Friday, November 27, 2009
Cycling to Plaosan
Today is the day after Thanksgiving and Idul Ahad. It is a public holiday in Indonesia and most things are closed. So, we decided it would be a great day to cycle along the selokan to some of the temples near Prambanan.
Being that we stayed up late creating Montor the night before we got a later start than planned. Lisa and I packed supplies for a picnic and met Tom on the selokan just on the other side of Gejayan. Just as we set off an enormous rainstorm moved in. However, we were not going to let a little rain stop us, so we pulled on the ponchos and pressed onward. Although this turned out to be more than a little rain, and I'm sure we looked like crazy bule, the ride was great and the rain only made it more interesting.
When we reached Jalan Solo and were nearing Prambanan there was an older Javanese man sitting on a bench on the side of the road and when he saw us he started peddling with his arms and singing "I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like..." It was one of the strangest and funniest things I've ever heard!
After getting turned around a few times we found the Plaosan restaurant and asked them for directions to Candi Plaosan. The 1km ride was a leisurely ride through a small village with padis, corn fields, and vegetable gardens. Just when we thought we had been mislead again, I spotted the top of one of the temples in the distance.
As today is a holiday and because this temple is lesser known than Prambanan we were three of the only 5 people there. It was fantastic! We went into the first large temple which had three chambers, sat in the main one and enjoyed our picnic. We feasted on sandwiches made from the best whole-grain bread in Indonesia, alpukat, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, lettuce, and Miracle Whip! We also big juicy grapes and mangostines. The temple was cool and there was a nice breeze. It was the coolest place I've had a picnic in to date.
Once we were cukup kenyang we walked around and through the other temples. The best part was getting to climb all over them. When we were leaving I needed to use the bathroom so I asked one of the security guards if there was a W/C near by, he pointed to a bathroom in the back of the temple complex that I had peeked into earlier. However, since the mandi water was full of mold and the smell was less than pleasant I decided to wait. The guard was very insistent that I could use that bathroom, no problem. I tried to explain to him that I would just go later on the way home, but I said "nanti di jalan" which literally means "later, on the road." He kind of smirked and started laughing and once Lisa and I realized what I had said we started laughing too. I had just said I would use the bathroom later on the road!
On the ride back I was practicing riding with no hands. We were once more along the selokan when we passed an old Javanese man sitting on his porch near the road. I was riding along in the front, with no hands, and when we rounded the corner he was very impressed and said, "kok! Pintar!" and some other utterances which basically meant he thought I was a very skillful cyclist. :-D
One last thing to note, other than the fact that we saw about 500 goats being slaughtered, or their insides being cleaned in the rivers, was that we experienced a roadside pengenalan. We were riding on the lower part of a road and there was a couple riding on a motor bike on road that was on a hill above us. The said hello, asked us how we were and asked our names and gave us theirs. A bit later the roads merged and they asked where we were from. We told them and they said they were from Timor Leste, smiled, then road off into the distance. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was one of the things that only happens in Indonesia, and it was very funny and memorable.
This was definitely one of the most perfect days I've had in Indonesia.