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

600-Jamu-stall2

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia\

PTX Studio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

600Beach-horse

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

Ending our honeymoon in Ubud

PTX Studio in Ubud, Bali

After we got our fill of bustling Kuta, we headed inland to spend the second half of our honeymoon in Ubud. ¬†Even though Kuta has a vibrant¬†bar and club scene, our nights were pretty low key. ¬†I wasn’t sure we’d be able to dial the relaxation meter any lower.

We arrived at our hotel, Anahata Hotel and Spa Resort, a little after noon. ¬†As we were checking in, the woman informed us that the one bedroom villa we had booked was sold out. ¬†When you’ve just traveled two hours into the middle of the jungle hearing your room is sold out is pretty worrisome. ¬†However she continued by telling us, “…so we’ve booked you in the three bedroom villa.” ¬†It was a welcome upgrade. ¬† The villa was ginormous, way bigger than we needed or expected. ¬†On top of that, the hotel facilities were gorgeous with pools, outdoor yoga and chess table all in a lush jungle setting with sounds of a rushing river below.

PTX Studio in Ubud, BaliPTX Studio in Ubud, Bali

We had a private plunge pool at our villa, seen in the photo above looking down into the jungle.  The larger hotel pool was about half way down to the river, just a couple hundred stairs as I later learned.  It was worth the walk down, but I was a hot sweaty mess after making the trek back up the stairs one humid morning.

PTX Studio in Ubud, Indonesia

We rented a scooter to get around which was great because we were able to stop along the way to explore.  As we drove the rice fields swayed gently waving us along to town.  The landscape and architecture is quite different from what we see in Java.  The Balinese families family compounds resemble temples and are intricately adorned.  Statues and carvings sit at every entrance and bamboo penjors hang over the street.

PTX Studio in Ubud, BaliPTX Studio in Ubud, Indonesiaover-the-road

There are ups and downs to the touristy nature of Bali, but one of the ups is tons of great shopping. ¬†Ubud’s streets are lined with¬†restaurants, clothing boutiques and shops selling trinkets of all kinds. ¬†As usual I was hoping for home goods more than clothing, but I managed to find myself a couple of colorful souvenirs in each department.

PTX Studio in Ubud, Balicolorful-shopping

Of course we had to hit the number one Ubud tourist spot- the Sacred Monkey Forest.  Even though we have our own band of monkeys at Goa Kreo in Semarang, we still had to see how the Bali monkeys would measure up to our local ones.  Ubud monkeys are much more comfortable with people, one might even call them little rascals.  Once they get a hint that you might have a banana, those little dudes are grabbing for your bag or jumping over your shoulders to get to that food.  I had both happen to me and each time I was startled enough to yelp like a little girl.

PTX Studio in Ubud, Bali

The day after the monkey forest, we made the discovery that the branches violently swaying outside our villa were actually a family of monkeys jumping around.  We spent the rest of the trip lounging by the windows watching them play.

monkey-watching

Our last day was spent slowly traveling south to the airport. ¬†You never know what the traffic conditions will be like so it’s best to always prepare for the worst. ¬†We made a point of finding a lunch spot close the the airport¬†where we could lounge¬†until it was time to head to check in. ¬†Azul Beach Club¬†fit the bill nicely-¬†decent¬†food, fruity drinks and expansive ocean¬†views. ¬†Each booth even had its own¬†oscillating¬†fan which was a nice addition to the ocean breeze.

PTX Studio in Ubud, Bali

 

Even though it took us a year to get to Bali, I can safely it won’t take us another year to¬†make it back. ¬†Hopefully we’ll have some friends or family come visit soon and give us the prefect excuse to book a return trip.

PTX Studio in Ubud, Bali

Honeymooners in Bali

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

We did it! ¬†We honeymooned in Bali and it was awesome. ¬†Most people¬†assumed that after moving to Indonesia, Bali would be my getaway, but even though it’s only a one hour flight away it took me over a year to get there. ¬†I think we purposely avoided it¬†because it’s so touristy. ¬†Also Joel had already been many times, so we when we started planning our getaways we tried to find destinations¬†a little more off the beaten path (which we definitely achieved by going to Karimunjawa!).

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Wanting to start our honeymoon off with a bang,¬†we booked a room at Ananta Legian Hotel which is located right in the middle of the action. ¬†Legian is an area between Kuta and Seminyak, two of the most high traffic¬†neighborhoods for tourists. ¬† The streets are lined with restaurants of varying cuisine and shopping from¬†posh¬†boutiques to overflowing stalls of¬†bargain¬†necklaces and pom-pom shorts. ¬†Yes, I quickly broke down and wrangled¬†myself a pair of¬†pom-pom shorts and OMG they’re the most comfortable thing ever.

PTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Ananta Legian fit the bill perfectly! ¬†With a room on the first floor we could stumble out of bed to the sparkling pool complete with swim-up bar. ¬†We had high expectations of making the three days in Kuta our party time before heading up to the serenity of Ubud. ¬†However we failed pretty hard at staying out past 9:00pm. ¬†We’re morning people through and through, so we were up with the birds each day to lounge on the beach or check out the attractions.

At the top of our sightseeing list was Uluwatu Temple, a Hindu temple built on the top of cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean.  We went on Sunday morning and the lines of worshipers dressed in white were long and dotted with brightly colored baskets of offerings.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

The line of temple goers extended down quite a few flights of stairs. ¬†The tourists stayed mostly on the outskirts, walking the path along the edge of the cliff taking selfies. ¬†We were warned about monkeys in this area; they’re very comfortable around people¬†and enjoy stealing shiny things likes sunglasses and earrings. ¬†But we didn’t see a single monkey and I was a bit disappointed. ¬†Little did I know later in the week I would be getting my fair share of monkey sightings.

PTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

After Uluwatu it was time for lunch and¬†Jimbaran Beach¬†was on the way home. ¬†It’s small a cove situated just north of¬†the airport that’s lined with umbrella covered tables. ¬†The restaurants are far from fancy, but they serve up delicious, freshly caught seafood at a fraction on the price of the overpriced¬†resorts. ¬†Feeling like honeymoon ballers, we¬†splurged on the platter that included lobster, shrimp, crab and clams. ¬†It came along¬†with soup, rice, greens, two beers and watermelon for dessert. ¬†It was more than enough for two and set us back about $45 USD. ¬†Not too shabby and quite refreshing after a sweaty morning searching for monkeys in a mountain temple perched above the sea.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

The next day we hopped a taxi to to the¬†Potato Head¬†beach club in Seminyak. ¬†It’s definitely one of the higher end beach clubs (there are so many!)¬†and it didn’t disappoint. ¬†There’s a restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the beach. ¬†With a reservation you can rent giant chaise lounge by the pool. ¬†We saved on seating by getting one of the free sofas, so we could spend on fancy cocktails. ¬†As the skies darkened, we hightailed it outta there and scored a cab seconds before the rain. ¬†Bali rain is a lot like I remember of Florida from my childhood holidays. ¬†It’s sunny most of the day until about 4:00, then for a half hour¬†the skies open up and soak everything in their path.

potato-head-spread

After the rain we headed to the beach. ¬†We’re not the surfing type and the riptide was pretty strong so most of our beach time consisted of people watching from our loungers. ¬†Every thirty seconds someone comes by selling hats, glasses, jewelry or foot massages. ¬†The sellers are generally friendly, pleasant and not too pushy, but it starts feeling depressing when the peddler is a six year old girl hawking anklets.

The¬†flip side of the beach is the dogs that joyfully bounce in and out of the surf. ¬†In Java we only see sickly-looking, street cats, almost never a dog. ¬†Bali dogs are plentiful and look generally upbeat and healthy. ¬†Surprisingly many of the street dogs had collars. ¬†We asked one of the locals and it seems that most, even if they don’t have a proper home, at least have a family or two that¬†make sure they’re fed and happy.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

After three days it was time to head inland to the jungles of Ubud.   As we drove away from Kuta I thought maybe we were making a mistake by leaving the beach, but it took about ten minutes in Ubud for me to realize I was dead wrong.  More on that soon!

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia