Life with the boys
Yogyakarta, Java Island
The flight to Yogyakarta was rough, there was a woman beside me who was coughing the whole time. I was unsure what was wrong with her but she did not cover her mouth once, it was gross so I had to bundle up to try and protect myself.
When I arrived the humidity in the air was thick, sweat started pouring out as I was carrying my 13 kilograms of baggage plus my day pack looking for a taxi. The airport taxis are always more expensive than walking down the street to negotiate a fair price. As I was leaving I walked past a man with a motorbike who asked “taxi sir.” With my two bags I was hesitant but for half the price I was sold. I met up with Chris and Pat at a hotel in the tourist area just of Jalan Malioboro. It was a pretty brutal hotel but thankfully they had just booked for one night.
We went out and toured around the town for a little bit. We had some dinner and a few beer. I was stunned to find out that there is an Indonesian law banning the sale of alcohol in corner stores. The prices of of alcohol were unreasonable when looking to buy a bottle of rum. With alcohol only available in restaurants and cafes paying somewhere around $120 Canadian does not fit within the budget.
I got a mattress and slept on the floor at the hotel. After asking the hotel employee if they had any blankets he just said no and laughed as he walked away. I was only able to get about 30 minutes of sleep throughout the night. Chris and Pat didn’t sleep much better. The call to prayer was blaring from the mosque at 0400 am.
In the morning we decided to check out and rented motorbikes for a few days in anticipation of heading to the beach for an overnight stay. We made our way to Borobudur temple and it was Pat’s first time on a motorbike. He took a spill going around a corner, hit the gas and sand at the same time and the bike went down. The fall wasn’t too bad, only a little bit of road rash on the leg and arm. There were about a hundred people at the traffic light watching, a local man came running to help when he saw it happen.
We eventually made it to Borobodur temple, it was extremely hot and humid outside. We were all pouring out sweat. It was at least 95% Indonesian people at the temple. At the peoples request we must have taken 90 photos with the local people in a two hour period of time. It was like having paparazzi. They were lined up and so happy to have the photos that it didn’t bother us. The temple was beautiful, it was nice to have a few moments to just relax from the photos and enjoy it.
After getting lost on the way back and ending up halfway to Jakarta I made it back to Yogyakarta and we hung out by the pool and explored the city. The room with air conditioner was under repairs so we were stuck in a fan room with only one fan. It was like trying to sleep in a sauna, almost impossible.
We decided the next day it would be best to just head to Bali to spend most of our time there. There is a law in Indonesia that alcohol cannot be sold in convenience stores and must only be sold in cafes and restaurants. The price of alcohol was outrageous in Yogyakarta. There are areas within the country that are exempt from the law and are allowed to sell alcohol so the prices are cheaper but still heavily taxed because it is a muslim country.
We booked flights and made it to Bali for $40 Canadian. At the airport I met a local DJ who became a friend of mine, he said that the taxi in Kuta from the airport shouldn’t cost more than 50,0000 IDR (Indonesian Rupees). The taxi driver quoted us at 300,000 IDR ($30 Canadian) so we walked away. We ended up paying 100,000 IDR to just get ourselves to the hostel. We stayed at a place called Captain Goose, it had a great pool.
The atmosphere was what we were looking for, there were backpackers and people from all over the world travelling staying there. A short walk to the beach and bars the location was on a quiet street that came off as a perfect location. Pat and Chris took a late night trip to McDonalds and our impression of Kuta shifted pretty quickly. There was a man on a motorbike offering a taxi ride, they said they did not want a ride. He was unhappy with the answer and rammed Pat with his motorbike and then tried to kick Pat in the head. After picking up a knife the guys had to run into a Quickie Mart for safety. The gentleman working there was unable to help in any way.
Prostitutes, tattoos and massage parlours everywhere in this city it’s impossible to escape the bustle or sales pitches of the local people. They were more aggressive than any people in Yogyakarta it was a poor representation of the people of Indonesia.
We spent the sunset at the beach and hung out at the hostel with friends we made from Australia, Europe, USA and Canada. The Indonesian food is delicious. We went out to a bar with ‘all you can drink’ from 0900 pm until 1200 am. We danced the night away and got the party started until the early hours of the morning. A friend from the hostel was on his way walking back home and was robbed at knife point by a gang of guys. They weren’t happy with the amount of money he had so they made him take off his clothes and walk back in his underwear. Though we had a blast Kuta did not give a good impression so we decided to leave the next day for Canggu.
It was only a short drive but passing through the city and rice fields we ended up in a small surf town at a hostel by the name of Lay Day. Immediately I could tell it was a place that I spend a lot of time in, great surf and beautiful beaches with a laid back atmosphere. No rush to do anything it was a perfect place to spend a few days.