I caught a train from Jakarta at 8.15am and arrived in yogyakarta at 4.20pm. It was a pleasant train journey as I was served tea and a nice meal! The ticket cost 160,000 (executive class!). As soon as i arrived at the train station, at least 10 locals pounced on me offering all sorts, from taxis, hotels, hats, t-shirts etc! I knew the guesthouse i wanted to stay at was somewhere near the train station so decided to walk it! After walking for about 10 mins with my bag in the heat I was approached by yet another local who spoke could English and was very friendly. He asked me what I was looking for and I mentioned a guesthouse which he said we just down the road and he walked me there. It wasn't great so he recommended me another and I checked in. He started talking to me and told me that he does charity work for UNICEF and Oxfarm. Then went on to say he worked part time at a travel agent and part time at the government tourist office! He asked where I was from and then said he knew someone from London ( the more he talked the more I felt he is full of crap!!). I asked him his name and he said "errr Tommy" (yeah right!!)
He told me he also works with a local charity that helps street kids and there is an art festival going on and he decided to take me there and kept saying its free its free! I was now intrigued and decided to go, he took me to a batik art exhibition and someone met me there and went through how the artworks are made. Then they expected me to buy one and I refused and then left. Still trying his luck he tried taking me to a travel agency to book some tours but by then I told him just wasn't interested.. Later a friend i made told me that there is a whole section in the lonely planet dedicated to the art exhibition scam!!
On the first day while I was still walking around alone I was approached another 7 times by people trying to take me to an art exhibition and telling all sorts of lies! The second day I met Daniel from Germany who would be starting a language course here in a few days. We decided to hang out and planned the next few days. After eating some delicious food at a local restaurant we decided to walk down Maliboro St. The people in Indonesia are the friendliest I have met so far! They are always smiling and greeting you. The people here are extremely poor but are always ready to help and always joking and smiling. Its great to see.
We decided to go to a traditional Indonesian puppet show. Then we stumbled across a festival that was going on. It was great. All the rides in the "theme park" were made of wood and operated manually!! crazy! We were like celebrities at the festival, people wanted to take pictures with us and wanted to talk with us. everyone was saying hello etc. That night we went to the Bingtang Bar where there was a local Indonesian band playing live music (which was actually quiet good!), We met some ex-pats there who told us that at their the fairground we were at today there is a motorbike show where riders ride round and round indoor (i cant explain it but we went back the next day and saw it and it was mind blowing!!!) I made a video so you can all see! will upload it when i get the chance.
The next day I went to Borobudur which is a ninth century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang. I went by public bus which was an experience in itself. The temple was awesome and again people wanted pictures with us!! That night I went to Bodaks hotel (Bodak is an artistic and his hotel/hostel is the best that I have seen), He is Daniels friend and let me hang out there are they were full I wasn't able to sleep there. We just sat on the balcony and talked the night away.
Today, I went to the Silver Village which was not worth going to at all! Then I went to the Sultans Palace. Ive been trying different restaurants since I got here and the food has been consistently delicious!! Was meant to be watching a traditional Hindu dance tonight but think we will just meet up with some people for drinks (non-alcoholic for me of course!!) .
Am having a great time here and have decided to stay here until Wednesday before making my way to Bromur for a day to see Volcano. Then to Bali. Hope everyone is well back home!!!