Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PADANG FOOD GALORE. OF SPLEEN AND BRAIN! : AN INDONESIAN EXPERIENCE PART 3

On the final day, we made a last sight-seeing around Jogjakarta and as expected our two 'National Geographic' photographers wannabe, couldn't have enough of the city! They giddily snapped every interesting subject and object in sight and even made Anang slow down or even stop the Kijang amidst the traffic. (sabor jek la!!) As usual, Anang provided us with good info about the historical background of the buildings and places, political details included too.

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 GedikGede, a Kraton belonging to the Mataram Sultanate back in the 1500s and 1600s. As Friday prayer was approaching we went straight to Masjid Agung Mataram. Outside the compund were dwellings of those who worked there. One of which sold various keris Mataram which are greatly coveted by keris lovers. Boogey owns one and was excited to view the collection there. Besides the usual keris Mataram, they have the Sultan's keris which is much better in design and is very intricate, with gold lining the 'lok's, delibrately made for enemies who are 'kebal' to iron. Of course, it comes with a steep price of several juta rupiahs! Later, Ikelah, later!

The Masjid Agung of Mataram



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"


The Jurukunci sitting cross-legged in their full costumes




Admiring the fine intricate wood-work of the door to the Makam
(hands of Paul Mossanother photographer blocking)


Apparently they still perform an ancient tradition of exalting the sultans by doing some ancient rituals at the graves every Fridays. Just a simple ado but intriguing, no doubt. It was done in a quiet and sombre mood with no fanfares whatsoever, so a visitor like us could have missed it easily. I managed to see the Jurukunci walk in file carrying yellow cusions. The person in front was shaded with an old parasol, probably he was carrying something sacred or something. A lady wearing a 'kemban' attire trailed behind and I caught her performing a strange gesture upon entering the grave-yard: she touched the stone-steps twice with her bare hands, probably an act exclusive for a woman entering the sacred ground?

(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!

15 comments:

mynn said...

Romantic nya gambar!! Macam honeymoon lah...

Edward Ott said...

Nice article, of course now i am hungry, and having a craving for goats.

Salam

pycnogenol said...

I was about to say that mynn....The smile on the faces of the happy couple says it all - that it was indeed a happy, fulfilling trip. And, we are all so happy for you too, DrRoza and Ikelah.

P/S: I can see that somebody is putting to good practice the 'scratch/strike' mark, just learnt. What next, I wonder... ;))

And 'brain masak lemak'?? For all you know, the brain might just still be thinking...!@#%& I've tried 'fried brain' once, but tell you, I wasnt thinking when I was eating it.... ;))

Mama Sarah said...

sungguh romantik!

mynn, lamanya i nak tunggu anak besar baru dapat pergi honeymoon?

"later, ikelah later" so kelakar, DITH!!! you have a gift of writing!

p/s: pycno's comment is so funny.

kenakelayan said...

Brain masak lemak was not bad at all. Sedap ke makan all the T cells and B cells dalam spleen tu? :D

I think the boys' love of Padang cooking is in the blood DITH.. did they ever take you to the restoran nasi padang near Pak Min's clinic?

dr in the house said...

Mynn- Frankly, I didnt even feel as though we were on honeymoon. Because my impression of a honeymoon is that of newlyweds who are still immature and giddy headed but not necessarily so much in love. Whilst this trip was made by mature couples (one couple has been married for 22 yrs!) who has undergone many up and downs and but still very much in love, ehem!

Edward- and how do you cook your goat's meat may I ask?

Pycno- Thank you for feeling happy for us, dear friend! Yes, I have learned to do the scratch mark. Ilmu yg berguna adalah ilmu yg dimanafaatkan! :))

Mama Sarah- Pycno is a veteran expert on witty comments. He even has a best-seller called ' Writing Blog Comments For Dummies':))

KKL-Nope Ikelah knows not of that Padang restaurant. If T cells are produced in the thymus, whatabout B cells?

kenakelayan said...

Hehehehe.

T cells undergo 'education'/selection in the thymus, but like B cells are produced in the bone marrow.

The B by the way, stands for 'bursa of Fabricius', which was serendipitously discovered to be the site of B cell maturation in chickens. The name just stuck, like many other terms in immunology. The guy just happened to be reading 'Poultry Science'. To my knowledge, to this day, exactly why an immunologist had an interest in fowl research remains a mystery. :)

Mama Sarah said...

"writing blogs comments for dummies"

so funny tergolek-golek lah. I might need it for my reference in the future. But am a cheapskate, do they have a downloadable version of it?

Am looking at your photo dalam beca. Terserlah dan terpancar seribu keceriaan!!!!!

Must make mental note, after 22 years of marriage : kena pergi visit juga.

hiyoshi said...

Lost my appetite when it came to the brain and spleen part. Give me milk and cookies any day T_T

But I really liked the beca picture!

drroza said...

KKL- Fowl research? Are you sure it wasnt 'foul' research instead? hehe

Mama Sarah- Sebenornya, both of us were laughing our heads off because the beca man had a hard time making the beca move! haha

Hiyoshi- kalau setakat nak makan milk and cookies, I have a suggestion for a good holiday destination for you!
SESAME Street!!! heheh

kenakelayan said...

Fowl encounters of the foul kind... ehehe. Some fowl play somewhere?

neemo said...

The last picture is simply priceless. HEHEHE! =D

Kulo said...

Thanks DITH. It was a fun trip wasn't it?

love the sceneries, the people...
Anang was very pleasant to be with as you've mentioned. He didn't even mendengus melayan kerenah kita berempat.And because of him we got to know about the sacred cave in which pak guru -pak guru meditated at parangritis.

But i just can't seem to 'not to laugh'when picturing Ikelah's face after that Mbok (at the stall nearby Borobudur)served the teh susu...heheh.

Lepas ni ke mana? Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields?

P/S If only others could see for themselves how our hubbies dok melompat kat bendang dan semak to get the best view of Merapi.

drroza said...

Kulo? Puas ler kawe dok memikir sape ler pulok Kulo nih, :))

Yes it was fun. And even more fun when picturing back in our minds those funny moments.

Unfortunately we couldnt get a pic of them in those weird stances, :p

Lepas ni, insyallah somewhere cheap and accessible just like Jogja!

Thanks for dropping by! Ni yang mahal ni. Kena berjemput!! Hehe

Paul Moss said...

Well well well who do we have here? Mrs Moss?
That beca pic was the best shot I got in Yogya. Even Ikelah couldn`t beat that. He was busy trying to meringankan badan sendiri for the beca to move and when he failed he just laughed which only worsen the weight distribution. How can you possibly think you can do that by merely kempiskan perut? The abang beca had to pusing here and pusing there to get the inertia. I had to move here and there also to get a good clear sight.

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