i left my heart somewhere in the streets of Jogjakarta
02.03.2013 34 °C
i remembered the very first time i arrived in Jogjakarta. A group of students and their mentor from this Campus ministry picked me up from the Tugu Train Station. I vividly remembered one of the students from Gajah Mada University, whose name is apparently Bram, was holding out a board with 'Cheloy Cunanan' written on it. I ofcourse immediately recognized my own name and went to him and introduced myself. It was a relief to be able to finally speak to someone who knows me, and who i know won't hurt me. Coz you see, it was my first time that time (2001) to go out of my own country, and it was my first time in Indonesia where English was not their 2nd language atleast. I was too afraid to utter anything during my 9 hour train ride from Jakarta. So, being able to finally let fresh air breathe through my almost dry mouth, was good.
That was some 12 years ago. I fell in love with that city the moment i set foot on it. From the train station to the streets of Marlioboro, to the Sultan's palace and ofcourse the temples that peppered the area.
(Sunrise at Prambanan Temple)
(Sun is up at Borobudur Temple)
I went back to Jogjakarta several times after that. I kept on bringing friends and families to that city. It was, I guess, my excuse for visiting Borobudur and Prambanan Temples, and perhaps just to enjoy the slow easy life of Jogja once again.
I love how Jogja gets romantic especially at night. I don't know why. hahaha. But, this city makes me feel melancholic.
Last month, I get to visit the streets of Jogja once more. Now in rented motorbikes for only 50 thousand rupiah, we get to go around the city until the streets around the palace gets really quiet and too yellow from the streets lights...
Sat on the sidewalks that magically turns into a long stretch of make shift eating area, just as like what you see in Paris where coffee shops make use of their street outside and add more tables and chairs for their customers. Except that in Jogja, there were only mats and... that's it. The locals call it 'lesehan'. It means 'sitting on the mat'.
Here you get to drink hot local coffee that true coffee addicts would truly enjoy. Don't be surprise by the added accessory floating in your glass of coffee. A piece of burning charcoal is placed on every glass to heat the coffee, and keep it hot for quite a time. So, if you're the type who likes their coffee simmering hot, you'll get to enjoy drinking this one that the local call Kopi Joos, named after the sound that that burning hot charcoal makes as it hits the liquid. Don't mind the toxicity level of that carcinogenic piece of rock. Just enjoy the night as the "Pangemen" goes around the "lesehan", sings their songs, and asks for some change for the entertainment they bring. What is one chunk of charcoal in one night do to you anyway? Just for that night, you get to be a tourist drinking exotic indonesian beverage. ^^
One new thing that I discovered about Jogja are the many caves that has existed in the mountains around the city. The day we went was a beautiful day to drive up on that mountains. The rainy season made it easier to bear the hot indonesian sun.
And the beauty of the caves took whatever little discomfort we had from the heat that day. We get to enjoy the beauty of God's creation on that part of the world.
Amazing how nature shows our Creator's Grandeur and artistry marked on every rock on that cave. This particular cave is called Goa Pindul, located at Gunung Kindul.
On the way down to the city, we stopped and had some of the famous indonesian street food, Jagung Bakar or "grilled corn". You can have it sweet, salty or spicy. I had all flavours on. Yum.
We sat beside the street, on one of the bridges that overlooked Jogjakarta. I heard that sunsets were always beautiful on that particular spot where we were having our corn. Too bad, the sky was overcast.
I love the art and the culture of this city. It has definitely preserved the richness of their identity for tourists and outsiders to enjoy and marvel at. Their creativity was not apparently stagnant. Pop-culture has wormed its way to theirs and it was surprisingly beautiful.
My friend described jogja as colorful.
And I must admit, he is quite right on that one.
I left my heart in Jogja 2 weeks ago. I guess I always do leave a part of me each visit. No wonder i kept on coming back. A piece of me longs to be reunited with the rest of who I am.