Today we woke up early to take the train to Surabaya. The train station at 6:30am had people singing Karoake, not sure why they think this is what we want to listen to this early but let it be.
We got on the train and then were informed we were sitting in the wrong section, we had gotten first class (you say backpacking?) so ran to our appropriate seats which were quite nice in a full air-con car. In the process of running to the right section Eitan dropped our snack bag, a very sad moment as we starved for the next 5 hours. But given how cheap things are here later in the day we were able to replace all our snacks for 4 bucks!
We arrived at our very Indonesian looking and cute hotel and wait straight to lunch at the hotel. We were quite hungry due to our snack bag going MIA. It was then Sarah’s turn for some explo diarrhea so she decided to rest as Eitan explored the city.
Eitan went to the visit the bird market, they sell every type of flying creatures from pigeons to endangered species (bad bad bad); it is basically an outdoors pet store.
Eitan returned about 2 hours later and Sarah was feeling a bit better so then she joined him to see the town which is much better than Surabaya. We decided that we are staying in the Silverlake of Yogykarta as it looks very hipster. We walked into this one place thinking it was an art exhibit and realized they were practicing for a music show later that night. We clearly were not supposed to be there but I think they are intrigued to see white people so they let us stay and we listened to the talented jazz musician.
The next day we woke up at 3:00 am to get picked up by our driver to take us to Borodubur Temple, but the asshole didn’t show up so we went back to sleep (lesson learned, we keep forgetting we are in a 3rd world country). After resting we decided we will be booking and actual reliable tour to the temples.
Our first stop at Surabaya was the Water Castle (Taman Sari), this is a former royal garden where the sultans (Indonesia was a Sultanate before the Dutch took control) relaxed. Built in mid 18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions, such as a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defense area, and a hiding place.
The place is a labyrinth full of underground tunnels, stairs and fake doors. They say the sultan killed the architect of this place so nobody will know about his secret rooms.
We then walked to the Sultan’s Palace (Kraton), there was a school trip walking in the opposite direction. They were intrigued by us and everybody wanted a picture with the white tourists. We then realized this is a common occurrence in Java as there are not many tourists, and it becomes really, really, really annoying after a while.
We reached the Sultan’s Palace and because it was Sunday, the Royal Indonesian Ballet was performing for free. We stayed for a few minutes as the dances are extremely slow, repetitive and boring for us. The costumes were beautiful so we took some more photos of the performers.
We walked around the Palace and then we prepared to go to Prambanan Temple Sunset. Post to come.
Bonus pic of the day: In the birds market they sell this endangered chicken species originally from Madagascar, these are named Neon Chickenus and they even lay neon colored eggs! (disclaimer: Obviously these chickens are not this color naturally)
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We saw a similar bird market in Hong Kong. And Sarah looks tall next to Indonesians!