Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Heading Southeast

After a day in Jakarta, the ladies and I set off on our cross-Java perjalanan (journey) via Indonesia's rail system.  We left Jakarta's Gambir Station at 8 am, scheduled to arrive at 3 pm in Jogjakarta (or Yogyakarta or Jogja or any number of other interesting spelling options we saw), the cultural heart of Java and purportedly the place "where all the bules love to buy batik" (this according to our driver in Bali).  And buy batik we did... but more on that later.  

On our kereta api (train, but literally "fire cart") was surprisingly on-time, clean and relatively drama-free, save a rambunctious little boy in our eksekutif kelas car and an overly-long, unexplained stop in a random town along the way during which street food vendors repeatedly stuck their heads into the car and yelled to us about tofu and rice cakes and fried chicken and whatnot for an hour.

The best part about the train ride was definitely the scenery... amazing views of rice paddies and other agricultural land being hand-harvested as we chugged along, as well as shots of the volcanoes in the distance as we passed south.  Apparently if you're taking the land route from Jakarta to Jojga, the train is the way to go- it sounds like all the scenery you can see from the road is just shops and shacks, even if the rice paddies are immediately behind them.  

Another highlight of our train ride?  This guy's hat, which reads "Excellent Servant History Maker":

And the lowlight?  A squatty toilet that you were only supposed to use while the train is moving... sigh.  After I braved it, the girls decided that they would rather stop drinking liquids until our arrival in Jojga than face the roller coaster ride that is peeing on an Indonesian train. 

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