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I left last night from Don’s house on a mini-van to Yogyakarta. This is a small Mitsubishi van converted to seat 8 passengers with reclining seats and heavy-duty AC—a little more comfortable than an airplane but not by much. I actually slept through the dead of the night and got probably 3 hours of real sleep. It’s kind of hard to get a good night sleep when the driver is going down narrow two-lane roads at 110km/hr weaving in and out of mopeds, cars and huge tour buses and missing oncoming traffic by mere centimeters. This is not luck but skill to accomplish this without any mishaps. Along the way I actually saw two accidents. Both involving vans, one similar to the one I was riding in. Apparently, they ran off the road during one of the downpours in the middle of the night. No serious injuries. Arrived in Yogya about 12 hours later, a little haggard, a lot tired.

This is where the real adventures begin. Just like in Bangkok, I don’t know the language and although the Indonesian language is easy to learn, it is difficult to pick it up overnight. I now must get around on my own without the aid of Don as my interpreter and guide. I was a little apprehensive at first but it doesn’t really appear to be a big problem. More people in Yogya speak English since it seems to be more of a tourist destination. Still, it hasn’t been much of a problem. I just smile a lot, bow my head and say, terimah kasih (thank you) a lot. Seems to have worked so far.

I had the minivan driver drop me off in the backpacker section of town where all the budget hotels are located. I walked down the street and after a couple of misses and being taken for a ride by a pedicab driver (the hotel I was looking for was just within sight and he took me around the block for 3,000 rupiah ($0.40) which was alright since it helped me locate this internet cafe), I located a hotel with a good English speaking receptionist and fairly inexpensive rooms with AC. The AC is essential to a good sleep.

As I waited for the room to become available, I went and changed some money down the street, finally found a phone that takes these weird chip-phone cards and called Don, stopped for a beer at a little cafe, met a guy who cooks there part-time and takes tourists to the ancient ruins on his days off, arranged travel to the ruins tomorrow, had some lunch and went back to my hotel.

It’s been quite a day so far and it’s only 3:15. I’m going back to the little cafe to meet again with the cook and he is taking me to see the sunset…I’m not sure where but I’m told it’s worth seeing. Tomorrow, I get up a 5:00 a.m. to go see the temples and monuments before the tourist rush begins. That should be interesting. I’ll keep you posted…


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