Because We Can, Part Three: Play Tourists

Disclaimer: I apologize (ma’af sekali), my recent blog posts (and Nicole’s!) have been all about my epic Jogja vacation, I promise this is the last one… (JOGJA FOREVER!)

Even though Jogja is a city bursting at the batik seams with Javanese culture and history, it still took quite some effort to motivate ourselves to explore beyond the enclaves of our little Pondok Villa oasis. That’s what you call good company, right? When we did go exploring, it felt good to blend in with the other foreigners, not attracting all the unwanted attention like usual. However, possessing the language skills and UMM identification card to get around without being absolute tourists made it all the more special. We hadn’t much of a chance to play tourist until then, so here’s some photos to marinate on….(in no particular order)

This is what kind of trouble you get yourself into when you take a wrong turn trying to exit Borobudur Temple. You suddenly find yourself in an endless labyrinth of batik-embellished paper fans, tacky “I ❤ Jogja” t-shirts and other junky touristy objects. We walked as fast as we could, breaking the hearts of many eager sellers…

Borobudur has an incredibly rich history behind it however I was a bit disappointed for two reasons, (1) the top tier was under renovation so we couldn’t climb to the top and (2) it was nearly impossible to get any decent photographs without any of these ugly signs ruining the shot, reminding people not to do ugly and stupid things while visiting such sacred sites.

Not fresh by choice. As a sign of respect, we were also required to wear these sarongs while visiting the temple. Not gunna lie, they look pretty stylish.

Playing tourist also means being lured into tourist traps sometimes. Shamefully, we were led down a back ally by one of the tourist vultures that our trusty Lonely Planet book had warned us against following. It turned out to be one of the best decisions (!) as we would have never found the Masjid Bawah Tanah or Underground Mosque, on our own. When I showed these photos to some people in my village, they alleged this is a very creepy place with bad spirits, built by the Dutch, where Indonesians were once held prisoner. And apparently, it’s also served as the location for some scary Indonesian movies! I haven’t found any evidence of this though. Moral of the story? Follow the good vultures?
Among many things that Jogja is well-known for, is its makers of wayang kulit puppets.

Inside of the Kraton, which is a mini-city complex within a city, where the Sultan himself resides, is a lovely little place called the Taman Sari or Water Castle. It was formerly a royal getaway composed of various canals and waterways, that legend suggests feeds into the Indian Ocean.

Ah, Jogja, you will always hold a special place in my heart. There is still plenty more exploring to do! Playing tourist is fun when you’re with good friends, otherwise, I prefer playing the Indo-Merican.

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One thought on “Because We Can, Part Three: Play Tourists

  1. Pingback: Island Hoppers, Part One: This is the Life | From Charlottesville to Indonesia

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