Saturday, December 21, 2013

Travel Journal: Indonesia (Yogyakarta & the water castle)

December 21st, 2013

We are now sitting at the airport waiting for the flight to Bali. I loved Yogya and I'm sad to leave. I'd like to spend a month here someday. Yesterday we just explored the city. The Sultan's Palace was beautiful. It poured on us all day - thanks rainy season! It was fun though. And it made our experience using the restroom with just a bucket of water a little easier. It was nice to be those funny tourists - all the locals under tents whispering "can't they see its raining?". The streets were shiny, the cobblestone fresh and clean. Around every corner was another shop full of bird cages or stand with just bananas. All three of Indonesia's religions - Hindu, Muslim, and Christian - believe that water purifies. I can only imagine how much they love rainy season. The city was raining on itself. The way the streets move upward and sideways and the buildings stack up hillsides. Who knows how many rooftops his drop hit before it landed on my shoulder. It was wet, we were wet, and we loved it.

There was even a wedding photo. She prepared for this, in a shiny plastic gown, standing inside a rock cave (within a cave) while all the water poured around them - perfect. The water got into everything, washed it clean, and left behind a new world.

The pouring rain was lucky at the palace (or, Taman Sari Water Castle). The most interesting part of it is how, in 1758, they used the rain as part of the household - how it ran, cleaned itself, helped with cooking. Amazing. The pools were beautiful, and probably such a blessing in the heat all those years ago. As we walked the city, we found fairgrounds. It looked almost straight out of Water for Elephants, old and dull colors. Really pretty.
Taman Sari Water Castle from Ellie Stephens on Vimeo.

Where the Heart Is - a lovely book written in Oklahoma!
So strange to see it, in English, at a book shop in Indonesia.

Who'd have thought flavored bread would taste awesome with ice cream!
We had dinner at a tourist-y place we found in Lonely Planet called Via Via - yellow curry, red pepper shrimp, and the royal tea (my favorite!). The area was much fancier than where we stayed. It was great to head back to the less tourist-y area for some reggae music. We didn't make it to the spice market, but we will in India no matter what. We did get massages. They didn't have massage tables so it was a little hard on my neck, good amount of pressure overall though, and lots of foot work. They served us great drinks before and after - tea first and a fruit juice after. Hopefully we'll be able to get one in every country.

E, from Asia