Down and out in central Java

“Let’s go to Central Java, you and your friends can stay at my uncle’s”. In couple of hours, we already were all ready to go and finding train and bus tickets on internet.

That’s where suprise came: there is no internet website whatsoever for buses, and train tickets are fully booked two weeks before. Medium distance transportation infrastructure is based on tiny bus companies, who as I understood own maybe two or three buses each. There is no information on what time these buses will go, only word-of-mouth exchange of their phone numbers. Luckily, my friend Dwi has an acquaintance who knows the driver so we can find a seat.

But well, weren’t we here for adventure..?

Apparently, all buses to Magalang leave at 17h in the afternoon. So, we book tickets and we agree to meet at four at the bus terminal. Some of us are late, and here comes the second surprise: the bus driver wants to leave earlier . How come, isn’t there a fixed time, our tickets are booked.. we resolve engaging him into small talk about european football – here everybody is a football fan – and convince him to wait until everybody is here.

The family in whose house we stayed was super nice and welcoming, they gave us lots of food and were happy to host us. The village is rural, they grow catfish, chicken and ducks.

Apart from the logistic problems to get there, central java is super nice. First visit we paid was to Prabaman – 10th century hindu temple, one of the best views in Indonesia. It’s currently under restauration after an earthquake stoke it in 2006, and you can notice that most of the complex is actually ruins.

The day after I experienced my first visit to an active volcano. Mount Merapi – literally, fire mountain – had is last eruption in november 2010, being responsible for the death of 353 people. Being there feels like witnessing a recent tragedy. Everything is grey and ash, walls from broken houses and dead trees. Even thought some people still live there today. The locals show us a lot of respect for the volcano and tell us a legend about the former guardian, who didn’t want to leave his house and died in the last eruption.

Afterwards, we went shopping and sightseeing in Yogjakarta, another city close to there. These are the five of us (Martijn, Maxine, Kim, me and Dwi) in a beautiful rice field on the way. The last is one of the thousands pictures that the locals took us in Malagang. In these villages it’s quite rare to meet one of us white giants, let alone four together. The children were super shy when it came to approach us, but finally they found the courage to ask us to take a picture together before we left.

Finding transportation to come back to Jakarta was another adventure; Dwi was super nice and patient and called maybe ten bus companies, to find which solution was the best. Covering the 800 kms of road costed us, due to traffic and underdeveloped road system took us around 18 hours, but we arrived safe and sound to destination, ready to start the work week =)

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