Day 4 would prove to be our championship run.
Because today required plenty of climbing and moving around we decided to wear our team uniform (purchased earlier at Matahari buy 2 get one free ^^) with Putri as our team coordinator. Putri’s dad had apparently rented a van to fit the four of us as well as Putri’s shy younger sister Arum. Sometimes I think she is astonished by our childish behavior but I digress. Our breakfast was the awesome and amazing Syarifah bubur ayam once again. I can’t gush enough about the food here. It is so good I could honestly stuff my face with it every day.
The drive to Borobudur took approx 30-40 minutes. Sorry, I wasn’t counting. Mostly because we were dozing on and off due to the lack of sleep. Entry per person was 35,000 rp. We were very lucky that the weather remained just cool enough so that we weren’t baking under the heat during our 7 level climb. Arum decided to wait at the bottom, and we being the opportunist that we were dumped our bags along with her. The poor girl, really. But I think the bags would have slowed our ascend considerably. I think the custom was that you should circle each platform 3 times before climbing up to the next one. We decided to only do one lap, even that was because Midah wanted to experience Borobudur the proper way. Putri, our ever helpful tour guide informed us that Borobudur was a holy site for Buddhists and that the structure was kept together with only the rocks and egg whites as its glue. Buuuuuuut, that was pretty much the extent of Putri’s knowledge seeing that the rest of the way we were listening to her own interpretations as well as making our own educated guesses of the sculptures and engravings on the wall ^^v. If I’m not mistaken, the 7 levels shows the 7 levels to reach Nirvana. We later found out courtesy of Mrs. Yoge, that the engravings were supposed to depict the life of Buddha from birth till enlightenment. Putri told us that it was local belief that if you could touch the statue within the bell with your hands, then your wish would come true. But we were also warned that menstruating women should not attempt to do this. We didn't try either way. I have this explainable fear of religious statues. I just tend to keep my distance. But the view was amazing and so serene. We were able to coax Putri to the 7th level. She’s been there twice before and it still took us to force her all the way up. An accomplishment in its own right I must say. We took the stairway straight down without any laps. The whole ordeal took us I think around 1 ½ hours.
By this time we were already running late to visit Kaliurang, to get a glimpse of the infamous mount Merapi. Thus we skipped lunch, but Putri’s dad was kind enough to buy us some buah salak Pondoh. Which was awesoooomeeee. I think it’s probably due to the volcanic soil in the area. We climbed a portion of the way to Merapi in the van, but switched vehicles to a photogenic white Jeep which Putri’s dad had booked for us. The Merapi tour comes in 3 packages. Short, medium and long, valued at 400,000 rp, 600,000 rp and 800,000 rp respectively. We took the short package, which Putri’s dad paid for (bless his soul). Our tour guide Mas Jeep (lovingly nicknamed by Zafu) was informative, as well as laid back. The ride up was relatively calm, but being in an open Jeep really has its perks, with the wind in your face and seeing the landscape. The view of Merapi was breathtakingly beautiful.
Mas Jeep informed us that the recent eruption took a toll of 22 people including Merapi’s Spiritual Keeper, Mbah Marijan. The story goes, that Mbah Marijan was the only person who seemed to have a special connection with Merapi, and that whenever the volcano seemed agitated, Mbah Marijan would be able to soothe it with his words. When the eruption of 2010 occurred, he refused to leave the volcano and was found in the aftermath in a prostrating position, his body burned black. Most of the casualties were also his relations who had refused to evacuate when the warning had come. Majority of the destruction is caused by the hot steam released during an eruption, and not so much the lava flow, which already has its own path. Putri said that the evacuation warning was actually in time, and that only those who refused to leave found their end. Even from 30km away you could see how the hot steam demolished houses and killed live stocks. We stopped by a small makeshift museum of one of the houses which was damaged. It was hard to imagine how something so horrible could happen so fast. The clock on the wall showed the exact time in which the area was struck by the eruption, and the needles were melted into place. You'll have to excuse my expression seeing that i didn't see it fit to smile at the camera at such a solemn place, and they were playing some awfully moody music in the background >_<.
Afterwards, Mas Jeep instructed us to stand while he drove a bit further up for a better view. He said that if we sat, it would be more uncomfortable due to the off road nature of the trail. Baru jadi olahraga as he said it. But I suspected he just wanted us to have a little fun as he went over hills and splashed into puddles of water with a huge grin on his face. It was extremely fun though. Better than any roller coaster ride I’ve ever gone on to be quite honest. Especially while you’re breathing in cool fresh air. We stopped by a small clearing where he showed us a valley where a large river used to flow, and that after the eruption, the water levels were reduced drastically. Now the people of Kaliurang are using the sands for construction. We were told that even if they dug for 60 years, there would still be plenty left. Here we also found the alien stone, which resembled a human face with eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Mas Jeep was also very skilled in picture taking (somebody heard my prayers) and so we were striking all sorts of poses at his teaching. My favorites of course were the ones with the Jeep. He allowed us free reign, letting us climb onto the bonnet and stepping all over the seats.
Afterwards was a whole lot of goofing around off road, with us screaming like little kids as we held on for dear life. We even coaxed Putri to stand and feel the thrill. I think Mas Jeep took just a little longer than usual bringing us around seeing how much we enjoyed ourselves. For those who are particular about safety however, no worries. There are Jeeps which supply you with helmets as well as goggles and ensure that your ride is as smooth as possible. I know this because we passed such a scene while we were zooming by, screaming our lungs out.The whole ordeal took us around 3 hours. I hardly believed it. Time flew by so fast. We took a commemorative photo with Mas Jeep who is actually Pak Basuki. Those of you interested can contact him via +6287838732829 to book a tour. I recommend him 110% =). You definitely won’t regret.
After that whole body workout we found a cozy little place called Timbul Roso for dinner where we picked out our fish to eat. Delicious food as always, being famished as we were, the food felt heaven sent, along with a huge serving of coconut water tinged with red sugar. I could hardly breathe by the time we finished. Needless to say the ride home was pretty silent, since most of us were dozing in and out of reality.
But we weren’t finished yet for the day. That night we headed out to Ramayana Theater (the original). Admission was 160,000 rp. Though the theater is in full Javanese there are pamphlets in different languages that give a slight summary of the scenes being acted out. What we saw was the love story between Rama and Shinta and how she was abducted and how Rama came to rescue her. There was a slight confusion between the 4 of us to who some of the characters were, but the theater was very entertaining. Shinta was beautiful and danced so gracefully. There were also little kids who clearly put me to shame at their deftness in dancing. Our seating (first class… okeh…) was superb and the actors seemed to come to our side more often than not, so we could glimpse them up close. The costumes were also very intricate. Everything was very artistic. This theater is usually performed outdoors with the lighted Prambanan as its backdrop. But according to Putri because of the open nature, the lighting and dramatic effects are less felt. So I guess there are pro’s and cons to whichever you wish to view. Personally I had no complaints about the indoor theater whatsoever.
And so that ended our eventful day, leaving us all dead tired.
Day 5 : Malioboro revisit & Prambanan Temples