06 Nov - 18 Nov 2013 Yogyakarta

Southeast Asia
Republic of Indonesia (CPI = 32/100 and BPI = 7.1/10.0) 
Central Java aka Jawa Tengah 
Jl. Sosrowijayan Wetan GT I/167 
Lotus Losmen +62274515090 berson21@hotmail.com
Standard double room (no. 1) with wifi, private bathroom and nice balcony, plus a sumptuous east-meets-west breakfast, altogether for only IDR 100,000.- or US$ 8.80 per night.
Fully equipped communal kitchen with a big fridge and excellent same-day laundry service (washed, dried and folded) for IDR 5,000.- per kg. 
Friendly and reliable Catholic/Islamic host family; very good English. 
Beer: 620-ml bottles of chilled Anker Beer (4.9 % alc./vol.) for IDR 23,700.- or US$ 2.10 per large bottle from the nearby Malioboro Minimarket and 330-ml bottles of chilled Bintang Pilsener (c. 4.7 % alc./vol.) for IDR 13,700.- or US$ 1.20 per dumpy from the Hero (no joke) supermarket located in the basement of the posh Malioboro Mall.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Lotus Losmen in Yogyakarta, which we would highly recommend, and for directions:
S 07° 47.47' E 110° 21.82'

Matt: Landing smack bang on the Java segment of the international Banana Pancake Trail of "individualised" mass tourism where shady touts, crooked tour guides and dodgy batik sellers work relentlessly on the stream of stressed-out young backpackers from the West and from the East, most of them overweight and overegoed, and noticing interesting similarities between warfare and tourism: (i) perception is replaced with generalisation, (ii) individuals are replaced with stereotypes (e.g. “bad enemy” and “rich tourist”) and, without flinching, (iii) are treated accordingly, neutralised and ripped off.

Matt: Zigzagging between ojek drivers, becak cyclists, andong coachmen, personal chauffeurs and ordinary cabbies to the cultural and political heart of Yogyakarta, the huge 1755 CE corrugated-iron palace aka kraton of the sultans of Yogya (admission: IDR 12,500.- or US$ 1.10 per alien, +62274373321), chatting with the friendly members of the sultan’s not-so-secret service, each of them armed with a traditional kris as personal weapon and clad in classical Javanese dress, and listening to the rather monotone but mesmerising court music and singsong of a traditional gamelan orchestra’s rehearsal in one of the sultan’s airy music pavilions.

Matt: Exploring the ruins of the water castle aka waterkasteel, the leftovers of the sultan’s 1758 CE pleasure park and watersports centre with mysterious pavilions, hidden harems and underground pools, which has recently started a new life as an artists’ quarter with trendy cafés and interesting ateliers, and having pleasant  encounters with local wood carvers, batik makers and painters, such as my friend Somudro +6287739030396 who showed me his latest masterpieces in oil and acryl.

Matt: Inspecting the stony leftovers of Java’s sexy extra-Islamic affair with Buddhism, taking therefore a local bus from Yogyakarta’s Terminal Giwangan to Borobudur’s bus terminal (c. 50 km, 1 ¾ hours, IDR 15,000.- per person), touring the 850 CE Buddhist temple of Borobudur, the ultimate survivor of regular volcanic ash flows, domestic terrorist bombs and the ever-increasing tourist onslaught (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the biggest Buddha temple in the world and Java’s single most popular tourist destination with up to 100,000 visitors on a holiday; admission: IDR 190,000.- or US$ 16.50 per alien) and, being led around by the nose with a Lonely Planet, thus walking “… along narrow corridors past nearly 1,460 richly decorated narrative panels and 1,212 decorative panels in which the sculptors have carved a virtual textbook of Buddhist doctrines as well as many aspects of Javanese life 1,000 years ago - a continual procession of ships and elephants, musicians and dancing girls, warriors and kings.”

Matt: Inspecting the stony leftovers of Java’s sexy extra-Islamic affair with Hinduism, taking therefore the TransJogja a/c city bus 1A from a nearby bus stop straight to Terminal Prambanan (c. 15 km, ¾ hours, IDR 3,000.- per person, one way), touring the awe-inspiring 8th century CE temples of Prambanan (admission: IDR 172,000.- or US$ 14.80 per alien), the best remaining examples of Hindu art in Java, and admiring the vibrant scenes from the Ramayana which are lavishly carved onto the inner wall of the gallery which encircles the 47-m tall Candi Shiva Mahadeva temple.

Matt: Bringing myself back from the petrified past into the current life of the people of flesh and blood around, doing a reality check with the help of those down-to-earth ladies at Yogyakarta’s busy Pasar Beringharjo and provisioning (i) with fresh seasonal fruits (e.g. snake fruit aka salak, carambola aka blimbing and sweet mango aka mangga), (ii) with the usual suspects for crudités among the more or less organically grown local veggies (e.g. Chinese cabbage aka bok choy, leeks aka daun bawang and cucumber aka ketimun) and (iii) with creamy tofu aka tahu, cooked with coconut oil over a wood fire at the nearby village Karang, yummy.

Matt: Restraining myself from opening the hundreds of narrow cages filled with thousands of suffering puppies, kittens, bunnies, birds, squirrels, geckos, bats and many other animals at Yogyakarta’s so-called Bird Market, a heart-breaking place of pain and shame ("Mr. Mayor, Tear Down This Market!"), and watching afterwards Steven Soderbergh’s movie Contagion on my hard-wearing Taiwanese Acer laptop computer:
“Dominion does not mean domination. We hold dominion over animals only because of our powerful and ubiquitous intellect. Not because we are morally superior. Not because we have a ‘right’ to exploit those who cannot defend themselves. Let us use our brain to move toward compassion and away from cruelty, to feel empathy rather than cold indifference, to feel animals' pain in our hearts.”

Matt: Floating with the arctic TransJogja city buses 3A and 2B (IDR 3,000.- per person for a transfer ticket) to Terminal Jombor, taking from here a rugged non-a/c Sumber Waras bus +62293365173 (c. 130 km, 4 ¾ hours, IDR 25,000.- or US$ 2.15 per person, including a couple of guitar-playing but tone-deaf buskers rendering In Bahasa Indonesia anti-US and anti-Israel songs) through a stunning countryside, dotted with volcanoes, to the outskirts of Semarang and eventually a convenient a/c BRT city bus for IDR 3,500.- straight to my next hostel located in the city centre of Semarang, Central Java’s provincial capital city.
"I am leaving the town to the invaders: increasingly numerous, mediocre, dirty, badly behaved, shameless tourists." 

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life: 
It’s bad to be a butterball;
It’s good to eat plants.
 Keep Your Bearings!