Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yogyakarta: Day 1

Trains get old. Actually, a day on a train isn't terrible, but the prospect of 2 more long days is daunting and unpleasant. The 'plan' I'd devised on the flight in was to get to Yogyakarta Saturday, hit Borobudur and move on Sunday. Hike Bromo on Monday and get to Bali Tuesday to meet up w/ my friends.

Upon getting to Yogyakarta ~5pm on Saturday, I revised this plan. Better to hole up in Yogyakarta and skip Bromo. Bromo might be beautiful, but I'll have to settle for nature in Komodo. Otherwise I'll wind up spending more vacation on trains and buses then anywhere worth being.

Wondering down the main street between the train station and the Kraton (Sultan's Palace), there are an absurd amount of clothes shops, motorcycles, petty cab bikers, and horses.

I like Yogyakarta. It bustles, but doesn't smell. The people aren't overly pushy. Don't look at the petty cab drivers and they mostly leave you alone. As I get close to the Krayton, I find out it is closed and I realize I have no clue what I'm doing. I consult the guide, pick a 'top end' hotel that's semi-close and decide to go. I'll try to find a travel agent there and arrange my flights to and from Bali. A long weekend isn't enough time for too much play-it-by-ear wandering.

It turns out this 'top-end' hotel is not just an 'Indonesia top-end' hotel. The lonely planet's $40 claim is less that 1/3 of the price. I decide I hate the Lonely Planet b/c it just makes me feel like I'm getting ripped off all the time. I'm not poor. I'm not trying to bleed out a month of traveling on a limited budget. If anything, I have the opposite problem of too little time. It's a bit pricey, but it's 2 nights top, has a travel agent in the building and a casting call for hair models on the second floor.

My room is nice. It overlooks a swanky pool w/ fountains and palm trees. I head down to the travel agent and book a flight to Bali for $60. Problem 1 solved. I also arrange for the return trip to Jakarta from Bali. Problem 2 solved. Hire a private car to Borobudur while I'm at it? done. I'm throwing money around and it's solving everything. And as long as I don't look at the Lonely Planet and read about the $5 bus where people will slash your bag to steal your stuff, I don't care. Hiring a car for $30 is a sweet deal.

Now free from concerns about my travel plans, I'm able to enjoy dinner and drinks by the pool. The weather is great, the place is beautiful, but the beer is still crap.

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