Showing posts from November, 2009

Java Jamboree: Taking a Train to Solo

From Jogjakarta, we moved on to Surakarta aka Solo and that just being 60 km away, it was such an easy thing to do. There is a train to Solo every half hour or so and you would like us, not mind standing all the way to this city where one of the most prominent South East Asian terrorists, Noordin M. Top was reportedly killed in a shootout on September 17th 2009. Perhaps, you would shudder to know too that in the early 1980s, an Islamic school, Pesantren Ngruki was established here by Abu Bakar Bashir and Husein Al Habshi and a group with connections to the Ngruki school plotted violent attack on foreign tourists in the nearby Borobudur temple and on the island of Bali. If you like us, were not aware of the facts, then you would enjoy your wait at the railway station in Jogjakarta, drinking in the sight of cute Indonesian toddlers and the adults going through the hustle and bustle of everyday Indonesian life and taking the pleasant ride passed farms while you try the local fruit, buah …

Java Jamboree: A Just Dessert

We didn't spend a lot of time at the bird market. It was not just that it deserved just a browse but the encounter with the unsolicited tourist guide perhaps shortened our visit there. We walked back to our hotel and on the way, we came across a little stall selling a cold dessert which looked very much like the ice-kacang back home in Malaysia. It was already high noon by then and the sun was high up in the sky. The tropical heat really got to some of us and the ice-kacang really looked inviting. It must really be good; otherwise, how could there be such a crowd eating at the stall. So, that was it - so what if we decided to eat at the roadside? We deserved our just dessert yet!

Can you spot our dessert?

Traveling Tip: Enjoy your just dessert!

Java Jamboree: At the Bird Market

The first time I heard of a bird market was in Iran. Jogjakarta has a bird market of its own called Ngasem Bird Market and I would think it is more impressive here. For one thing, it seems bigger and yes, since it is a bird market, you could find all things that has to do with birds sold here, from bird seeds, bird cages to live birds. My friends and I took a memorable horse-drawn carriage there. The bird market was not very far from our hotel and the Water Palace was just beside it. Of course, we were not aware of all these then and had resorted to taking the carriage. Talk about Cinderella taking a carriage to the Ball! Once there at the bird market, an Indonesian man offered to be our guide. When we refused to hire him, he turned rather nasty and that broke the spell. Our carriage did not transform into a pumpkin of course, but our mood probably was shaken...

At Jogja's bird market...

Traveling Tip: Expect the unpleasant!