Change of plan: Off to Indonesia

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On April 16th I flew from Siem Reap to Jakarta, Indonesia to meet up with Lauren and Natalie, my travel buddies from Elephant Nature Park.  My original plan was to head up to Laos, but the idea of going to Indonesia was appealing because I would get to travel with the girls again, and because it was surprisingly $100 cheaper to fly to Jakarta than to Luang Prabang. Actually, I never had any plans to visit Indonesia on this trip. I made the decision three days in advance and booked the flight two days in advance.  Such is life on the road sometimes.  Spontenaity and flexibility can pay off.

Upon arriving in Jakarta, I was on a mission to replace my phone.  So I spent my entire evening in the biggest mall I’ve ever been in (the Grand Indonesia) getting lost between the iBook store, the cell phone case store, and the telecom store.  I wanted to buy an iPhone 6, but since it cost $859, I decided to just replace my iPhone 5s with another iPhone 5s for $340.  That seemed a lot more reasonable.
That is all I did in Jakarta.  I didn’t even take any photos.  The next day I took an 8-hour train to Yogyakarta (Jogja) to meet up with Nat and Lauren.  The train ride was expensive but comfortable and offered some amazing views of the countryside.  Indonesia is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen.  It is impossibly green, lush, tropical.  And I saw rain for the first time in three months.  I was so thrilled about it that I took pictures from inside the train.
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Jogja was a whirlwind of activities and tours with Lauren and Natalie, all organized by our amazing hostel owner, Oscar (from Ostic House).  We stayed there for a full week.  This blog will be about 10 pages long if I go into too much detail about everything we did, so instead, here’s a list:
……..
Day 1 (April 17): Went for authentic Indonesian food, nasi gudeg (side note:  I hated mine and never ordered it again.  But I LOVED other Indonesian food!).  Went to a park with these crazy neon-light pedal cars and rented one with other folks from our hostel.  Tried the Banyan Tree Challenge: This is an extremely popular thing to do at this park.  You get blindfolded and then try to walk 30 meters to cross between two huge Banyan trees (which are very far apart from each other).  If you can stay between the two trees, it is said that you have a pure heart.  If you cannot, then your heart is impure.  The challenge looks SO EASY.  I volunteered to go first.  It was an epic failure.  One by one, six of us failed the challenge.  The last guy that was with us was the only one who stayed between the trees. There were dozens of other people out there taking the challenge so Oscar was with us to make sure that we didn’t run into anyone.  Oscar told us that he did the challenge with 100 people and only 7 people succeeded in staying between the trees.  It’s way harder than it seems!
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Nasi Gudeg with jackfruit curry… not my fave.

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Crazy pedal cars

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Crazy pedal cars

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Crazy pedal cars

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We drove the chicken

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Crazy pedal cars

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Lauren driving our pedal cars

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Attempting the Banyan Tree Challenge: FAIL

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Attempting the Banyan Tree Challenge: FAIL

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Attempting the Banyan Tree Challenge: FAIL

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Attempting the Banyan Tree Challenge: PASSED!

Day 2 (April 18): Went to the Sri Gethuk waterfall, went tubing through the Kali Suci Caves (I was very inappropriately wearing a dress), went to a beach that was pretty but unswimmable due to rocks and coral, ate at our new favorite restaurant, Via Via.
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Sri Guthek falls

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Sri Guthek falls

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Sri Guthek falls

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Sri Guthek falls

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Sri Guthek falls

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Kali Suci cave tubing

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Kali Suci cave tubing

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Kali Suci cave tubing

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Kali Suci cave tubing

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Kali Suci cave tubing

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Taking a photo with a group of Asians at the beach: Their idea, not ours

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The beach: pretty views, but too rocky to swim

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Salad at Via Via

Day 3 (April 19): Watched the sunrise from “Sunrise Hill” near the Chicken Church (a non-denominational church that was designed to look like a dove but instead it looks like a chicken), went to Borobudur (an incredible Buddhist temple) and then to Prambanan (an equally incredible Hindu temple), ate lunch at a weird restaurant where every dish was made with mushrooms (they even had mushroom drinks, and not the fun kind), went back to Via Via for dinner.
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Sunrise over Mt. Merapi volcano

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Chicken Church’s tail

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Chicken Church

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Borobudur temple

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Entry to the Borobudur temple

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Entry to the Borobudur temple

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Entry to the Borobudur temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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Prambanan temple

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People wanted to take pictures with us, as usual

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People wanted to take pictures with us, as usual
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Prambanan temple

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Cassowary at Prambanan

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Cassowary at Prambanan

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Weird mushroom lunch

Day 4 (April 20): Went to a silversmithing class and made our own rings (Jogja is known for its silver), ate more good food at Via Via and a veg restaurant called Milas.
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Making silver jewelry

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Making silver jewelry

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Making silver jewelry

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My ring

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Milas restaurant

Day 5 (April 21): Hung out at a rooftop pool at a hotel down the street, ate two lunches (one at the hotel and one at Via Via), went to the Ramayana ballet.
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Chilling at a rooftop pool

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We ate lunch IN the pool

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2nd lunch at Via Via

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Ramayana Ballet

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Ramayana Ballet

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Ramayana Ballet

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Ramayana Ballet

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Ramayana Ballet

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School group attending the ballet

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Attack of the evil Ramayana monkey-men!

Day 6 (April 22):  Did an all day trip to the Dieng Plateau, an impossibly green, cool, farming region up in the mountains about 3 hours outside of Jogja, almost died when our driver was falling asleep at the wheel, ate dinner at Via Via (where else?!)
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Dieng Plateau

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Sikidang Crater

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Hot sulphur!

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Sulphuric crater

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Zero view of the Colorful Lakes with all the clouds and fog

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View from the same rock after the fog lifted

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The Colorful Lakes

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

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Dieng Plateau

On April 23rd, the girls were flying to Cambodia and I planned to hop on over to Bali on a $35 Air Asia flight.  I was supposed to depart at 2:15pm.  Everyone boarded the plane, the flight attendants went through their spiel, and the pilot accelerated down the jetway.  Everything seemed normal and I was excited to get to Bali.  But just before the wheels left the asphalt, the pilot slammed on the breaks and we went skidding to a stop.  Everyone on the plane went silent.  After about five minutes, the flight attendants told everyone to get off the plane and we had to walk all the way back to the airport.  No one apologized or explained what was going on.  We waited back at the gate for at least an hour before being told that our flight was cancelled.  Something in the plane was broken and had to be replaced.  We would be transported to a hotel and have to spend the night there; the flight rescheduled to the following day.  To their credit, the Air Asia employees at the airport were so nice, helpful, and apologetic.  I felt bad for them because all the passengers were freaking out when we found out our flight was cancelled.
I was sad that I wouldn’t get to Bali that day, mostly because I only had one week to spend there, and now only six days.  But these things happen.  Planes break while taking off, right?  At least they got it fixed by 3:30pm the next day (although we were brought to the airport at 9:30am)… ugh.

 

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The plane that broke down

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People freaking out on Air Asia staff

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Boxed dinner in my hotel room

 

Other random photos of Yogyakarta (Jogja):

Jogja is known for it graffiti art:

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Chilled fresh coconut juice

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Completely wiped out from all our busy days

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Huge snail

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Everyone in Indonesia keeps pet birds. It’s really sad.

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These lovely flowers grow everywhere.

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