Finally At A Destination

We landed almost an hour late, got through immigration, got P’s bag, and made our way to the hotel, finally settling in at almost 2 am. I think P was a bit taken aback by the security guard at the gate of our hotel compound, whereas I was less surprised, having experienced something similar in Uganda.

The hotel also had a metal detector. We walked right through with our bags and nothing sounded, which left me to wonder what one must do to warrant further inspection. Perhaps it is just a placebo. Or perhaps we are the beneficiaries of racial profiling.

There was free bottled water on the dresser. That’s because one of the rules here is: don’t drink the tap water. There is a very high rate of contamination by coliform bacteria.

I slept much better than P, despite being butt-dialed by Mom sometime in the middle of the night. I’m sure she meant well. In the morning we went and had the hotel breakfast. P stuck with more traditional fare, whereas I immediately went for things that I can’t pronounce but looked delicious. And they were. I didn’t take any pictures, but suspect the hotel food may be the most pedestrian examples of our dining experiences here, so I am definitely looking forward to this evening.

What else happened in Jakarta? NOTHING. We checked out of the hotel (nicely decorated for Christmas). Then we went to the airport, got SIM cards for our cell phones, and hung out in the lounge waiting for our flight to Yogyakarta. 

I helped myself some of the food in the lounge (it was all cooked, so hopefully safe) whereas P had a granola bar. I may or may not suffer the consequences of these decisions, but I am hopeful and perhaps unduly optimistic.

The 50 minute flight to Yogyakarta included a snack and beverage service (twice). Despite an interior marked by possibly the worst color scheme in aviation history (brown and teal) the flight itself was great. We landed at Yogya, made a u-turn at the end of the landing strip, and parked near the terminal. A taxi took us to our hotel where we checked in and got settled.

Yogyakarta is a sprawling city with over 2 million people in the local metropolitan area, with a population density greater than Chicago or Boston, but not quite as great as New York. And they also don’t have the affluence of these other cities with a per capita income of about $3,500 in 2011. Riding into town we frequently found ourselves surrounded by swarms of mopeds. Mopeds are much less expensive than cars so become a primary means of transport for many people.

The hotel is an absolutely lovely tropical oasis in the middle of town. When you enter the hotel envelops you and shuts out the outside world. They have a saltwater pool as well as a very good restaurant – which is probably good, as this does not seem like a city that is as conducive to random wandering as has generally been my wont.

We ate dinner – I had Nasi Goreng, which was delicious, and then were almost spent. Still, with New Years Day approaching we were advised that this would be a good night to visit Malioboro Street Market, which is a long street with both stores and stalls lining it on both sides.

The guidebook suggested that this would be a good place to seek out souvenirs, but we found little to interest us – mostly there seemed to be a lot of clothes, purses, and shoes. Exhausted, we gave up and found a cab to take us back to the hotel where we slept.

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