Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This morning after breakfast we took a cab from Yogya to Solo. Solo, like Yogya, is the cultural center of Java. Jakarta is the financial center (and capital), but Yogya and Solo are the centers for batik, wayang (the shadow puppets), and gamelan (the traditional folk music that originated here on Java). Yogya is bigger, I think, and Solo is more conservative.

The cab ride took almost 2 hours and cost $30 with tip, which is a whole lot more than the bus would've cost ($1 to maybe $3 or $4), but $30 for both of us, two hours, a driver picking us up at our hotel and delivering us to the next hotel in Solo, such a deal. The driver was sweet and friendly, like all the Javanese people we've met so far, and finding the hotel in Solo took a bit of effort as he stopped other taxi drivers to ask for directions.

Roemahkoe Bed  & Breakfast, our sweet little hotel in Solo

traditional music at dinner
We left our suitcases in Yogya and just brought backpacks for the 2 night stay in Solo; unfortunately, we forgot to bring the sunscreen and unfortunately-er it's very very hot and sunny here. And I am very very pale and easily overheated. Luckily, right behind our hotel is a sweet little neighborhood that is heavily focused on batik production. We spent some time walking down the small streets and poking our heads into doorways.

this wall looked like batik designs, and that little statue thing in the corner, hmmmm

this blue house was so beautiful, and like most homes, had a bird in the cage

beautiful door -- these shades of blue are so common

We passed what looked like a batik factory and I was too timid to walk into the courtyard to take a picture, so I got a crappy little shot through the slightly open gate. Marc was braver than me and walked in, and the workers -- who spoke no English -- smiled and waved us in, directing us to walk around as much as we wanted. IT WAS WONDERFUL. Getting photos into a post is a messy thing and they're all out of order but I don't want to take all the time it would take to redo them, so here, in random order:

this machine dyed the base fabric. it was this beautiful gold color, and
when we turned around they were doing purple.
see the smiling guy on the left? He welcomed us in. Sheets of newly-printed fabric.

this guy was folding the finished fabric

graffiti everywhere!

a random house, but typical

no idea what this machine did but it was big and kinda of cool.

pulling the newly-printed fabric up off the forms

first pass printed

so so beautiful, but I wouldn't want to work there
Seeing this little factory was such a thrill -- real people making real things. The alleys were lined with little shops selling clothing made of batik fabric, but I didn't see anything nearly as beautiful as the fabric being made here.

Our hotel serves afternoon tea, and after that we're heading to the kraton, which is the old sultan's palace; every city seems to have one in its center. We'll find a good spot for dinner and probably crash -- we're still kind of dealing with the 12-hour time change, so we fall asleep by 10 and wake up at 3am, ready to go.

So far, my very favorite thing about Indonesia is the Javanese people. They are so sweet and friendly. Last night at dinner, the owner of the restaurant (a French man from Lyons who moved here because his wife started the restaurant) was telling us that the people are so different, island to island, and that the Javanese people are especially sweet. One other thing I love about them: they love sweet food. My tribe.

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