The Jogjakarta trip July of last year was a memorable one: it was my first international travel.
It was also my birthday.
My friend, Jini, and I were lucky to have grabbed seats sales to Jakarta and Bangkok (which we would later take on November) from Cebu Pacific Air sometime in January. We just bought these two one-way tickets and worried about the return flight later on.
Manila to Jakarta was an evening flight and Jakarta to Jogjakarta was an early morning one the following day. We met a fellow Filipino in Jakarta who happily took photos with us under "Welcome to Jakarta" signs ("Souvenir!"). Her flight to Bali was also early in the morning, so we chatted up about her life, love life, and grown-up kids at a friend chicken joint outside the airport to kill time. When asked why she's travelling alone (she's meeting up with former colleagues/friends in Bali, though), she said her husband has flight sickness.
Jogjakarta feels familiar and foreign at the same time. Flying over it before touchdown, you would notice their roof's uniformity in colour and design, unlike most of the cities' roofs in the Philippines that are as confused as our identity.
Jogjakarta's feeling of familiarity is its laid back atmosphere and, of course, we have the same Malay features. And because it was my first time out of the country, I'm looking at everything with virgin, awed eyes, thus the feeling of unfamiliarity. Distinct structures definitely helped, too. Our cab driver told us that Jogjakarta is the only city in Indonesia that's still governed by monarchy and still has its own Sultan.
We walked along Jalan Malioboro (the city's main thoroughfare and shopping area), explored Kraton Yogyakarta and its neighbourhood, learned a bit of Jogjakarta history at Fort Vredeburg and sultan "mistress-picking" at Taman Sari Water Castle, decided peanut sauce isn't really our thing, and ate and chatted with locals at a roadside eatery.
A lot of fried tempe, wrapped nasi (rice) meals, and cold and sweetened jasmine tea were consumed. (Side note: The Kapampangan term for rice is also nasi.)
At said roadside eatery (last photo above), we met Limpo/Rimpo (not sure if I heard it right *sad face*) who, upon seeing my friend teaching me how to ride a bike, jumped in to help out. He constantly reminded me to relax, go straight, and not sway my hips. All of which I promptly failed to execute.
Taman Sari, Borobudur Temple, and Prambanan Temple diaries, up next.