From Borobodur to Jogja, we had glimpses of Merapi's peak along the way as the clouds cleared off and on. The guys especially were still frustrated of not getting a good close-up of it. Hence, Anang made a special detour to Babadan, another route up the Merapi. The first instant we could view Merapi clearly, the guys made Anang stop and off they scurried to a nearby paddy field to begin their picture-taking spree. Whilst listening to Anang's 'lectures', I eyed the earnest two guys in various awkward stances, wanting to capture the best of Merapi! (squatting, kneeling and even lying supine, I think, hehe)
Then we entered Kota
The Friday prayer's sermon was given by someone with a crisp clear voice and we understood him eventhough it was in Bahasa Indonesia. However the text was very general with no specific message except to be a good Muslim. But Alhamdulillah that we managed to pray in an old masjid built by a strong ancient Muslim Empire!
Next, we ventured next door to the royal graveyard of the Sultans of Mataram. There were several 'gazebo's where the Juru Kunci were stationed. They are the officials who take care of the makam. With big trees shading and constant cool breeze blowing, the place was absolutely balmy and peaceful. The Juru Kunci were all fully attired in the traditional Mataram costumes with their keris stuck into their sarung waistline at the back. They sat serenely on the floor in the gazebo, queitly, doing almost nothing, hehe (some were smoking kretek, I think). This made me make a witty remark to Boogey's wife, " Senang nya hidup dia orang, relax betul. " And she replied, " Ha'ah. And I thought my job was the most relaxed on earth! Rupanya ada yang lagi relax! This I must tell my friends who envy me! Hehe"
Admiring the fine intricate wood-work of the door to the Makam
(I have left out an important thing regarding this trip i.e. our eat-outs and the food. Our first lunch was a stop before reaching Jogja. A Javanese eatery selling gastronomical array of dishes. There was Gudek, nangka cooked with dry spicy gravy. Ikan bakar with sambal served on a flat stone plate. I saw some people 'tenyeh' bird chillie and ate along with the fish. The look on their faces shows how scrumptious the dish is. Perhaps the stone plate, very much like flat lesung enhances its flavor, that's why! But the guys felt that Javanese dishes were not for their taste-buds, hence it was Padang food all the way after that!
The Padang restaurants had this unique way of serving. They would fill up small plates of every dish they have and spread them on our table. Once you touch a dish it's considered taken! The boys loved Padang cooking. Once Boogey feasted on goat brain cooked masak lemak and Ikelah kept topping up on the spleen dish till the restaurant ran out of it!! Horror! They might think that Malaysians are big-eaters! Anyway I have my reservation on Padang dishes. I felt that they were too spicey and flat. At one point I even thought that a dish tasted like the Jamu I had after giving birth!)
Finally, we headed for the two and half hours journey back to Solo. Since we needed to do some last minute shopping, we had to rush straight to the batik market before it closes at 5pm. Batik Solo is apparently different and some say has better design. Since we were rushing, my myopic impression was that their choice of color was limited to only various shades of brown and I found them boring, much to iKelah's annoyance! So, no, I didn't find anything realy interesting to buy. Nor did I find any shop that sell good collection of tudung as suggested by QOTH.
After checking in a hotel for the night, we rested and had dinner in yet another Padang restaurant. Ikelah and I opted for a trishaw ride to a nearby shopping mall and bought some books in a book-shop. The Indonesians are truly cultured and earnest people, confirmed by their dilligent work in translating popular english novels, like those by Tom Clancy and many others. Even National Geography was sold in bahasa Indonesia! Fancy that! Still on that note, Boogey made an observation worth mentioning here i.e. the Bahasa Indonesia has about the same amount of vocabulary as Bahasa Malaysia but the Indonesians use substantially more of their vocab than we do!! And I do agree. That's why when an Indonesian person verbalize, they tend to do it smoothly with fluidity with not much stammering nor pauses in contrast with many of us who love to interject with 'aahhh', 'hmmmm', 'apa tu' etc as if trying hard to retrieve a word, :))
Three days were not enough to savor all the goodness there but enough for us to say that we loved the place and the people. An amazing trip full of knowledge, fun and banter and of course sampling a piece of an Indonesian life! Alhamdulillah!
Special note: I think it is unfair to let these entries go without inviting Boogey's wife a.k.a. Mrs Moss to leave her comments regarding the trip. So Mrs Moss, please drop in and say your dues!
Next: (ada lagi ke???) My special tribute to Anang, our trip driver there. He deserves a special mention!