21 October 2015
Yogyakarta to Surakarta
Soooo..... the ballet last night. It wasn't a ballet as you might traditionally think. This was more like a psychedelic theatrical dance. it tells the Hindu story of Ramayana and beyond that, despite having read about it and seen the 1h 30m show, I can't really explain what the story is. It was certainly different. Bec was having her massage so didn't come and so 4 girls from the group and myself got rickshaws over to the theatre and had the VIP treatment with welcome drinks and were taken backstage to see the dancers preparing their make up and costumes. We had a great view with front row seats but this didn't really help follow the story as Bettina and I tried to read it as it went along but got very confused. It was quite surreal but for that reason I enjoyed it.
We met the others for drinks in a bar after and staying drinking and enjoying the live band until about 1.30am. A great day!
This morning we set of for Surakarta or better known as Solo. Stopping off at the Prambanan temple complex, an expansive series of Hindu temples the largest being (I think) the tallest Hindu temple structure in the world. I wasn't expecting this to be as impressive as Borodubur but it nearly does it, not quite though. Earthquakes in 2006 damaged the temples badly but restoration work is well underway and due to be finished..... in 60 years time! This is due to the size, complex detail and the fact that there are over 200 temples on the grounds!
Upon reaching Solo 8 of us decided to go on a bike tour and spent 3 hours or so cycling through local rural villages and rice fields. We visited places producing tofu and tempeh, roof tiles, rice crackers and unlicensed illegal alcohol which tastes delicious, maybe tastes more delicious because it's illegal.
Since we've been in Java I have not noticed a single Indonesian who has been grumpy, angry or annoyed. nobody shouts, there's no road rage, nobody argues. All you see anywhere is peaceful, happy people and the villages we cycle though are no exception. Everyone smiles, waves and says hello as we pass by on our bikes. Traffic stops and waits for the 8 tourists to slowly roll past and it's no problem, local people chat to us when we stop, every 20 seconds you're saying hello to someone. If only the future planet earth was like this everywhere! The future would be magical if every person on the planet could adopt an indonesion attitude to life.
Later on after food we found that nowhere around sold any alcohol but 10 thirsty travellers wanted beer. The hotel didn't seem keen on giving us any because they were hoping to close the restaurant and bar up for the night but we persuaded them to sell us the last 11 bottles they had in stock to drink by the hotel pool and sent one of the staff out into town to find us some more which they did. Had a good time. The group are getting on really well now, there's a mix of ages and interests but everyone seems to click together.
Tomorrow we move on again to Batu where we will be hiking up a volcano.