Yogya – pronounced Jogya – is a bit of a mixed bag and we were quite a ways from the town centre so we went on another one of those bus journeys – not too bad but always something gets lost in translation meaning you do not exactly end up where you intended! Our first intention was to visit ‘the Kraton’ – which sounds like a mysterious sea creature but in fact is a royal palace. First as you arrive there the scams begin, where ‘friendly’ taxi drivers and moped riders tell you the palace is not even open but the Lonely Planet (LP) told us not to believe these ‘ner’ do wells’ so on we went.
Firstly what the LP does NOT tell you is that in front of “The Kraton’ there is a crappy little place – which is more of a ‘pre-Kraton’ structure, a Kraton entrance hall I suppose as it was worth only an average, if that but they still charge you to get in – Doh!
Take two, we finally reached the real Kraton – which was the city within a city that the LP told us about, this was more like it. Once inside, a bunch of older ladies ‘singing’ were being accompanied by ‘the band’ of older guys and girls – hitting and plucking various asiatic looking instruments – whilst ‘Diana Ross and The Supremes’ were warbling away and to be fair warbling is quite an apt description – get these lot on X Factor! A wee gem within the band was a couple of old fellas at the back, one of whom was on the big gong so rarely part of the team and another guy singing along with great gusto at the back of the band – looked like a frustrated lead singer to me and a bit like Iggy Pop too – a ‘Real Wild Child’.
The Kraton was certainly a grand old place but a lot of the exhibits were not really being cared for, these were covered in dust which was a bit of a shame really. Not sure if the guys surrounding the exhibits were guards or not but they had ear coverings which gave them quite a superior Spock looking appearance, quite cool really.
The other oddity was that whilst in the Kraton we saw Phillip and Catherine the Germans whom we shared a trip with at Cianjur – at this point we thought ‘what a small world’ but later in the day curious and curiouser – the world was to get a lot smaller!
The Water Palace was the next attraction we visited and when we first got there the clouds starting coming over and the rumbles were not very far away – five minutes in and the whole heavens opened and we took refuge in one of the towers to watch the rain fall – well we did this until a very loud clap of thunder occurred just over our heads and Liz called time to us sitting in the tower and suggested we move downstairs. Shame really that it chucked it down as the place is quite nice or would have been on a sunny day.
When the deluge was over we left the Water Palace and were then accosted by yet another ‘friendly guy’ on a moped trying to get us to eat at a little place he knew round the corner – we told him we were going to eat down the main street to which he told us everything on their main street would be shutting down for a parade due to take place at night – who are these people! We wandered back down the main street and decided that we instinctively knew which way we lived and the bus route to get us back there – like homing backpackers! Not sure if we were right or wrong but on the way a totally amazing thing happened – we saw the Germans who we had been on the Jungle Cave tour back in Taman Negara – they rode past us on scooters and waved, they could not stop simply because of the volume of traffic but these were the guys we met in Malaysia and we were now in Indonesia, quite a few towns and cities along – a very small world indeed and all the better for being a totally unexpected happening!
Soon after – well it was quite a while after really especially in walking terms – we actually found a bus stop and even better, it was one with buses going our way. So off we went finally towards home once again for another meal and yet another downpour – gosh it can’t half rain in these here parts.