James' parents, Mick and Sue, are beginning there Indonesian adventure in Yogya since that is where James is settled. Thursday they head off to Flores, Lombok and Komodo. Oh how I wish I were joining!
Yesterday Mick and Sue spent the day in Kaliurang, the mountain village about 45 min to the north of Yogya. James and I had class in the morning, but after Javanese he invited me up to Kaliurang with them. We left somewhere around 3 in the afternoon and drove our motor bikes up. The ride was fantastic and it was made even better by the beautiful weather. It had been raining, practically non-stop, for about a week, but yesterday felt like the best days in spring back home.
Being that Kaliurang is only 45 minutes away, I assumed we would just be making a day trip. However, since I was with James I should have known better ;-) We reached the top and found his parents, who had taken a taxi there earlier in the day. That was when we began searching for a place to sleep for the night. Again I assumed it was just for James' parents, but then Sue began talking as if I were staying and we were all going on an early morning hike to see Mt. Merapi. That is when James mentioned we probably would be spending the night. I was more than happy to stay as it is a refreshing change of pace, and of air quality, from Yogya, but I had not brought a change clothes or even a tooth brush! However, I was not overly concerned with this as James was in the same boat as me and his parents also had no change of clothes, since they were at the laundry.
We looked at two places to stay for the night. Both were very nice. The first was very clean, but it was lacking something. The second place we stopped at was the winner. It was clean, but not sterile. It had a great sort of character with doors and windows painted all colors of the spectrum, and it was a mere 300,000 IRD a night! We took our meager belongings to the room, settled in and went down stairs for a cool drink and a chat.
By this time it was about 6:30 or so and our stomachs were beginning to rumble. Having seen a signs on the way up, we were all intrigued to try sate kelinci. The four of us hopped on the motor bikes and went forth in search of the perfect rabbit sate. We drove around for a bit before realizing that it was the middle of the week and most of the eateries would be closed due to the slow number of visitors, so we turned back and ended up at a warung very near our room.
We walked into the small hut of a restaurant and were greeted by an tired, but pleasant looking Ibu. We ordered two portions of the sate and four teh panas. We waited for ages while the Pak sliced the meat from a pre-skinned rabbit that was hanging in the back, cut it into small chunks, skewered it, fanned it over the hot coals, and then topped it with a peanut sauce. However, the conversation was not lacking and when the food did arrive it proved to be worth the wait. We headed back to the room full and happy.
Once back at Vogels we enjoyed a fruit salad of mangoes, pineapple, papaya, and banana before James' parents headed up for bed. During that time we worked out that we would all go on the early morning trek from the hotel to a point about 1300 meters up where we would be able to enjoy a clear view of Mt. Merapi. Although the trek left at 4 in the morning, James had comparative linguistics homework to do so we stayed up until about midnight deciding how similar a Papuan language was to Indonesian, very fascinating.
The sleep would have been very refreshing had it been longer, but it was pleasant nonetheless. We set out on the trek with a Dutch and a English couple. It was dark and the air was crisp. We walked for about an hour an a half up the trail to the first clearing from which Merapi could be seen. By this time the sun was beginning to rise. It was beautiful and puffs of smoke could be seen escaping from within the volcano.
We made it to the top, sleep deprived and hungry, but the view was spectacular. We listened to a few stories and colorful histories of the mountain before making our way back down. We were making excellent time and made it back to the hotel around 7:30 am, just enough time for James and I to eat breakfast before rushing back to Yogya for uni.
The jaunt was spontaneous and very rewarding, as spontaneity usually is. I plan to go back up this weekend to get some writing done. I definitely recommend the visit if you come to Yogya.