All of Java: part 2

Indonesia feels like a long ways away, mostly because there’s snow in the air as I type this.  But our pictures from the second half of our trip need to see the light, so here are some highlights from Jepara and Yogyakarta.

PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

Jepara is a city by the sea known for its wood carving and we definitely had Indonesian wood on our minds.  Joel and I have started a company called Raya Exchange and our focus is on supporting small businesses in Java by importing handmade, home goods that we sell via our web store and Charish.  So far, we had been concentrating our efforts on handwoven textiles- pillows, throws and runners- but this trip was planned in order to expand our efforts into teak furniture and planters.  We visited our furniture partner in Jepara to check out the progress of our order and we were thrilled to see our products coming together so beautifully.

PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

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Continue reading All of Java: part 2

Favorite Images: Indonesia

PTX Studio in Indonesia

Initially my idea for this post was to make a top ten list of my favorite images of Indonesia, however that soon proved to be impossible.  Scrolling through two years of blog posts there were too many memories and snapshots of unforgettable destinations for me to narrow it down to a mere ten.  So my top ten became a compilation of pretty much any image that I was fond of starting with our fantastic honeymoon in Kuta and Ubud.  I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed compiling them.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Two weekends in Solo.

PTX Studio in Surakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Solo, Indonesia

Dinner-with-the-boys-blog

The time I went to the market with Annie and made a slew of new friends.

Gang Baru Market, Semarang, Indonesia photo by Amanda McLaurin

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Gang Baru Market, Semarang, Indonesia photo by Amanda McLaurin

I’ve never been anywhere quite as special as Karimunjawa.

PTX Studio in Karimunjawa

 

Bag-head

Sunrise

Meeting the makers: batik and tenun

Batik in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

Checking out forts and trains in Ambarawa

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Ambarawa Railway Museum

Trips to Jakarta

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Potato-time

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

Exploring our city, Semarang

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Lawang-couple-spread

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Discovering Jepara

Ceramic-King

Shark-Forts

Harbor

That time we went to Borneo

Skimboarding

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Balikpapan-Airport

So many trips to Jogja

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Amanda-on-balcony

Side-eye-cock

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Temples, temples and more temples.  And one more temple.

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PTX Studio at Prambanan, ID

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I’ll miss you Indonesia!

I'll miss you Indonesia! PTX Studio

Truth be told, I can’t wait to get back to the Pacific Northwest- three weeks and counting!  The weather, the water and my beautiful, little doggy will welcome me back just in time for a glorious summer.  Living in a foreign country has been enlightening and also had its share of challenges.  But after almost two years, it’s started to feel like home and there are aspects of life in Indonesia that I’ll be missing once we’re back in Washington.  Here are a couple at the top of my list.

Continue reading I’ll miss you Indonesia!

Springtime in Central Java

| PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

Gecho Inn Country  |  PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

| PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

Gecho Inn Country   |  PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

Gecho Inn Country

Carved everything  |  PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

| PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

Lunch at Jepara Marina  |  PTX Studio in Jepara, Indonesia

As I mentioned before, our days in Central Java are dwindling, so we’ve got lots of odds and ends to tie up before leaving Indonesia to head back to Washington.  One item on our to do list has been furniture.  While prepping to move here, I downsized in a big way and most of my furniture went to Craigslist (coincidentally that’s where most of it came from in the first place).  So when we go back, we’re returning to clothes, shoes and a bunch of still-in-storage wedding gifts, but no bed, sofa or dining table and chairs.  Being the diehard thrifter that I am, Joel and I have been doing some browsing to see if should make some of those big ticket furniture purchases here.  The teak and mahogany furniture market is huge here and the prices are insanely reasonable (like reasonable enough to make up for the fact that we’d be shipping it across the world).

The pictures above are all from our trip to Jepara, the furniture capital of Central Java. We spent a long weekend there in April browsing furniture shops, meeting teak craftsmen and taking a little time to lounge by the pool.

Never Too Old for Spring Break | part two

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia\

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

So, so many photos from our week with my mother-in-law, Kirsten.  It certainly means we packed a ton of activities into our six busy days in Jogja.  The mother-son scooter was a sight to see.  With Joel driving his mom and me scooting solo, we wound through busy city streets to see the palace and Water Castle, then through rural villages to climb ancient temples.  At the temples we were photographed by local tourists like we were more exciting attractions than the colossal feats of engineering that produced five story lava rock towers covered in Hindu and Buddhist gods.   Another morning we drove south down rice paddy lined streets to the Indian ocean where Joel and I had previously never explored in our half dozen trips to Jogja.

Kirsten and I also embarked on a tour of the traditional market with a guide who schooled us on the ingredients and formulas of making jamu.  Jamu is a traditional beverage made from roots and barks that is said to cure ailments large and small.  We listened wearily to tales of jamu being prescribed to heal broken bones.  The tour concluded with a massage by a blind masseur that was interesting to say the least.  It was certainly a memorable and educational day.

With our days in Indonesia soon coming to a close, I’m glad to be taking home so many amazing memories.  This trip was one to remember.

Never Too Old for Spring Break | part one

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

 

We don’t get a lot of visitors from home seeing as how the travel time is about 20+ hours with a $900+ price tag.   But Joel’s mom Kirsten braved the crappy plane food, jet lag and exorbitant expense to come and spend our week long spring break with us and we’re so glad she did!

It was an exhilarating, action-packed week that started in the colossal, congested capital of Jakarta. We met up there for a short weekend before traveling on to Yogyakarta. Having only one full day to sightsee in Jakarta, we compiled a list of top picks sure to impress Kirsten. Unfortunately, Cafe Batavia turned out to be closed (despite the listed hours on their website) so we headed south to Cayenne Home in Kemang for breakfast and to kick off our day of shopping.   From there we drove in circles to find Pak Denny, the iron maker featured on the blog A Journey Bespoke, then hit the two biggest, fanciest malls we could find.  Finally we capped off the night with an amazing and intimate dinner at 1953 Restaurant Indonesien (that I completely failed to capture).   But don’t worry, I outdid myself with the photo taking once we got to Jogja.  Those pictures coming up next…

 

Wimarion Hotel and The Heights

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Semarang Indonesia

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

600-bed-tenun

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

PTX Studio in Semarang, Indonesia

Like any good bargain shopper, when I see a sign that says 50% off my attention is piqued.  Or rather when my husband sees the sign and says, Want to try a new restaurant where everything is half off?  The answer will always be yes.  That’s how we found The Heights restaurant in the new Wimarion Hotel.  Their grand opening this week features half off all food and beverages.   Not wanting to miss the rooftop pool (which sadly isn’t included in dinner) we got a room for the night.   We had a lovely stay-cation enjoying sprawling rooftop views, the giant plush bed and an extensive breakfast buffet.

We kicked off our evening with piping hot pizzas and icy mint juleps at The Heights. The restaurant features a cool, dark vibe reminiscent of a posh, underground speakeasy, but with much better views as it is situated on the roof.  The only thing that rivaled the band doing an acoustic Guns and Roses cover was the fantastic lightning storm raging outside.  We will definitely be returning before the rainy season is over to enjoy dinner and drinks with a side of thunderstorm.  Looking back at my photos makes me feel like I’m already due for another dip in the pool.

 

One Morning, Four Temples

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

For our first weekend away of 2017, we made a quick weekend run down to our favorite little city- Yogyakarta.  I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t y’all go to Jogja like every other weekend?!  What could possibly be left for you to see there?”  Amazingly, even after seeing Borobudur and Prambanan, there were still plenty of temples to tour.

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

First on our temple tour was Candi Kalasan which we found just by the roadside on the same street as Prambanan.   How had we driven right past this behemoth and not seen it?   In our defense there are plenty of palm trees blocking the view and I was probably concentrating hard on GoogleMaps.  Kalasan is just the one towering structure surrounded by small modest homes.

600joel-waitingPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Next we were on to Candi Sari, which just so happened to be closed.  So we took some photos from the fence and were on our way.

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia600candi-sari2-close

Temple number three, Plaosan, was actually a large group of temples and by far our favorite of the day.  The grounds were busy with photo snapping tourists, even a couple doing engagement photos which we’ve come to expect at grand locations like this.  Being the majestic backdrop that it is, we wasted no time getting photos of myself and Joel.  However Joel was the only one lucky enough to be flanked with fans in his photo.  Another cool thing about Plaoson is that you can go inside the temples.  A little dark for photos, but with the help of your trusty smart phone flash light you can see all the details.

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

By the time we reached the last temple, Ratu Boko, we’d been out in the heat all morning so we didn’t stay long.  The view of Mount Merapi in the distance was impressive despite the clouds.  We took a moment to get some photos then scurried to see the temples before the imminent rain storm blew in.  The ride back to the hotel was a good 45 minutes, but we made it just in time to nap through the storm. 600merapi-viewPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

For accommodations we chose Adhisthana Hotel which is on the same street as Greenhost Hotel, where we stayed for Christmas last year.  During our morning walks we had seen Adhisthana’s impressive, shutter covered facade that conjures up memories of Potato Head Beach Club in Bali.  The room was tiny, but what the room lacked in space the hotel made up for with their laid back, batik-chic decor.

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Joel’s mom is coming to visit in March and we’ll be headed down to Jogja and staying at this lovely villa.  This time instead of a quick weekend we’ll have five whole days to relax, shop, sightsee and eat.  I can’t wait!

 

A little Jakarta trip

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

October has been a month full of travel starting with our honeymoon in Bali, then a weekend in Jepara and finally a little jaunt to Jakarta.  But this trip wasn’t all rainbows and roller coasters; there was work to be done!  Work for Joel that is; he had a Saturday morning meeting.  He could have chosen to just fly in at 6:00am and come home that evening, but that would have made for a very long and not very fun day.  So being the party animals that we are, we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We arrived late-ish Friday evening and Saturday morning he was off to work bright and early.  I lounged around the hotel for a bit then headed out to stop number one: Pasar Tanah Abang, the largest textile market in SE Asia.  And of course I traveled by bajai!  I professed my love for the bajai on our last trip to Jakarta in February.  I truly believe I should own one of these adorable scooter-car hybrids and no matter how many times Joel tells me otherwise, I refuse to believe that it wouldn’t be street legal in the US.

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

The maze of Tanah Abang was exactly as I remembered.  Floor upon floor of small cramped walkways winding through 40,000+ stalls of clothes, accessories and fabrics.  The market’s many buildings are labeled blocks A-F, then each building has up to ten floors.  It’s massive, congested and overwhelming for a first timer.

Looking for one specific vendor is a lost cause, but that was precisely my goal.  On my last visit I had seen a stall of tassels and trims and had only a vague idea of how I might find it again.  I browsed for about a half hour before stumbling across tassel trim heaven.  After spending only $5 USD I was the proud new owner of 40 mini tassels.  They’ll get paired with some textiles to become pillows as soon as I can get back to my sewing machine.

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesiata-phone-gazer-blogPTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

After the market, Joel was done with his meeting just in time for lunch.  When prepping for a weekend in Jakarta- especially a Halloween weekend- we read lots of blogs like Manual Jakarta and Honeycombers looking for restaurants and parties.  That’s where we heard of Attarine, a new restaurant by the Potato Head group that just so happened to be debuting their lunch service that day.  What a delicious decision it turned out to be! Their menu features a variety of small plates with lots of vegetarian dishes for Joel and a giant bowl of olives for me.

PTX Studio at Atterine in Jakarta, Indonesia

We stayed at Takes Mansion and Hotel for a second time; last time with a room in the mansion, this trip in the newer hotel part.  We used the pools accordingly, this trip hotel pool, last trip mansion pool.  Sunday morning we had just enough time for a quick dip between our Car Free Day walk and heading to the airpot.

PTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

It’s funny that we’ve gone to Car Free Day on all of our Jakarta visits.  We’ve gone to the one in Semarang maybe twice and Joel said he never even went once in Jakarta despite living there for two years.  It makes sense though if you know anything about Jakarta and traffic.  Joel lived in the Kelapa Gading neighborhood in north Jakarta and Car Free Day is in central Jakarta.  If there was absolutely no traffic it would be a 20 minute trip, but in true Jakarta fashion it would typically take over an hour to make the trek.   Not worth it!

But Takes Mansion is right in the mix of central Jakarta so we were able to walk the strip of carless street from Grand Indonesia Mall to Monas.  We strolled through looking at vendors, grabbing a coffee at the now famous Starbucks and took selfies at the Monas monument.  When I first moved to Indonesia we spent my first weekend in Jakarta and Joel snapped a picture of me at the very same spot in front of Monas.  I remember how wide eyed I was about everything and everyone around me that first weekend in a foreign country and how different every aspect of the culture felt.

PTX Studio in Jakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Jakarta, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesia

During this walk, for no reason in particular I was drawn to taking photos of all the food carts along the way.  Even at the height of the popularity of the food truck scene in the US, they’re still viewed as somewhat quirky.  Food carts here are more wound into the fabric of everyday life.  They’re on every corner, serving all types of food and operate morning, noon and night.  After working for two different catering companies in the US, I have to laugh at how much red tape there was to set up a mobile food establishment back home.  In this country obtaining permits from the city to operate on the street or having a scheduled health inspection would be viewed as gratuitous and downright comical.

cf-kaki-lima1-blogPTX Studio in Jakarta, Indonesiacf-kaki-lima2-blog

After a sweaty morning walk and refreshing dip in the pool, it was time to head to the airport for our 60 minute flight home.  We planned on getting home early in the day so we could prep for work on Monday, but leaving that morning I felt a little sad that we hadn’t decided to linger later in the day for a leisurely brunch.  We’ll be back for another Jakarta weekend as part of a long layover when we head to Washington for Christmas.  Yes, a PNW CHRISTMAS!!   I’m a little excited to say the least.  I’m counting down the days until we can enjoy brisk days on a rocky beach and evenings sipping hot cocoa, listening to banjo music around a backyard fire pit.

PTX Studio in Indonesia