Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Today we spent the morning in Kotagede with the friend of a friend as our gracious guide. The cab ride there was the first in this entire trip that used a meter. We started our walking tour at a lovely colonial style building complex with a coffee shop, restaurant, silversmith workshop and shop. We saw a civet in a cage beneath a sign for civet coffee. We learnt about the process of converting silver ore into beautiful silver jewelry, for which Kotagede is famous and I have a lovely pair of earrings as a birthday present!
Kotagede is also famous for kipo which is a dessert from that area of Yogyakarta (the old town). We were fortunate that our new friend is charming and chatted to a lady as she made kipo while we watched. It’s only made in two shops and is made of coconut, palm sugar, rice flour and is gently fried on a banana leaf.
Next we explored a network of alleyways in the old part of Kotagede and my husband and son were delighted when we found a village barber open and available to cut their hair. While we waited for the haircuts to finish we explored the neighborhood and discovered a chrome plating business in an old kalang house next to an old joglo house. Our friend chatted with the owner of the business while we gazed in amazement at the cheap and rough looking jewelry and ornaments converted to dazzling shiny treasures by the process.
Next my son wanted to lead the way and by taking a network of interconnected alleyways we ended up at the Cepuri Fortress which housed the royal palace, mosque and cemetery. We were allowed to walk around the mosque just minutes before a prayer time, we saw the carved gates with Hindu designs that mark the entrance to the cemetery. We walked through the public baths that are in what was the moat surrounding the fortress and accidentally disturbed a woman who was bathing after washing her clothes (no doors on the baths).
Finally we were allowed access to the locked building that houses the three stones that remain of the kedhaton (royal palace). The keeper of the stones smiled throughout his explanation to our friend and seemed to be a lovely man. Unfortunately our daughter chose the entrance to that special building as the place for a foot stamping meltdown and the poor man was trapped inside while she stamped about unable to control her emotions due presumably to irritation with her neither, uncertainty, over stimulation, lack of personal space and constant alertness. I burned with embarrassment and confusion over what to do in such a situation and wondered what is the point of this holiday if every day is marred by such incidents. Fortunately we generally succumb to such episodes one at a time because it would be disastrous if all 4 of us had a meltdown at once!
After some more strolling we caught a horse drawn carriage to the tourist village of Yogyakarta and had lunch at the lovely Via Via Café. We were surprised to read in the menu that vegetables are washed with boiled water, organic vegetables are used when available, boiled water is used for ice cubes etc. We celebrated by eating salad for the first time in over 3 weeks! The café embraces many of the principles that we uphold as does their shop with community fair trade goods, and it was an oasis from the hustle and bustle outside.
After lunch we went our separate ways from our new friend and walked over halfway back to our hotel but finally realised that we could spend more time in the pool if we used a carriage instead. We were charged 3/4 the rate of our 1st trip and this was a longer ride but when we rode the carriage this morning with our friend we were charged much less for a far greater distance. It can certainly become tiring trying to fend off exploitation and the expectation that we are a walking rupiah sign for so many people in touristic places like Malioboro Street.