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.
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.
Next on our list was Yogyakarta, affectionately known as Jogja. This portion of the trip was a little bit business, a little bit pleasure. Jogja is our favorite city so we always have a good time scooting about seeing old friends, visiting our favorite restaurants and taking in the sights like the Affandi Museum.
We met Ina from Animal Friends Jogja and got to meet all the dogs that she’s rescued from the dog meat trade in Indonesia. We purchased some AFJ tote bags to support their cause and brought them back to Seattle where they were sold on Joel’s cousin’s doggie food truck.
Our two weeks in Java hit on almost all of our favorite spots that we enjoyed while living there. It was also a glimpse into the future of our business that should hopefully be taking us back to Indonesia on a fairly frequent basis. If you’re interested, you can learn more about our business and the artisans we partner with at RayaExchange.com.
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.
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.