This seems to happen every time I travel. The calendar conspires against me to confound my plans. Today, you see, was New Years Day. This means that many of the things we might have seen, such as the Sultan’s Palace, were closed. Also, the city is overall much quieter.
Nevertheless, P found something for us to do nearby. We went to a batik factory where we learned how batik fabric is made. Basically they design a pattern, and outline it in beeswax.
They also use stamps to apply the beeswax.
From there the fabric is dyed.
Then they boil the fabric to remove the wax. If they want to layer on additional colors they can apply more wax, dye it again, and boil it again.
I made this. Well mostly I picked out the stamps, and I even applied the first layer of wax to the corner stamps, with the rest being made to my specifications, so that’s cool.
Then they used these retro sewing machines (I don’t think they are intentionally retro, however) to hem the edges. These machines were made in China, but the stands on which they sit say “Singer” all over them. They remind me of my grandmother, who could do incredible things with this type of sewing machine.
After making our own personal batik cloth, we shopped a little bit and headed out.
As it turns out P and I are working at somewhat of cross-purposes. He intends not to get sick at all, and thereby wishes to not take any risk with eating. I also don’t want to get sick, but wish to manage my risk while still trying new places and new flavors as much as possible. His approach has tended to translate to eating only at the hotel. Because of conspiracy of schedule and the holiday, I haven’t been able to challenge this approach much, although even people at the hotel have suggested we should eat elsewhere. I moved him a little bit at lunch today. He was willing to try new places, but this being New Years Day, we had no luck finding anything open.
Alas, we ended up back at the hotel eating. I don’t even remember the name of what I ate, but there was coconut flower, tofu, chicken, and rice in a coconut curry. It was utterly delicious. It’s hard for me to complain too much at this point as it isn’t like we have exhausted the menu here, and everything has been wonderful.
Given that much of the city was closed down, this was a good afternoon to relax in and by the salt-water pool. This sounds like it isn’t chlorinated, but it is. They just use electrolysis to produce the chlorine.
Come dinnertime, and after much searching on TripAdvisor (and consultation with the front desk) I had P willing to head out in search of food. I had no commitment to actually eat anything, but he was willing to consider his options, so this was a start. I was searching for good basic Javanese food. My first choice of restaurant was still closed, but I had a street in mind, and a couple specific restaurants. Thus it came to pass that we headed bravely north into the Yogya night. We walked down streets with no sidewalks, dodging cars and motorcycles driving randomly on whatever side of the road fit their whim.
The first restaurant was not to be found. This was consistent with what I had read, but I still had hope. We forged fearlessly forward, passing many restaurants of unknown quality (but looking OK), finally finding the warung that I had in mind, sitting cleanly underneath a corrugated metal awning.
I immediately found about 10 items I could eat on the menu. P looked askance at the menu and indicated that nothing there would suit him as they all contained seafood (in reality they all came with shrimp chips – which are like puffy styrofoam potato chips). The server was not to be dissuaded and flipped the menu over. No mention of shrimp chips this time. P finally acceded and we took our seats.
The cook came by and made a suggestion for me (nasi soto – traditional Javanese yellow chicken soup).
P chose on his own (tahu campur – fried tofu with peanut sauce).
The food came and both dishes were thoroughly enjoyable. Both were cooked (important measure of food safety here), but mine was a soup that was near boiling. P was more comfortable with the idea of scalding hot soup. I frankly preferred his dish anyway, so we switched and enjoyed our dinners, both of our purposes having been served.
From there we wended our way back to the hotel. We looked for dessert, but nothing really excited us. We stopped briefly at the supermarket to pick up some local candy, chips, and water, before finding our way back to our rooms and settling in for the night.