Flight cancelled!

I am flying back to Bali from Yogyakarta. I will overnight in Bali to prepare for my trip to my next country.

This time I am heading to Australia.

I plan to start in Cairns, Australia and work my way down south.

My flight back to Bali is uneventful. In Bali am staying at the same hotel I previously stayed in by the airport. It seems to be much easier accessing the hotel when flying into the domestic terminal.

I use the evening to make sure I have all the documents ready I need for Australia, including making documents accessible offline – you never know when your phone data will just stop working!

My flight is supposed to be a direct flight at 11:15 am. I wake early to up to make sure I am at the terminal early like usual. I visit one of the lounges to get something to eat. In the lounge start noticing the flight is delayed. I decide this is a good time to try out another lounge at the airport to get some cocktails while I wait.

As time goes on the flight time keeps changing, getting nervous so I walk toward the gate to see what is happening.

I am flying Jetstar and their customer service is non-existent. No meaningful information is given to the travelers. Sometime in the afternoon they finally cancel the flight. Once before I’ve had a cancelled flight with Delta and they were pretty good at communicating to the travelers the plan for the next flight. Travelers on this flight are freaking out and trying to make phone calls to customer service while we await instructions. I patiently wait thinking things will be communicated to us in time. Ugh, not really. We finally figure out we need to go through reverse immigration, get our bags and someone would meet us at the airline check-in for more information.

Waiting to go through immigration the opposite way.

I seem to wait forever to claim my bag. At check-in they tell my new flight time for tomorrow (Note: the time they give is wrong). I finally get on a bus to take us to a hotel that will house us for the night. I could make my own arrangements but best to stay with the group since they should arrange all transportation and meals for us.

On the bus

We arrive at the hotel and I get my hotel room key, meal voucher and a vague instruction for tomorrow (Note: The flight time they tell us is wrong too). The hotel lobby isn’t bad but the rooms are pretty outdated. The hotel probably was pretty nice when it was first opened.

I settle in and decide to go out for a look of the ocean and order something to eat. The situation isn’t the best but we are right on the water!

I watch the sunset from a patio with drinks while listening to a duet band singing Islands in the Stream. I get to chat with some other flight passengers.

I head to bed early because I keep getting conflicting information on tomorrow’s flight time and I want to be prepared for anything: airport says 6:00 am, room notification says 10:00 am, and online says 7:00 am).

We get the morning call and make it in time for the flight so it all seems to work out. I get a well deserved coffee with my breakfast voucher.

Once arriving in Cairns, Australia I have a little bit of a wait for my van pickup. I am sad I am missing a day in the city due to my flight cancellation. I will need to pack all I really wanted to see in a shorter period of time I guess.

My hostel Mad Monkey Backpackers is great. I have a nice air conditioned private room with a private bathroom. I love the lounge area to catch up on social media back home.

Luckily I am able to move the Great Barrier tour I had scheduled for today for two days later. Tomorrow I am heading out to see the rainforest in Australia.

Yogyakarta Food Tour

Jogja fun after the food tour

Last night I was supposed to go on a food tour of Yogyakarta. Instead I set circle K on fire. Tonight I am trying to do the food tour again.

I am attending the Jogja Food Tour. Luckily the weather cooperates and I meet my tour guide at the a white monument in town. I am not the only one on the tour this time, two girls from the Netherlands are also on my tour. I am delighted because they stand out even more than I and they are the ones getting the picture requests while I am around them.

Tugu Pal Putih monument

Meat skewers are first on the menu. We pick out two to try.

To be honest I don’t remember which type I chose but one of them is probably the signature skewer of the region sate kere (made from beef or chicken intestines). It wasn’t terrible and I probably would try it again sometime.

We try some charcoal coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. We drink coffee with a large piece of charcoal inside. It tastes mostly like coffee with only a slight charcoal taste.

As we are walking to our next food location in the popular Malioboro street we make it just in time for a performance of a popular band. The main attraction is the wooden instrument called the Angklung. It produces a unique sound. The angklung plus drums and dancers makes for an entertaining performance. Luckily our guide secures us great viewing spots.

Wow! So much fun to watch.

Jajanan pasar and other sweets

After the music we are off to get some local sweets.

We take a Becak (motorbike rickshaw) to another part of town to try Java’s famous Gudeg.

Gudeg: jackfruit stewed with palm sugar and coconut milk.

Gudeg served with rice, tofu and I forget the other dish.

Jamu

We stop for Jamu drinks: Indonesia’s system of traditional herbal medicine used by many for the prevention and treatment of a variety of ailments. Each Jamu have their purpose.

Our last savory dish is at Soto Sampah restaurant where we try Soto Ayam (Indonesian style chicken soup). It is a great comfort food.

After our soup we walk to the square I visited earlier with the two large trees. The square is lively with games and fun cars you can rent to peddle around the square.

It is corny but everyone is doing it. It is a unique experience.

Here is video of the experience…..

After our little buggy ride we head to the area near the trees. Our guide tells us of a game where if you walk blindfolded and make it between the two trees then you will receive good fortune. It has rained too much recently so we skip that game in order to avoid getting trapped in mud. We did try walking on sticks. I was not good at it but a girl in my group was.

To finish off the evening we try a sweet ginger drink.

Hot ginger drink with pieces of bread.

I am so glad the weather held up. It is a great way to end my time in the great Yogyakarta. I hope to return to this special city one day.

Wandering around Yogyakarta

Taman Sari Water Castle

I am still in Yogyakarta Indonesia. I book a food tour after my long day of temples. I head down early to meet my tour leader as I tend to do. Being early I decide to get a soda at a Circle K nearby to the meeting spot while I wait. It is raining hard and it will probably make the tour not so much fun. The tour guide contacts me on WhatsApp and asks if I would like to cancel for the evening and try for the next day. I am the only one scheduled tonight so I decide it is probably better to try again tomorrow.

I contemplate getting dinner somewhere nearby. Because of the rain I sit at a table outside the circle K under the overhang while searching for a place. All of a sudden I hear a boom and a spark. The store goes dark and people are stirring on the block. Around the corner and less than 10 feet from my body an electrical fire has sparked.

I step out onto the sidewalk and away from the building. Yes indeed. The transformer is on fire.

While we are watching the fire a spark appears at the power line above and power to the block goes out.

We watch the fire while we wait for the fire truck to arrive.

I think somehow I must have caused this fire so I walk away. I find a taxi driver around the corner to get me back toward my hostel because it is raining.

Taxi driver does not understand me and drops me off 3 miles from my hotel insisting it is the correct location. He refuses to take me further and it is still raining. I notice a bunch of rickshaws bikes (I find out later the actual name is Becak – Yogyakarta traditional trishaw) with plastic coverings. This will be my ride back to my hostel.

It is a fun ride and I safely make it back to my hotel (dry). I find a place to get a quick dinner nearby and then I’m done for the night.

Exploring Yogyakarta

The next day I do some exploring around town. Because the main town areas are only a couple miles from my hostel and it is a nice sunny (hot) day I decide to get out the map and walk.

My route takes me down a bunch of residential alleys, some with some fun art.

I cross underneath an opening into the walled area that holds the palace and other landmarks. The palace seems to be closed for a special event but I explore other areas inside.

This park and this tree become a lively area at night. During the day it is hot so you only see a few brave playing sports in the park.

Alun Alun Kidul Yogyakarta

Inside the walled area there are colorful walking paths.

I see this car and think it is adorable. I realize later that night what it is for. My next post will include pictures of that.

These pot hole covers are very clever.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Part of the Sultan Palace, Tamansari was a royal bathing location and retreat built in the 1600s. Not being very large it takes me no time at all to explore the grounds.

At short walk later past some cute cafes and more wall art I come to the next big sight in town.

I find signs for the Situs Sumar Gumuling, an underground mosque and well, but it takes me a while to find the actual entrance.

I end up going into some tunnels.

Eventually I reach the very popular mosque with its odd stairs. It is a very popular place for photography.

There is a round like structure around the stairs. It is cooler there and I try hanging out in this area to wait for the crowds to die down but they never do.

As I walk out a band is playing. The drummer is using the bench drum like I saw previously in Bali.

After I head outside there are more men who want to take photos with me and more student groups who want to practice English with me. I talk to a couple student groups and then head back to my hostel to rest up for my nighttime food tour.

I am excited about seeing Yogyakarta at night!

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple

After an amazing morning visit to the Borobudur temple I head over to the Prambanan temple closer to Yogyakarta in the afternoon. It is also a 9th century temple but this one is a Hindu temple. Not as impressive as Borobudur but still a nice temple to visit.

Prambanan is a UNESCO sight that happens to be the largest Hindu complex in Indonesia. Some bricks lay outside the main temple structures that must have been remnants of a 16th century earthquake that destroyed the temples. Restoration efforts started in the early 1900’s and continue to present day. Luckily they have restored a good part of the temples for us now to enjoy.

It is a warm beautiful day at the temples. The crowds are thicker here with school children and seemingly mostly local visitors.

It is at Prambanan temple that I started to realize how popular I am in Indonesia. I stand out pretty much every where I travel (I never do a great job at fitting in) but in Indonesia I really stand out. At places like Prambanan that doesn’t get as many western tourists I am a novelty. I am used to students in south east Asia wanting to speak with me to practice their English – I even welcome it. However in Yogyakarta it proved to be a little inconvenient, especially at these temples. There were so many groups of students and not as many of “me” types so I am constantly being stopped for school projects. Besides the students there are groups of males wanting to take pictures with me. It is flattering only to a degree but then I spent the rest of my visit literally hiding behind temples until the coast is clear to go exploring again. I know it sounds like I am exaggerating but the attention is excessive. Looking back maybe I could have made time for every group of students that wanted to talk with me, maybe not. At least I hope I am a positive representative of an American while I am a guest in the country.

One of the friendly groups of students I chatted with

Walking back to the park entrance I find these fun straw creatures being assembled nearby.

I’m beat after a long day of sightseeing so I head back to my hotel to rest up and get ready for a night food tour I have scheduled. Been a great day so far in Yogyakarta, looking forward to trying to new food.

Sunrise at Borobudur

One of the most popular things to see in Yogyakarta Indonesia is the Borobudur temple. This 9th century UNESCO temple is considered to be the largest Buddhist monument on Earth.

I am going to see it at sunrise.

Borobudur temple sunrise viewing is probably the best sunrise viewing I have ever witnessed.

I almost regretted this 3 am wake up call for sunrise but I am definitely glad I went to see it.

I tried to nap during the car ride to the temple. Everything is still pitch black when I arrive. I arrive at the main building to check in and retrieve a sticker to show I have paid admission. The plan is to head out to the temple to watch the sunrise then head back to the main building for a buffet breakfast.

It is off in the dark with a little flashlight to the temple.

I get up to the top of the temple and soon the sun starts sneaking up the horizon.

I find the dragonflies flying around the temple at sunrise charming. Someone tells me their life span is very short.

I actually had tears in my eyes watching the colors off in the distance against the shadow of the mountains. I have never cried at a sunrise before.

The sun puts light on the temple so gently.

After the sun rises I view the temple in full light.

It gets quiet in areas as the crowd dies down. It really is a peaceful experience.

I descend the temple to walk to the main building get my buffet breakfast. Not memorable but I enjoy the coffee (I am so addicted).

Temple from the bottom looks very different

Video of the experience….very sorry about it being vertical.

After breakfast we head out to another temple. I am definitely going to nap on the way!