from other classes we have done. It was half demo, half participation but with a small kitchen, only four of us and family style serving, it worked out great. Alex and James, it was great sharing class with you.

Made and James in the kitchen at Via Via

Made and James in the kitchen at Via Via

Cooking - first we've done it a while

Cooking - first we've done it a while

Tempe with Caramel Sauce

Tempe with Caramel Sauce

Caramel cooking with chilies, palm sugar, lime and a little salt

Caramel cooking with chilies, palm sugar, lime and a little salt

The feast - Rendang Chicken, Coconut Rice, Eggplant and Sambal, Spicy Spinach and Tempe with Spicy Caramel Sauce

The feast - Rendang Chicken, Coconut Rice, Eggplant and Sambal, Spicy Spinach and Tempe with Spicy Caramel Sauce

With James and Alex our cooking partners - enjoying our feast

With James and Alex our cooking partners - enjoying our feast

After class, we made our way back to the GH but this time we took two becaks – it’s up hill most of the way and with the two of us …it’s just not fair on only one.

No dinner tonight, we were still full from lunch. We did do some travel planning for AU though.

8 September 2013

Finally was able to SKYPE with Brenda this morning. It’s been difficult to get in touch with the fourteen hour time difference.
More website work…almost caught up.

While I was working on the front porch of the GH, Sammie told me that a friend had free tickets to the International Ramayana Dance Festival at Prambanan that evening. Would we like to go?? Of course…that would be wonderful. His friend owns one of the local tourist businesses and
when his friend dropped off the tickets, we were also able to arrange to have one of his drivers for the evening.

Penny, a lovely, older lady from the UK, who is also staying at the GH will be going also.

545ish, our driver arrives and it’s off to Prambanan! The traffic was a little crazy but we got there in plenty of time. We found great seats in the area our tickets designated and enjoyed a wonderful evening of international Ramayana dancing. The festival is actually a four night event. Tonight we were treated to dancing from Malaysia, Laos and my favorite, Philippines.

Entry way to the Ramayana Ballet Theater

Entry way to the Ramayana Ballet Theater

Ramayana Theater stage area

Ramayana Theater stage area

Dancer from Malaysia

Dancer from Malaysia

Lead Male Malaysian Dancer

Lead Male Malaysian Dancer

Malaysian Dancers

Malaysian Dancers

Dancer from Laos

Dancer from Laos

Philippine Dancers at the Ramayana Dance Festival

Philippine Dancers at the Ramayana Dance Festival

Philippine Dance Group

Philippine Dance Group

Ramayana ballets are not unique to Yogyakarta. This ballet company is one of many to use dance and drama to tell the epic Hindu story of Ramayana. I must admit that I am not up on the complexities of this story but it seems to have all the issues of life and relationships.

Posted by pjburke 01:01 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

More adventures in Jogja

sunny

5 September 2013

Pretty quiet day. The Bird Market is on the tourist route so we thought we’d go see what it was all about. Well….glad we went so we don’t have to go again. There are tons of birds – if you’re into birds. Nan, you would have HATED it here. There were also two huge pythons, caged bats and some large geckos. It was a little creepy for my taste, though some of the birds were very pretty. It was sort of like my thing with monkeys – one or two are OK – when there are hundreds – not so much!!!

Yellow birds at the bird market

Yellow birds at the bird market

Cages and cages

Cages and cages

Large geckos at the Bird Market

Large geckos at the Bird Market

Birds and more birds

Birds and more birds


We made our way back for our afternoon massages – very basic location but this lady had great hands!!! After our long ride to Dieng, this massage was a welcome relief and yes, an hour for $7.

Dinner at Bladok Resto, which has turned out to be one of our favorite places. The food is really good especially their veggie fritters.

6 September 2013

Up early so that I would be on time for my batik class. For breakfast, we got an order of gudek to share – it was very tasty.

The art studio/losmen lobby across the gang was the location of my class, everything here seems to be multi-functional. I met Eddie, who will be my teacher for the day. To start, I picked out some basic designs and combined a few to make my own on my piece of white cotton cloth. I traced a little bit and a little more was free hand though I will never profess to being an artist. I worked for a few hours, becoming more proficient with the tjanting (instrument used to apply the wax) the more I drew. When all the outlining had been done, I applied the color – trying to balance the complete piece. It was now time for lunch at Bedhot Resto (which was included in the 180K Rp price).

The beginning of batik class - wax is heating

The beginning of batik class - wax is heating

Wax and then color and then more wax

Wax and then color and then more wax

Upon my return, the piece had been washed and Eddie had started the next stage of “wax on”. Wax needed to be applied to all areas that already had color, so that we could then add the background color.


My piece was submerged into a chemical mixture, and like magic,the background color appeared. The piece next needed to be boiled to remove all the wax – all in all, I was very pleased with my finished piece.

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

Wet final batik product

Wet final batik product

While I was exploring my artistic side, Jim decided it was time for a haircut. Sammie recommended a local place around the corner – so for 7,000Rp ($ .63) Jim should be good til we get home.

Street sate again for dinner –God, her peanut sauce is really good!!!

Played some cards….a quiet night.

Posted by pjburke 00:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Dieng Plateau

all seasons in one day

4 September 2013

Another early day but not as early as Borobudur, but it was to be a much longer day.

0700 and the driver picks us up to start our day tour of the Dieng Plateau area. Winnie (woman from Hong Kong) was already in the van when we got in. From there we picked up Annie (from Jakarta) and off we go. After about an hour, we end up back at Borobudur where we pick up Owen who joined us for the rest of the trip. It will be a small group compared to the eight of us on Monday.

It was a three and a half hour ride up the bumpy roads to Dieng with our first stop at the turquoise blue water lake at Telaga Warna. With 45 minutes to visit the lake, we made good use of it by hiking around the lake. It felt good to get out and stretch. From there, we stopped at the crater area with its bubbling, smelly sulfur pools.

Telaga Lake

Telaga Lake

View of the volcanic caldren

View of the volcanic caldren

Steaming sulfur caldron

Steaming sulfur caldron

On to the temple area and to what I thought was going to be more of a hike. It turned out to be a short walk to the complex and then it was back to the van to start our ride home.

Dieng Complex

Dieng Complex


Lady farming near the Dieng Complex

Lady farming near the Dieng Complex

Finished for the day - farmer heading home in Dieng

Finished for the day - farmer heading home in Dieng

Our driver asked if we wanted to stop for lunch, but being already 3pm, and with three more hours to go, we opted to continue driving back to Yogya. It turned out to be a good decision.

On our trip up in the morning, the low cloud cover totally obstructed our view of Mt. Merapi, but on the return we were treated to the beautiful mountain to one side and a fantastic sunset on the other.

Mt Merapi

Mt Merapi


Indonesian Sunset

Indonesian Sunset

Actually, I'm not sure if I had it to do over, if I would do (or recommend) this trip but the views of the countryside and small villages did give me a better feel for the real Java.

Below I’ve included a little info on the Dieng area:

Dieng Plateau is a marshy area that forms the floor of a caldera near the small city of Wonosobo in Central Java. Dieng's misty location, at almost 2,093 m above sea level and its poisonous effusions and sulfur colored lakes make it a particularly auspicious place for religious tributes. Often referred to as "Dieng" by Indonesians, it means "Abode of the Gods".

The Plateau is the location eight small Hindu temples. It is unclear when they were built, but it is estimated that they were built from mid-7th century to the end of the 8th century AD. They are the oldest known standing stone structures in Java. It is thought that there were originally 400 temples but only the eight remain. The temples are also believed to have been named after the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Posted by pjburke 23:58 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Borobudur and Prambanan

sunny 87 °F

2 September 2013

One of the reasons we ended up in Yogya is because of Borobudur. If you ever happen to wonder how we decide where we visit, well, Jim happened to find an article indicating that this was one of the most visited sites in all of Indonesia, so – decision made.

Our day started VERY early with a 0400 wake up and 0500 pick-up but not without a cup of coffee and some toast at our guesthouse. From what we had heard, we expected hordes of people waiting to enter the temple but after our 90 minute ride we were pleasantly surprised to find that we wouldn’t be sharing Borobudur with too many people.

Where are the crowds

Where are the crowds

A little background on Borobudur thanks to Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a perforated stupa.

Candi Borobudur ( Borobudur Temple)

Candi Borobudur ( Borobudur Temple)

Map of Borobudur

Map of Borobudur

Our first view of Borobudur with early morning mist

Our first view of Borobudur with early morning mist

Ancient carving at Borobudur Temple

Ancient carving at Borobudur Temple

Close up of some of the many statues

Close up of some of the many statues

Orignally inside each domed shaped wat was a Buddha

Orignally inside each domed shaped wat was a Buddha

Morning mist seen in the background from the top of Borobudur Temple

Morning mist seen in the background from the top of Borobudur Temple

Landscape view of Borobudur Temple

Landscape view of Borobudur Temple

We had about 2 ½ hours to tour the temple on our own and that was just about right, leaving a few minutes to grab a 2nd breakfast before being on to our next stop.

fresh coconuts

fresh coconuts

On to Prambanan, which, before arriving in Yogya, we were not aware even existed. It is much smaller than Borobudur and is at varying stages of reconstruction, especially after the major earthquake in 2006 and volcanic eruption of Mt Merapi in 2010, that damaged both Prambanan and Borobudur.

Attached is some information on Prambanan from the UNESCO Heritage site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63

Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the center of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.

Our first view of Prambanan

Our first view of Prambanan

Prambanan from a distance

Prambanan from a distance

Warning due to earthquake damage

Warning due to earthquake damage

Required headware for this one temple

Required headware for this one temple

Prambanan

Prambanan


3 September 2013

Today is a recharge day: Breakfast at Mi Casa, lunch at Bintang Resto and dinner over on Gang 1 at Superman which was very good. In between, I was able to finish my postings for Koh Samui and Penang.

Posted by pjburke 22:12 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Gang life – Indonesian Style

A peek into Gang 2.

sunny 94 °F

Gang in Indonesian is the word for alley, definitely not what Americans think when they hear "gang".

Even when I think of an alley, I think of a dark, deserted, scary place. “Our” gang couldn’t be farther from that description. From our very first glance, I knew that Gang 2 would shortly feel like home.

As you walk along the narrow (maybe 5’ wide), well worn, herringbone, grey brick lined walk, you would think of it as more of a neighborhood which in Indonesian is kampung.

Entrance to Gang 2

Entrance to Gang 2

One after the other, on each side of gang 2, there are small guesthouses, restos (cafes), losmans (private homes, some with an extra room or two that are rented), internet cafes, a mosque, small art galleries, internet cafes and warungs frequented by local Indonesian families and International travelers alike. No motos are allowed to be driven in the gang, so you’ll see helmeted people, pushing their bikes down the gang that are then parked along the walk.

FYI  in gang 2

FYI in gang 2

More of gang 2

More of gang 2

A little further down the gang

A little further down the gang

Entering Gang 2

Entering Gang 2

Gang 2

Gang 2


Indonesian people tend to rise early and many seek out the local lady (Miss Gudeg) who arrives as early as 0600 to set up shop. It seems that some people will buy her little bundles for breakfast and will stand, talking, maybe discussing the news kampung, while others take theirs away for a nosh later in the day. One morning, I observed this lovely lady, while serving those that came to her, also make extra packages – which she carefully counted and bagged. As if right on time, a helmeted man arrived, paid for the bag and was gone in a blink, obviously a regular customer.

The lovely Miss Gudeg in Gang 2

The lovely Miss Gudeg in Gang 2

Street Gudeg

Street Gudeg

Neighbor girl talking with with Miss Gudeg

Neighbor girl talking with with Miss Gudeg


Throughout the day, people traffic is steady up and down the gang, backpackers looking for a place to sleep, children off to school, men heading to the mosque are among the many. Later in the afternoon, again is if on cue, another lady sets up her wares and the smell of sate (skewered meat) cooking entices people out of their losmans.

Sammie chatting with the sate lady in Gang 2

Sammie chatting with the sate lady in Gang 2

Sate prep station

Sate prep station

Gang 2 Sate - yummy!!

Gang 2 Sate - yummy!!


In the evening, the laughter of children permeates the area. As children do everywhere, they are seen running, teasing and playing games until it’s time for their Moms to call them in.

As I write this, Jim is having a massage for the lady who I was so fortunate to also have had a massage with earlier today. There is a slim, elderly man washing his moto in front of our guesthouse, a man selling fresh fruit from his wheeled cart and another selling ice cream makes his way along the path.

Just another day in the gang!

Posted by pjburke 02:43 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

sunny 92 °F

31 August 2013

Yogyakarta (aka Yogka or as the locals call it Jogya –pronounced Jog ja)

Our flight from KL is off on time for the two and a half hour flight to Indonesia. We got our Visas at the airport (VOA – Visa On Arrival). The flight had very few people who needed visas so the line went quickly. All that was needed was our passports and $25US for each of us. We pick up our bags and get in line to have them x-rayed as we leave the airport - I guess there are things that they don’t want coming “into” the country.

The taxsi (Indonesian spelling) stand and 60000Rp ($6) gets us to our guesthouse – Andrea Hotel. The hotel is very cute and our room is small and clean with a comfortable bed.

Andrea Hotel - Gang 2

Andrea Hotel - Gang 2

We're Millionaires....even if it is rupiah

We're Millionaires....even if it is rupiah

Room #2 - Andrea Hotel

Room #2 - Andrea Hotel


We chose the resto next door, “Mi Casa et Su Casa” for dinner – good food.

Beer of choice in Indonesia

Beer of choice in Indonesia

Java Chicken

Java Chicken

Over dinner, Jim and I looked at our schedule and did some planning but not before checking with Sammie (the hotel owner) to see if we can stay until the 10th. Which we did…all is good.

01 September 2013

Kind of a lazy day! We got up early, have breakfast and took off to investigate Jogya.

Our little alley leads into the busy main streets lined with becaks (pedi cabs – which are bikes attached to rickshaw type seats that are used as public transportation). As we pass, most of the drivers ask “transport?”, “where you go?”, “Hello”.

Jim’s goal was a few post cards and moments after he mentioned it, as we were passing a magazine stand, a lady asks “post cards?” That stop changed the course of our day. Jim joked with the lady, as her brother told us about the right place to go to for batik and it wasn’t any of the places along the main street. We were warned that as soon as you wash those they lose all their color but that there is a shop that is associated with the Art University ¬¬– only open on Saturdays and Sundays. Ok, we’ll bit!! He gets us a becak (and told us how much we should be paying) and sends us off. The Batik Art Group Is off a side street, filled with beautiful batik and yes, it was only open on weekends and the prices were incredibly fair. When we were in Bali last year, I took a batik class and though I am far from an expert, the class helped me recognize quality work. We left with a few souvenirs from Indonesia.

The rest of the day was spent at the Sultan’s Palace, having lunch at a little street Warung and then it was back to the hotel on our becak. The poor guy pedaling looked like he was about to have a heart attack by the time he got us close to home.

Interesting views in Yogya

Interesting views in Yogya

Yogyakarta Train Station

Yogyakarta Train Station

One way of getting around in Yogya

One way of getting around in Yogya

View of the main market

View of the main market

Working transporting durian

Working transporting durian

Interesting art along Malioboro

Interesting art along Malioboro

Traditional dancers at the Sultan's Palace

Traditional dancers at the Sultan's Palace


Posted by pjburke 02:16 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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