Yogyakarta, Indonesia

A friend and I went to Indonesia for New Years. We started off in Yogyakarta. We didn’t see the temples that you were supposed to see but we had a good time regardless.

I ignorantly assumed that because rainy season was over in Thailand, it was over everywhere else in SE Asia. Well I was quite wrong. We arrived to rain, rain, and more rain. So much rain that the streets were flooded. No need to wear anything other than flip flops or aqua socks while the walking around as shoes would be soaked in seconds.

We went to the Sultan’s Palace. Outside there are two banyan trees. The legend is that if you are able to walk between them blindfolded your wish will come true. Neither my friend nor I attempted it but there were lots of people with blindfolds willing to help us do so if necessary.

Moments after arriving at this spot I was bombarded by people asking for their picture with the tall foreigner. This is a typical part of traveling for me but my friend had never experienced it before. The one problem with it is that as soon as one person asks then 15 people ask. So I stood there posing while my friend made a new friend.

The new friend proceeded to lead us around the closed Sultan’s Palace. We followed simply because we did. When traveling it’s always a tough call between trusting people and continually questioning their motives. This guy seemed pretty interesting and we were around enough people to feel safe. After going through a neighborhood we finally found out his motive – a leather puppet-making shop. It was fascinating but I wasn’t buying anything. We listened politely to the man explain about how they pounded out the leather to create the puppets. After a few minutes we politely excused ourselves and left.

Looking up at the sky we realized we had about two minutes to seek cover. We knew we wanted to get home. We managed to find a pedicab driver who would take us. Just as we started off on our journey back to the hotel it began POURING down. Our driver stopped and pulled over to where we were half covered. He pulled the other plastic covers down over us and put a poncho on then continued on. The pedicab was not created for two average size Americans, let alone a super tall one and an average one. I’m glad my friend and I were well acquainted as I basically laid on her lap the entire way. We had negotiated the price of the pedicab down but given all that he went through to get us back we happily paid him the original amount he asked for.

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