Although I spent a week in Indonesia and only two nights in Japan, the Japan portion (which I did on my own) made quite the impression on me. First I have to say that Japan felt like being embraced in a warm hug. Everything talks to you (in Japanese)…the elevator, the credit card machine, the toilet, robots. On the way home I stayed a night at Hotel Nikko Narita, which was pretty amazing for a long layover. This place was like an oasis in the middle of nowhere, with multiple restaurants, a gift shop, gardens, vending machines galore, money exchange machines and more. But best of all it offered multiple ways to escape the hotel to see the sights. There were several different buses you could catch just outside the hotel. The one I took ran a loop between the hotel, the Narita train station, Aeon Mall and another hotel. More about my adventure at Narita-san in the next post.
My hotel had a zen rock garden
Still Christmas in February outside Hotel Nikko Narita
View from my hotel window, which serves to illustrated how grey Japan is compared to Java.
On the last day, several of us hired a car and driver and went to the famed Malioboro street where there are so many street vendors and shops. It was densely packed, and the amount of stuff for sale was staggering. As a Seattle resident familiar with Pike Place Market, I have to say Malioboro was a lot more intense and packed than the markets I’m used to. Still I managed to find some of the sweet Betawi coconut candies I liked from the hotel, and a t-shirt.
It wouldn’t be “pilgrimage” without a visit to some temples (“candi” in Indonesian). We mostly saw the Buddhist temples in the area of Borobodur and Prambanan. Of the two, Prambanan was a much mellower experience with less people trying to sell us stuff.
In front of Prambanan, a Hindu temple.
Since I have already taken the trouble to review and post photos of these temples on another site, I will just direct you to my reviews on Trip Advisor, if you want to see (last I looked, my reviews were at the top of the list…Alyssa M is my name there):
This is a typical toilet in Yogyakarta. I actually encountered few squat toilets. I’ll admit I never really understood what the giant bucket of water was for. It seemed too gross to do anything with other than flush the toilet. But all the toilets I encountered had flush capabilities (see the little button on the back?) and you wanted to use water to wash your nether regions, there was always a hose for that(see it behind the bucket?) and every bathroom typically had a sink for washing your hands.
Pretty money. 10,000 Rupiah is about 72 cents.
I actually didn’t encounter very many garbage/compost/recycle bins in Java but this one at Prambanan is pretty nice.
After a hot day it was great to find these cold damp towels at a restaurant to wipe your face and hands with.
I came back from my trip to Indonesia February 2, 2018 but haven’t had any time to post anything about it. I figured I at least should put up some photos!
I left the USA on January 22, 2018 and flew to Yogyakarta via Tokyo and Jakarta. The goal was to meet up with His Eminence Avikrita Vajra Rinpoche, His Eminence Abhaya Vajra Rinpoche, Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya and dozens of other travelers from Sakya Monastery in Seattle, and from around the world, in order to undertake a pilgrimage to see various sites important to Buddhism, such as the temples at Prambanan and Borobodur.
I arrived in the pouring rain, and each passenger was handed an umbrella as they stepped off the plane. We had probably a quarter of a mile to walk to get to the airport.
Welcome to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Here is your umbrella and your first experience of rain soaking through your sandals.
They say that Indonesia isn’t a good place for travelers with mobility issues, and they aren’t kidding. Imagine trying to shlep a wheelchair here:
This is the road between the hotel where I stayed and the nearby Galeria Mall.
We stayed in the Novotel Yogyakarta Hotel and it was pretty posh. Here are some of the fancy treats that awaited my roommate and I:
This is a Javanese coconut treat.
One last thing, because I wished I could have found a photo of the plug in the hotel before I went, is a photo of the plug in the hotel. I geek out on weird things.