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.

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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!

 

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

Prambanan Temple

 

PTX Studio at Prambanan

Our favorite Java travel destination-Yogyakarta!  Jogja, as it’s known in these parts, is a cultural mecca on the southern coast of Java that’s full of history and surrounded by temples.  On our first trip to Jogja last year,  Borobudur won out as our top temple to visit and we were not disappointed.  I would say it was spiritually moving, but I think the heat distracts my brain from having any kind of heavy, divine thoughts.  Nonetheless, we loved learning the history of the structure and we were flattered by the minor celebrity status that we received as the token white people.

Having conquered Borobudur meant that we would move down our list of Must See Temples so this trip we would be taking on Prambanan.   Also a World Heritage Site, Prambanan was constructed in the 9th century and is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.

PTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at Prambanan

It’s also worth noting that Boys II Men had a concert at Prambanan last August.  While  scooting through Semarang Joel pointed out a billboard advertising the concert and I nearly fell off the bike.  My devastation set in when I realized that the show had taken place the previous weekend.  Motown Philly was an important piece of artistic expression of my youth and being able to relive that as a grown-ass-adult in Indonesia would have been a juxtaposition of earth shattering proportion.  I die a little inside every time I remember my shitty timing; but I did my best to put that out of my mind as we made our way around the complex.

PTX Studio at Prambanan

They’re really bringing together the old and the new with the Instagram frame out front.  I think this scene makes it official that Instagram has taken over the planet.

You can see from the piles of rubble on the outskirts of the complex just how devastating earthquakes are to ancient temples.  Mount Merapi is just a stones throw away and erupts regularly so the region definitely has it’s far share of tectonic drama.  Rumor has it the master plan is to rebuild it all gradually and there were some areas under construction.  But the piles of bricks go on and on so rebuilding will be slow and arduous.  I don’t envy anyone facing that task!

PTX Studio at Prambanan

Just after I mentioned to Joel that I was so happy people were respectful of the ‘no climbing’ signs I saw this little girl having her photo taken on the ledge.  In her defense, she didn’t climb up, she was gently placed by her daddy.  As long as she’s not pushing bricks off the edge, I think they’ll let her slide.  And it pales in comparison to the American National Park vandals making the news lately.

PTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at Prambanan

There is little shade inside the complex unless you’re in the shadow of a temple.  Even arriving at 8:00am didn’t save us from some pretty severe sweating.  We knew the drill since our visit to Borobudur was similarly scorching, so we were prepared with lots of water.  We took a short train ride around the Prambanan complex that offered a reprieve in the way of a small breeze.  The scooter ride home was nice and windy too.

PTX Studio at Prambanan

Our weekend solidified Jogja as my number one Javanese city for sightseeing, maybe even my favorite spot in Indonesia.  We’re headed to Bali next week for our honeymoon so we’ll see if it can steal my heart away from Jogja.  Even visiting during the height of tourist season, Jogja felt as authentically Indonesian as ever.  We’ll see if Bali can say the same!

PTX Studio at Prambanan