Nov 19:  Yogyakarta

Up 7:30am, but awake since 7:10am.  I slept well for the first time (~7 hr) with only two interruptions.  I slept through the call to prayer.

Left the hotel for some included stuff at 8:40am on tuk-tuks.  But I think they're called something else with mo- or -tor in the name.  Online I just see them called tuk-tuks.

Around the corner from the hotel we passed the Genius Barbershop.  Nice to see Lanny Poffo and Ed Leslie in business together.  I forgot that we exited the back of the hotel and for the rest of our Yogya stay I couldn't find it again.

On tuk-tuks.  One person per tuk-tuk, so not exactly like in other countries.

First stop was 8:45am at Batik Rara Djonggrang, a factory for the batik dyeing process whereby wax is added to and removed from the cloth to selectively color certain areas, or add to what has already been colored.  For example, yellow on white = yellow, yellow on blue = green.  Planning the order of dyeing is actually a pretty intricate logic exercise.  This of course was the usual demo and shopping thing that every tour company does where you get to see local artisanship and then wait around as a few people in the group consider buying something and the tour company presumably gets some consideration.  Every time I go to one of these places on any trip I feel like Zach at 3:27 of this.  Fortunately this was the only one on Best of Java.  I think we had at least 6 in Morocco.

At 9:25am from the clothing place we walked a few minutes to a place that used the batik process for art prints.  OK, gotta say, after 18 years and 15 of these group tours, this is the first time I saw stuff that might have been worth buying.  Lots of cool-looking affordable prints.  Problem is I'd have nowhere to display them and no one to display them to.  My lease prohibits making holes in the walls, so my existing art from previous apartments has been propped up on the floor for 14 years.  I have stuff in my closet like baseball memorabilia (balls signed by Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and that ethnic Joe DiMaggio) and wrestling memorabilia (a shirt my brother got signed for me by dozens of wrestling legends) and nowhere to show it off.  And no one ever comes to my apartment anyway.  And I can't have kids because 7s or above refuse to date 7s or above who are 50 so I can't share this stuff with and pass it down to my son or daughter.

The guy at the art place served us tea.  My tongue was burned for several days thereafter.  I don't get the point of serving or drinking boiling water, or any beverage above 32F/0C.  Also he gave each of us a box of food.  There was talk that it could provide sustenance on the train ride out of Yogya in 2 days.  But one thing was a banana, and the other two looked worse.  I am anti-banana.  We're travellers carrying many bags, and a camera in one hand.  Assume we're not hungry.  Why give us a bulky box of shitty food to carry in addition to everything else?  I forget where I threw it away, but I did.

A metatarsal in my left foot is now sore.  OK, THAT ends the sequence.

Left the art place 10:20am.  10-minute ride to the kraton (palace, where a sultan still lives).  I wore a hat in lieu of sunscreen (I'm usually dark enough anyway, and I prefer not to have ooze on my skin the rest of the day), but upon arrival we were informed that hats were forbidden.  This is the anti-Lidsville.  I had a Lidsville lunchbox in 1st grade, after the show had been cancelled.

Temple of Buddha in the kraton.

Performance pavilion.  There was a vocal performance happening.  There are Carrie, Lindsay and Rose.

Temple of Buddha.

Dude has fangs.

Sultan's residence.  I think the story is that when the Dutch took over, they didn't dare remove and replace this particular sultan because he was so popular.  So the sultanate survived, and the current sultan also holds political office.

Sultan's residence.  One time The Sultan wrestled The Rock at WrestleMania.


Pavilions in the courtyard.  The soil here is volcanic dust.  The local guide mentioned the history of volcanoes and earthquakes, then hit us with an RKO out of nowhere about 4 of her family members dying in a quake.  Then in one of the mini-museums she pointed out a photo of a political figure wearing his circumcision outfit, and said that years ago several of her family members had bloody circumcisions at home, but today it's 5 minutes in and out.

Left from here 11:35am (same tuk-tuks) for a 10-minute ride to the water castle (Taman Sari).

Entrance to the water castle.  Behind me here in the parking lot there was a rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing and I kept taking videos but he wouldn't perform if the camera was on.

Atop that thing we climbed in the previous photo.

Headed down to the bathing complex.

Bathing complex.  This is the only part of the water castle that has been restored.  It was abandoned after earthquake damage in 1865 or 1867.  I think there used to be more areas with more water.

Bathing complex.

Bathing complex.

On our way out (12:37pm) I noticed that the almost-noon sun was almost directly overhead.  We were 8S longitude so that makes sense.  I just hadn't seen it so high before.

Had a 3-minute ride to a lunch spot.

The group at lunch.  Musicians were performing peaceful music on that pavilion.  I think most people didn't eat anything here.  Most people were eating free breakfast at the hotel every day so I guess they weren't hungry here.  I still don't get why losing even more sleep to force-feed a full stomach at 7am is supposed to be enjoyable, even if the food is free.  This lunch was a buffet but I had fried rice again with chicken sate, and I added some sambal but it wasn't very hot.  And I had a Coke, though others had beer.  We all went back to individual waiting tuk-tuks whenever we were ready to go back to the hotel.  I left 1:25pm, arrived at the hotel 1:37pm.  (I think I said it in a previous travelogue--I jot down times because it makes it easier for me to assemble this, and for you to get a sense of each day's timeline.)

Across the street from the hotel I bought a Coke (330 mL) and a water (1.5 L) for 10,000 Rp.  Good deal.  The room has a fridge so these are for later.  The Coke is for when I demand refreshment.  The water will serve as my reservoir.  I'll use it to fill my smaller bottles (freezing one of them) that I take in my bag for sightseeing.  And then when a new hotel provides a free smaller bottle of water, I'll dump it into the big bottle.  A lot of thought has to go into water management when you're in a country where you can't drink from the tap.


I squeezed out a small poop nugget!  First in 3 days.  Once the seal is broken, things flow more freely.

In Morocco, and possibly Turkey before that, I discovered that I couldn't use the Mail app on my phone--either the government blocked my mail server, or my mail server blocked itself from those countries.  I had to use mail2web to get around the block.  Here in Indonesia, and on the layover in Taiwan, I had no problem receiving mail.  But I just noticed that reminders I sent to myself are stuck in the outbox.  I can receive, but not send.  Can't connect with my SMTP server.  Eh, minor inconvenience.  I wasn't planning to send e-mails to real people.

We left the hotel at 2:30pm for Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia.  It was noticeably windier and cooler out, and the forecast said a chance of thunderstorms but clouds didn't appear to be assembling.

A ton of people were checking into the hotel as we left, and on the bus Barry said they were university students from Bali.  He expects to hear tales of ribaldry tomorrow morning.  He actually just said "stories", but I wanted to watch that sketch again and link to it.  I think for stories to develop we would have had to hang out at the hotel drinking with them and possibly porking one of them (Bali is mostly Hindu rather than Muslim so I assume porking would be OK), but there were too many early mornings on this trip for any hijinks to happen.  Aw shucks.  I would have liked to find out if Indonesian or Balinese girls have strict age requirements for talking to guys like every girl  in LA does.

Arrived at Prambanan 3:30pm.  Yay!  I love really old stone stuff covered in moss.  Temples, castles, forts, just walking around Philly in summer.  My boyhood dream was to live in a fort.  I loved Angkor Wat on my first visit to this part of the world in 2005, and the two temples in/around Yogya were among my top 5 draws for this tour (along with Jakarta, Mt. Bromo and Bali).

Entrance.  I saved my ticket (Barry bought them for us as a group) and mine says "Nationality:  Denmark".  It's because we're white guys.

Approaching.  Very Angkor Wattish.

There you go.  This is near sunset so it's the opposite of my Angkor sunrise pics.

Many of the smaller temples collapsed in the 2006 earthquake, so they're waiting here with every block numbered until they can be reassembled.

Detail on one of the blocks.  Eh, maybe this pic wasn't a keeper.

More puzzle pieces.  This whole place is a puzzle factory, which is my favorite term for a loony bin, introduced to me by someone who's been in at least one.

Side boob.  I mean side view.  View askew.

Yeah, I'll do cool framing like this.  I absolutely will not take a selfie where I'm touching the top, or my nose is touching a statue's nose.  Again, leading and creating > following and imitating.

Main spire in the center of the complex.  This is as we were walking around to the back (the side with the setting sun shining on it).

Another angle.  I was gonna link "Another angle" to the match where Kurt Angle and his similar-appearing brother (literally another Angle) pulled the old switcheroo during a match against The Undertaker, but it's 27 minutes long.

Around the back.  I stayed near the front of the group so I could snap this before everyone turned Japanese (I just found out the song is not about masturbating) and got selfies of themselves on the steps.

A bit past that staircase, because dead center can be boring.

Now we're actually going up and in.  The markings at the bottom say C(andi) Siwa, or Temple of Shiva.

Ganesh.  My favorite Hindu god.

Ha!  This just reminded me of this pic I took of the top of one of the Petronas Towers in 2010.

Relief.  All of these panels (at any such temple) tell stories.

Monkeys!  I didn't see any real monkeys on this trip.  Ryan said he saw some later on our ride back from Mt. Bromo but I missed those.

One of the temples aside Candi Siwa.

Vishnu.  I always remember who Vishnu is because I hear Apu Nahasapeemapetilan (you know I don't have to google the spelling) in my head saying "the many arms of Vishnu".

More monkeys.  It looks like the woman on the left is giving a cup of something to the monkey, as part of a scheme.

It was explained here that this panel depicts sea creatures helping monkeys to build a bridge.  In the third segment there are monkeys carrying stones, and in the fourth I see a fish with a stone in its mouth, and a tentacle so that might be an octopus.  In the fifth there's a crab, who most likely did not provide much assistance.

Shiva the Destroyer.

On the way out I almost walked between a camera and subject, and apologized and backed up so they could do the photo.  It was a jumping photo.  If I'd known that, I would have kept walking right through it.  And it took them like 10 minutes to photograph various jumps.  This used to irritate the fuck out of me in the 14 years I worked on Hollywood Blvd when I'd just be walking to lunch or the parking structure and someone had effectively shut down the sidewalk because she needed distance to take a photo of her friend standing next to a Superman impersonator.  When my sister and her friends came out to LA to visit in 2001, they took photos of the little unique things.  Martin Short in costume as Jiminy Glick randomly doing an interview in front of the Chinese Theatre.  Our energetic taxi driver with cocaine strewn about his car.  Not fucking Superman.  Not a fucking jumping photo.  Lead and create.  Become a better photographer and a better traveller.  I gave Carrie a tiny portion of this rant and she said "I love that you hate people so much."  So do I.

We were told beforehand that men must cover their shoulders and knees to enter the temple complex, but the same restrictions did not apply to women.  All my shorts go below the knee.  I think most men who aren't gay or European don't wear shorts above the knee.  Oh yeah, Ryan had to wear a sarong at Borobudur the next day (or was it here?) but he's tall.  And I haven't worn a tank top since I was a kid because, again, that's more of a gay or European thing, or if you're a douchebro, or if you're a well-built athlete who has to maintain a public image.  While we were all sitting on a wall near the jumping-photo spot preparing to leave, a douchebro in a tank top walked in front of us and took photos.  HE is the reason the shoulder rule was implemented.  No one would have ever conceived of an adult male wearing a tank top to a holy site until someone like him went and did it, and made a rule necessary.

Back around the front with the sun setting behind.  I took a bunch of pics on my good camera but this one on my iPhone captured the color better, as is usually the case.  The real camera has 20 MP and 20x zoom, and I really like the zoom, so it's better for other things, especially zoomed video at concerts.

I saw a kitteh in the ruins.  I got closer.  He came out and started meowing.  LOOK AT HIS TONGUE.


Forget Bromo.  Highlight of the trip.  I named him Balthazar.

Another reason I like my good camera (which I bought a few months ago to replace the old one with a crack in the lens):  I took this with the camera upside down, unable to focus or even see what I'm shooting, and then ABSOLUTE CONTENTEDNESS.

He knew before he emerged from the ruins that this was going to happen.

Carrie said she took a pic of me taking a pic of myself petting the cat.  I look forward to seeing it.  At this point everyone had lost interest in sunset pics of Prambanan and were watching me and the cat.  Balthazar was the star of the show.  Oh yeah, every time he meowed his butthole poked out.  So cute!

On the way out.  Left Prambanan 5:45pm.  I am craving ice cream!  Probably because all my food has been meat and rice and I have a fat deficiency.  Also Indonesia is warm.

Random internal monologue on the bus:  Learning doesn't come from asking questions.  It comes from discovering things that answer questions you didn't know existed.  Learning something you knew you didn't know isn't as useful as learning that you didn't know that you didn't know something.  Learning how much you don't know is the whole point of education, and your constant responsibility as an adult.  Most people don't adhere to this, and that's why Dunning-Kruger is a thing.  I always hated the kids who asked a lot of questions in classes in school.  I always got dinged for "class participation" because I was an absorber rather than a babbler, but I'd figured out how to learn.  Those questioning kids were arrogant because they thought they had a complete list of all the questions.  I don't know what prompted this philosophical exercise in my head on the bus, other than a recent article I read about asking questions on dates that I talked about earlier.  I'm away from my desk.  My brain is free to think about things.

Yikes!  Miss Thing here was on the street near the hotel.  I took a few videos but they're too disturbing.  She was winking.  Only in Indonesia!

Arrived at the KJ 6:30pm.

I decided I was officially skipping the bike tour tomorrow.  It was the only optional I'd wanted to do originally, but (1) it cost 250,000 Rp, which is only $18 but it would have meant a potential extra trip to the ATM near the end of the tour (I finished with 271,300 Rp, so it would have been really tight); (2) Barry said there was a lot of stopping at local manufacturers like a coffee plantation and I did that in Malaysia and there would be a coffee break and I despise coffee and coffee people and coffee culture; (3) I desperately need a half day to physically rest my brain and body, and this was the first opportunity for free time since the start of the tour; (4) the hotel has a pool; (5) my goal for November was only 66k steps and I'm already blasting past that, and a bike ride will cause me to far exceed my record for steps in a month, and then I have to decide if I'm gonna stick with the usual plan and beat it in December, or beat it in the warmer hiking months, or just pretend November never happened.  A lot of thought went into skipping the bike ride.

I was too tired to shower.  Usually when I travel I try to average slightly more than 24 hr between showers.  It's convenient to get sweaty in the morning and afternoon doing stuff and then clean up for dinner.  But I always look forward to cheating, like showering after dinner before bed, and moving the clock ahead a few hours.  I usually bring one more pair of undies and one more pair of socks than I need per day, but if I can gain an extra day showerwise, I get a bigger cushion of clean undies, which is helpful in case I poop my pants, which happened on two previous tours due to illness.

Left the hotel on foot 7:30pm.  The hotel was in a great location near Jl Prawirotaman and Jl Prawirotaman II.  Jl = Jalan = Street.  The "II" street had a ton of places to eat.  Barry took us to one place with a decent menu (burgers and pizza--this was meant to be a break from local food) and we went upstairs and there were bicycle horns on the railing and I honked every one of them except the last one because I'm not OCD and this fact will freak out at least one reader with OCD, but the upstairs room was way too hot, so we bailed.  In lieu we arrived at Play On at 7:50pm.  I got a burger and fries, and a large Prost.  All these beers (Bali Hai, Bintang) are around 4.8%.  Below the basic standard of 5%, but the 620-mL bottles are convenient.  As always, I love trying to guess the Wi-Fi password before giving up and asking for it.  I saw "just play on" on the wall, and guessed justplayon, and bingo.

Clare hadn't been coming out with us, and missed Prambanan.  She's been vomiting.  Word is she might stay in Yogya and recover and then fly straight to Bali for the end of this tour or the start of her next one.  Dang.  In Egypt a few people got sick and missed a bunch of the temples along the Nile.  That has to be heartbreaking.

My burger tasted like pizza.  Pepperoni in the sauce?  It was a bad burger.  I went into more detail in a FB post about international burgers, but this one specifically tasted weird, was too narrow, and had too much watery stuff on it.  Never put enormous watery objects like lettuce and tomato on a burger unless the customer requests them, and the customer will never request them.  When I go to Spectrum Field in Clearwater every spring for the Phillies, I get a burger, and at the toppings bar they offer diced onions, relish, and jalapenos.  Plus you can get your choice of goo packet (ketchup, mustard or mayo).  They don't give you the option of topping your burger with a full salad or half a tomato that slides off in one bite, because no sane person wants that.  Play On did give me ketchup and garlic chili sauce on the side, so at least I had that choice, as if my palate is unrefined.

Oh here we go.  The first TDS rant.  There's one other American in the group so that should narrow it down.  One of the best things about travel is escaping political hatemongering.  I escaped it for 5 days (or 3 days).

Remember when I said I was craving ice cream?  Il Tempo del Gelato on the same street.  I got a large for 70,000 Rp, which gave me my choice of 4 flavors, and I selected chocolate for all 4.  No gimmicks.  I want a lot of chocolate ice cream.  It ended up being a lot but I downed it.  Missy guessed tempogelato as the Wi-Fi password.  Well done!

Back to hotel 10:30pm.  Showered.  Bed 12am.  I think people want to stay out drinking and hanging out later, but again the early departures are a killer, and there's a lot of physical activity on this tour.  Personally, I'm beat up.