Goobye Yogyakarta (and other Javanese observations)

This is our last night in “Yogya”, or “Yogja”, depending who you ask or which highway sign you are looking at. I had high expectations for this city, but I have to admit that I don’t really know why or what I was expecting. It wasn’t even really expectations, in so much as hope. I hoped for a city that felt alive, friendly, charming, cultural, historic. What I got was a city that just felt as rugged as the rest, as filled with sellers as everywhere else. It feels dirty, and I can’t tell if that’s because it’s the way it is or because we’re in the backpacker’s district. The main sight, the Kraton, where the sultan lives, felt sub-par to other palaces of Asia. I don’t know. I just don’t see the appeal. It feels as though maybe this used to be something, but it’s lost it.

The airport is close by. Every flight in and out of the city fly over the district. It’s really loud. When we watch movies at night we need to pause them because otherwise, we can’t hear anything. There is a roster that lives behind our room. He gets started at 3:30 in the morning. The first call to prayer (at the mosques) start at 4 AM. Our losmen (guesthouse) is under construction. Work starts at 8 AM. We haven’t had a full night rest yet. But that’s not just Yogyakarta. That’s all of Java thus far.

There are rats here. Big, large rats. There are hardly any cats. Travis accidentally hit a rat in the head today while walking in an alley… at noon.

The streets here are skinny mazes, twisting and turning. It’s all losmen, laundry services, tour offices, restaurants, internet cafés. No one has fast internet. Uploading anything takes for ever. It’s like the dial-up of WiFi.

The buildings are colorful. Blank walls are covered in graffiti and murals. It cheers the place up.

Some of the stores here sell Indian heads. You know, the “typical” American aboriginal of the Prairies.

McDonald’s serves fried chicken.

People are friendly really friendly. They tell you the truth and they want to help you. People smile. Children say hello. Tourists are everywhere but still locals stop you for a picture. Children giggle and run away. No body is too pushy.

We got our clothes clean they were dry they smell good. It feels like a miracle after previous self attempts.

I went shopping for a hijab (traditional head scarf) yesterday. Muslims are everywhere and here they have an easy, slip-on version that’s fool-proof. I bought two in preparation for the Middle East. It was weird and fun to try. The ladies helping me were so very nice. I wanted bright colours, fuchsia and chartreuse but opted for a muted mauve and pale pink. I will already stand out, don’t want to scream out.

Call to mosque here isn’t synchronized, as it is in Malaysia. It’s every mosque for itself. The call goes on and off at odd times of day, different lengths, different chants. Sometimes children sing. Never does anyone know how to sing.

At night, the geckos cry geckgo! They don’t do that elsewhere in Asia. It cracks me up every time.


About Magalie

Canadian girl living in Texas, off to see the world when she can!
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