Christmas in Indonesia (part 2)

Trip Start Sep 30, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

And so the road from Malang to Jogja was long and it rained just about the entire time. Spending most of Christmas in a car full of people wasn't what I thought my Christmas would be, but that was the discovery that had come about through this entire travel experience. That sometimes, many times, things arent going to be what you think they are. Its when you lose that sense of needing control and expecting things to happen as you envision them, that life starts to remind you that there is still so much magic in it. I'll be the first to admit, Im practicing this on a regular basis, and it isnt easy, and I had to be especially open to this for a vacation across an unknown land halfway across the world, with very little control, if any at all. Of course you still have the control to make personal decisions, and it isnt like you are stripped of that. But it also isnt that all inclusive trip to Mexico that everyone and their mom has already done.

One thing about traveling like this, is that if you are open to the experiences and take the time to look deeper into them, you learn a lot about yourself and realize how much your environment reacts to who you are and how you act. You start to grow up a little when you truly see how much the little things you do can cause very big ripples in the big picture. During that long car ride, I thought about a lot of things. I guess starring out a window daydreaming and being lost in music has always been a love of mine, but this time I had something special to reflect on. I thought about the trip to get to that island and how long it was, but I also thought about how during that rediculous "mud hike" the voice inside me kept telling me to pull over, take a break, and dig to the bottom of my bag and get my trail shoes. I then replied to myself with normal procrastination and said I didnt want to and I didnt want to get them muddy. So I kept trekking in the mud, barefoot, falling and sliding along, cursing the hike. It wasnt until it was getting dark, dangerous, and wet on some steep cliffs along a ridge with sharp reef at the bottom, that it finally made me stop and get the shoes out. I made the rest of the hike like it was nothing. I remember when I was in the water telling myself how stupid I can be with procrastination and how its going to bite me in the ass over and over again until I change something. Then of course the next night I had the worst sunburn of my life from not using sunscreen all day and not listening to the people who told me that the sun in this part of the world is brutal because we are directly on the equator.....nice one Nate.

Maybe that moment of reflection came in the car because every bit of it was feeling that sunburned back and those chewed up, bug bitten ankles. It was a long ride as I said, so it left quite a lot of time for thinking about a lot. I guess what I realized is that traveling like this is amazing because it makes you face things you will never face on some perfectly planned out vacation to some place where millions of people have already been. Surely you face some serious challenges and frustrations doing it this way, but this is what memories are made of. It's when you face challenges that you start to see what you're made of. Being taken out of your element shakes you up and then it sets you back down and says "So what are you gonna do now?"

I'll be honest, I was glad the island was behind me and we were finally at a nice villa with a warm bed and a nice place to stay for a few days. The next day I slept in as late as I felt like, which was well needed. We had a free day doing whatever we felt like, so I wandered around the area a bit, went and found some food and hit up an internet cafe. There are tons of those all throughout Java in the main cities because most people cannot afford to have it or surely dont have a computer. The poverty I have seen throughout my time here and how people live is something quite eye opening, but even more, how so many of them remain happy and positive. That is one thing I love about the Indonesian people. They are always laughing and smiling and they have something in them that is almost like an innate gift to make the most of things.

The following day we had a driver we hired to take us all around Jogja and to Borobudur, which was about an hour away. Borobudur wont be in this blog, because I paired it with my Prambanan visit, to save the best for last. Those two places made my trip truly amazing, but thats for later. First we went to some museums that made me want to fall back asleep, so I had to bare through that until we got to the Sultan's Palace. Jogja is actually one the few remaining places in Indonesia that is still ruled by a seperate king(sultan) and isnt under the power of the President. Jogja, often called "never ending Asia" is a completely different place than any other on Java. Its still recovering though, from a devistating earthquake that hit in the middle of 2006. You can see some of the rubbish that still exists on the beach pictures I have. It was sad to stand there on a beautiful beach and see where there used to be tons of houses and complete villages that are gone. The vibe there was empty and sad. It just didnt feel right.

There isnt a lot for me to tell about the Sultans palace, because Im not a history buff and dont care much about dates and times and all that jazz. I just really enjoyed taking pictures and it was at this point I started to get back into the passion of taking photos in different ways to try and capture the essence of Indonesia. I hope you enjoy them and are looking foward to seeing the photos to come about Borobudur and Prambanan. With those, Im actually going to throw some facts in and explain them a little because they are some of the most amazing places on earth. Thats all for now. I hope everyone had a great New Year, but even more, that the New Year will be great and bring us all joy and progression. To all my friends and family back home, I cant wait to see you again and catch up. To Zoe, well....I miss her more than words can say and there is an empty place in my bed where she is supposed to be snuggled up next to me :-(  For now though, I keep her pictures on my wall and talk to them in my Zoe voice and it gets me through the night.  Im sure if anyone heard me doing it, they might start to question my sanity.  Lucky for me, that has been in question for quite some time now, so oh well......

peace! nate
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