What to do when Couchsurfing in Jogja (Lots of awesome Pics!)
So I took a plane to Yogyakarta (otherwise known as Jogjakarta, Yogya, Ngayogyakarta or more simply, Jogja) scrapping my plans to go from East Java to West Java via train. I did it because there was a biennial Couchsurfing event and I thought it would be a good place
The event was over three days but I got there a day before and I messaged the group and they immediately sorted me out with some free accommodation along with some other Couchsurfers.
The event itself was exactly what I thought it would be. Good, old-fashioned, clean fun. The first night we were treated to some shows by other Couchsurfers. We saw various different performances of Silat, the Indonesian martial art, and, my word, the performances were fantastic with backflips in tow. After we were treated to an animation depicting the poor Indonesians in North Java during the 1990’s economic crisis. In that part of Indonesia, Dangdut music is very popular. That night we all slept in bunk beds at the Youth Center and your bathroom was your standard bucket and water situation.
On the second day, we had a choice of different tours in and around Jogja. I chose “Gallery Hopping”. There I discovered Indonesia’s most famous artist, Affandi. I was blown away by the quality of the paintings and also the buildings themselves. We had a tour guide for the Affandi gallery and some other galleries, but what was most interesting is the buildings and the art collectives. You see Jogja is a university city where collaborations are plenty and there’s lots of singing, dancing and painting. Could Jogja fulfill one of my goals of my trip, to get back to the feeling I had when I was in university?
That night was free so some of us went to the bar where I paid about $5 to get in and I received a complimentary beer and cigarettes. For those who don’t understand, in Australia and a lot of the Western World it’s illegal to advertise cigarettes and therefore it’s illegal to give them out for free in a club.
The next day, we went on a Relung. Where we had to find certain things around the city in groups (Amazing Race style) and take photos of this and create a story. You can see our story below.
1. CS team 8 go to the movies at Bioskop Jogja Tempo Doeloe 2. We learn history of Keraton Pakualaman 3. He only had daugters but no male hier, the daughters often go to Mesjid Agung Pakualaman 4. One day the eldest daughter met a guy at the Hanggar Pool 5. Little did she know, the man was a pastor of Santo Yusuf church 6. This caused great commotion at Pasar Sentul, not everyone agreed with the relationship 7. In an effort to reconcile differences, Muslims and Christians broke bread at Bakmi Kadin 8. It didn’t work. However, 9 months later a male son was born in the Biological Museum thus, the Pakualaman king had an heir to the throne and everyone lived happily ever after. #fiction #CSIF4Jogja #RelungJogja #Pakualaman #group8
Later that evening we went off to the beach (but you couldn’t swim because of a strong current that will pull you under. We got there just before sunset and we decided to go see the sunset at the lighthouse, which was spectacular.
We were then treated to a genuine Dangdut band. The crowd erupted and everyone started dancing and I didn’t get it at all. The music was so tacky, so bad how could anyone like it? It turns out that this music is most popular in villages and poor communities. It has also become the place where men can see some T and A. You can go up and dance with the singers, who are dressed in the most scantily clad outfits, and tonight was no exception. Even I got in on the action. What was most strange about this behaviour, was that most of the people weren’t even drunk and yet they were acting as if it was the last party they were ever going to.
The next morning, was the end of the Couchsurfing event and door prizes were given out. Our Relung group won the best story and I received a packet of coffee beans. Nice!
Over the next few days, I went to Candi Ijo to see the sunset, Candi Paramban and Candi Borobudur.
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. What’s so surprising is that the temple was lost for centuries and was rediscovered by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and his team in 1814. Can you imagine hearing legend about a sacred/haunted temple deep in the jungle and then discovering this huge monument covered in volcanic ash and shrubbery? Unbelievable! Totally blew my mind.
I also went to a Jazz jam where I saw this band called Sodalounge and they definitely need some props because they literally got me out of my seat and got me dancing. So check em out here.
All in all the feeling I get about Jogja and the people here is that it is steeped in culture and history. People are really friendly and take LOTS of photos of you. Because Jogja is a college town students aren’t too worried about money as they were in Bali. A lot of things are free and it’s really easy to make friends. I definitely will put this on my return list and for anybody wanting to collaborate or get inspired for any creative endeavours here is the place to do it, EVEN MORE THAN BALI.
Now enjoy the photos 🙂
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