It was a very uncomfortable 9 hours train ride to Yogyakarta (or Jogyakarta – old spelling but still widely used). I took the bisnis class because the executive were all booked out. I would highly recommend paying a little more for comfort. I know this because I was mistakenly sitting at the executive section and was thinking it’s not so bad for it’s price, even if it’s a bit old and dirty, until I was bumped off. :(
Bisnis @ 105.000 and Executive @150.000 Rupiya on weekdays. But it’s alright, I was very excited to come experience the rich history of Yogyakarta. I hope the same for my host who insisted on fetching me from the station, when I asked for his address and direction, because my train arrives at 4am. Actually I have 2 hosts here. I wrote first to Andri because he lives in an old dutch architecture house owned by his grandmother who was a tour guide. It’s very interesting, right? He said yes but then due to the holiday and long weekend, he got some relatives and friends coming over. So he referred me to another CS in Yogya, Ayu. What a coincidence, huh? (A.Yu Clothing).
Ayu is Muslim girl and wears a jillbop all the time. She’s the first muslim I know personally and so I bombarded her with a billion and one questions during my stay. She lives with her brother and sister-in-law and they run a laundry shop. I thought Jogya would be an expensive city since it’s sandwich between 2 World Heritage sites, the Borobudur in the north and Prambanan in the south. But it’s not. They explained that since this is a university town the majority market are the students. This also explains the side by side internet cafes and laundry shops, lazy students.
The train is prompt and by 4am the train stops in Yogya station. Another reason I couldn’t sleep in the train is because I was afraid to miss my stop, as it’s not the last destination of this journey. I wouldn’t miss it as this is where most people get off, but I couldn’t know that for sure before, right?
I know though that the famous market of Malioboro is very near the train station. Noni suggested that I walk around the market and buy batik while waiting for my host to pick me up. I stepped off the train and look for locker to store my big backpack. Still close. None of those coin lockers in Japan. What do I expect, there’s none in Manila.
I lugged my 8kg big backpack and 4kg small backpack and walked out the station. The stretch of road (200m) that leads to the market from the station is lined with one billion taxi drivers and rickshaw-bike drivers on both sides. “You need a ride, Madam?” pointing to their vehicle. I mean the whole stretch! “No, thank you.” Loop. You’d think they’d get the idea that you don’t need a ride after 20, 30 meters, right? If I needed a ride, I’d taken one when 20-30meters ago. So I just kept on walking.
The street is filled with people but none of those batik shops where open. I just kept on walking as if I know where I’m going. I was hoping to find a 24H cafe or bakery. I walk towards the sound of singing from a mosque. I thought it’s safer to be near a God. Allah.
Truthfully, I don’t feel unsafe just uncomfortable being stared at and kept being offered a ride. They don’t understand that even if I want to take a ride, I don’t know where to go because Andri didn’t give me an address.
Farther away from the train, people started to offer hotel, hostel, and homestay. I stopped in front of the mosque and across it is a 24H convenience store, circle K. It’s 4:30am. No coffee in sight, I thought this was the best I could get.
Outside the store, on the sidewalk, there’s an eatery set-up with couple of monobloc chairs. 2 girls were getting their coffee and smoking. The tindero said hello to me and asking what he can do for me. I wanted to say nothing but asked for coffee. He poured coffee from his percolator and it was really good. I had this coffee at the Canary Cafe in Braga where there’s a lot of settlement at the bottom of the cup. I thought it was instant coffee but it was too good to be instant. I paid 2.500 for this and chatted a bit with the people.
Malioboro is the colorful batik, clothes, and souvenir market by day and by night time, around 8 or 9pm, it turns into a street food place where maybe a hundred of stalls are set up every night selling various kind of food. These people are one of them stall owners. They also sleep on the sidewalk after the last customer leaves and by 5am, they wake up and pack everything in a kariton (cart) and then you don’t see a trace of it until later in the night. They asked where I’m staying and I told them with a friend who will come fetch me. They invited me to come back with my friend later and eat at their place as they have the world’s bestest chef. I saw them sprinkles loads of Maggie powdered flavoring into their Nasi Goreng as they prepare their pack lunch.
After I went into the circle K and asked if I can wait inside for my friend. They said sure and I had the same conversation of where I am from again and where I am staying. I bought mineral water from them and sat in the corner where I was able to get some low frequency wi-fi and facebook a little bit before Andri finally arrived around 6am.