Wednesday, September 02, 2015


"This would be a fine biking trail," I said as the 4-wheel drive jeep bounced through our Mt. Merapi adventure ride, my millions severely diminished after 6 days, surgical masks tied and untied during pit stops at a hamlet destroyed by volcanic eruption and a quarried lava river.

"Those are are offerings for the dead," I told Rashmi who asked why cigarettes are left inside the bunker where two eruption watchers died, because of the heat and the oxygen tanks that did not work according to Mr. Bin, because they forgot to close the steel doors according to one of the drivers.    

"We called this dulang where we used to eat in white tin plates with our hands," I said as the table filled with deep fried small catfish we called bangkok in Almaguer and an assortment of smaller freshwater fish that we usually catch with a batbateng along the banks of a swollen river also in Almaguer, an unusually big broiled gurami, plates of comfortingly familiar vegetable salad, grilled ayam, fried tempe which is still alien to me, and the holy sambal whom I finally met face-to-face.   

"There must be lots of water," I said as we transferred cars for the Water Palace, to which I was dead wrong, since the place was actually a swimming pool built in the middle of a swamp for the Sultan's wives and children, overlooked by an enclosed balcony where the Sultan would watch his bathing wives and invite one or two that pleases him to his private pool where they will continue bathing naked, according again to Mr. Bin who also guided us to the old mosque and its echo walls now explored by curious tourists, then back through a tunnel, through a trio of street musicians, through the parking lot, to the bus, and to the hotel.     

Yogya is not as cosmopolitan as Jakarta but it had Prambanan, Ratu Boko, and Borobudur, and that pleased me a lot.

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