Solo is awesome!

Trip Start Jul 29, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

  The next leg of journey begins off schedule.  I was supposed to return from Merapi at 1:00 pm, since I did not get the sunrise I get back at 9ish.  Thankfully, the other teachers haven't left for sightseeing and they are so kind and offer me a bed to sleep in for a couple of hours.   At noon, I am schedule to meet up with Chris at a restaurant called Via Via. I guess they have these restaurants all over the world. They offer classes and tours of the particular area you are visiting.  I fell in love with this place because it has notebooks from notable locations in Indonesia; these notebooks are written in by fellow travelers.  There is a wealth of different types of stories and in different languages.  I spend an hour reading the stories and feel truly blessed to be able to read about these adventures.   These notebooks remind why I am so obsessed with my blog and such.  I personally love reading these stories on there tattered pages.  It makes feel like I get a glimpse into someone else's dreams and wishes.   It makes me feel like dreams and adventures are possible.  People take risk and travel across the world to just experience it.  Some people love this experience and others do not.   It also reminds me that I am neither the first nor the last to take this crazy journey.  Reading these notebooks make me indescribable happy.    I guess that I hope that this blog is read someday and it warms someone's heart.  When it comes down to it, I do feel lucky.  I do feel like I am living a fantasy, however my fantasy is rooted in reality and it comes with bad days and loneliness.  But the days don't compare to the days that I feel so lucky and am absorbing this new world around me.  Chris meets me before I become to absorb and we are headed to Solo, Indonesia for the next leg of the adventure.  
I wish I could tell you about the car ride to Solo.  However, I was so sleep deprived that I made Chris take a 20 dollar taxi for an hour and half ride, just so I could sleep.  The sleep was wonderful and by the time we got out of the car I felt refreshed and recharged.  Solo maybe one of my favorite places so far.  It is much quieter than the other towns I have seen.   There are not a lot of tourists that travel here; I wish I could tell you why.   However, the fact that it doesn't have a lot of tourist means there aren't a lot of hawkers.  You can walk around and be left alone, which is nice.  Bali did not have this effect.  Solo is the first Indonesian city with sidewalks and crosswalks!  This amazes me.  Although, I have to admit at times it does not take much.    We look for a hotel and the place we find is incredibly cheap, a room with air conditioning is just under $10 a night.    However, my room didn't have sheets, a working air condition, toilet paper or towels.  I can live without towels but I can not live without a top sheet nor can I live without toilet paper.  I decide not to stay here and found a hotel with a room that was just under $20 dollars a night.  It had a comforter and air conditioning.  The toilet situation wasn't much better.   I had to fill up a bucket of water every time I wanted to flush the toilet.  Oh well, you get what you pay for! 

Dinner was pretty crazy.  We ate at a little hole in the wall.  I ordered a cheese and garlic jaffle, which I thought was an Indonesian waffle.  Nope, I ordered a garlic sandwich.  The garlic was so strong that some bites burnt my mouth.  I could taste the garlic the next day, it was pretty wild.

I spend most of the time just discovering the streets.  Like Bali, Solo is made up of alleyways.  These alleys are filled with awesome little shops.  Most of the shops are batik shops.    Solo is wonderful because its just a cleaner city than I am used to.  I spend most of the time just wandering through the city, happy as a clam. One draw back to having no tourist is having no western bathrooms.  But, you deal with that like always.  My butt was very happy to be home back on a regular toilet that I could flush.  
After spending way too much time shopping, we tried to visit the two palaces.  There is a king's palace and a prince's palace.   We may have or may not have found the king's palace.  I think we found the mosque that nonmuslims were not allowed to walk into.  Although, all the people we asked assured us that we were at the palace, I am not convinced.  Leaving the first palace, we realized that we should probably take a taxi to the next one.  That way, we know that we have made it to the correct location.  There are no taxis so we had to take a cart bicycle trip.  There is a cute video of that if you can see it.     I tipped the man quite a lot for carting Chris and I around the city.  We are not the same dimensions as most Indonesian. The second palace was awesome there are many museums in this area and this actually looked like a museum.  The most interesting thing I learned was about the batik colors.  Green is supposed to ward off frustration.  Purple is supposed to discourages bad thoughts.  Red is supposed to get rid of evil spirits.  White keeps hunger away. I love this stuff.  I mean to write it down.  But, I am always afraid I will look like the biggest dork doing that.  We only had a day in Solo. So, there wasn't too much to report.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  Shutterfly has been updated as well!     
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