The neon cars of Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta Indoenesia Alun Alun neon carsNeon cars all around the night market in Yogyakarta

📍 Jakarta, 13th of August 2018.

Vitamines for breakfast in Jakarta

Today started with a huge anticipation and excitement about finally getting breakfast in the hotel. Strangely enough, although there is plenty of food available everywhere nonstop, we continuously fail to eat regularly and are oftentimes starving - I guess too many distractions. Unfortunately, the plain fried rice was rather unimpressive (or as David called it "nonsense breakfast"), so we ended up ordering various fresh juice combos (not the worst that can happen) - mango, jackfruit, melon, guava, starfruit... Those were very refreshing and sweet (I suspect they add sugar to it?), so the morning was saved 😉

All pumped up with vitamins and sugar, we spent the first half of the day planning our next few days and catching up with emails before our flight to Yogyakarta. We chose to fly to Yogya instead of taking a train or a bus from Jakarta because it was only slightly more expensive but was much more convenient in terms of timings and saved us about 5h.

Flying to Yogya with Batik Air

Lost in time, we had to rush to the airport. Luckily, traffic was on our side and the whole security procedure took only 15 mins from arrival through luggage drop-off and arriving to the gate (we were flying from the domestic airport, which seems to be much smaller). As frequent travellers, we started to take out liquid bags, laptops, cameras, finishing and throwing out water bottles - only to find out nobody cares about it here 🙂 Interestingly, next to the hand luggage scan there was a huge box full of confiscated knives and scissors - looks like these are the only two objects you really can't take on board 😉

Mr David's vanilla latte

In the end, our flight was delayed by an hour. In itself not a big deal, however the absence of updates on the information boards and incomprehensible announcements made the situation a bit more unnerving. Coffee time!

The Batik Air (local midscale airline) flight with an airbus was alright, we even got some water and Berliner-looking pastry (meh tasting though). The highlight was a conversation with the guy sitting next to us. He was traveling back home after applying for a visa to continue his medical studies in the UK. Next year he is getting married, his fiancé and him currently in the middle of planning their traditional wedding of expected 1600 guests. Wow. Traditionally, though, it's the bride's family organizing and paying for the entire ceremony, so he, himself, had very little to worry about. I wonder how families with multiple daughters handle this .

The friendly 26 years old was eager to share with us tips on where to go and what to eat in Yogya and Bali. After the "it's a very cheap hotel, only 100 dollars a night" and the "they have great European food", we realised we were probably interested in different things, but politely still wrote everything down.

The neon evening at Alun Alun

Alun Alun neon cars

Having checked in Pose In Hotel where we are going to be staying for 3-4 nights (yes! not repacking every day), we went to check out Alun Alun Kedul just around the corner. The square is very popular at night as it is crowded with tourists, food booths and neon-lit cable and pedal cars circling around - making it a very lively nightlife destination. We skipped the ride, but enjoyed observing everyone else dancing to the beat of their selection (every car is equipped with a little tablet), taking selfies and disregarding the traffic. We did see an accident if you can call it like that - looked like a group of 4 young people forgot that even if the car is moving 5km/h, you still need to steer the wheel. Who knew? 😉

Hungry again (or still), we went for a boksa soup with noodles. It was very cheap and tasty, although it looked like it was made out of packaged instant noodles with food additives, which is what probably made the soup so flavourful. For a quick snack it was ok.

Grilled fish and rice

The dinner continued with a fried fish, rice and veggies. Again, it was alright, but nothing really special - the fish was rather dry, but filling. For 22k IDR (1.3 EUR) including two ice teas, can't really complain. To be honest, even though from the first glance the square offers an abundance of choice in terms of food, when you really start looking for something you'd like and sommething that is not deep-dried nor is corn, the choice gets very limited. There are surely better places for street food in Yogya.

On the way to the hotel we took a wrong turn and were grateful we did. We ended up having to make a detour around the city wall through some smaller quiet streets with private houses. As if we were invited to come to the backstage of a theatre - it felt we entered a secret place to see the life beyond tourist attractions, where people just went about their household chores or chilled on porch chatting. Every single person and home we passed greeted us with a hello and a big smile, as if we were old friends. It was nothing extraordinary, but the warmth of strangers somehow made it feel very magical. Getting lost absolutely pays off.

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