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Once Around The Sun

38807 km

YOGYAKARTA a university city of Java and many kids come from Sumatra, Sulawesi and even Papua to complete their studies here. The city is named after the Indian city of Ayodhya from the Ramayana epic. Yogya means "suitable, fit, proper", and karta, "prosperous, flourishing" (i.e., "a city that is fit to prosper"). It also sounds funny a bit to a Hungarian speaking. Yogi being a lovable bear character from Hanah-Barbera Studios and 'akarta' means wanted, as 'Yogi wanted this' and with that translation who could resist Jogja, as many locals shorten the name. It is also a special region politically. Officially called the 'Special Region of Yogyakarta' is an autonomous region under governing of the last Sultan, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X.

The Sultans palace is the first thing on the agenda, followed by The Water Palace which used to serve as sultans harem. Among these we have accidentally come across a coffee house which served the 'cat shit' coffee that has recently become so popular and infamous, Luwak Coffee. Luwak is a cat like animal that feeds on the finest rape coffee beans. While the beans itself are not digested, they pass the animal with some changes in beans chemistry, retaining all caffein but being less acidy. Intrigued by the 'shit coffee' we gave it a try and indeed it is delicious, if only it wasn't so expensive. The sales pitch goes with reasoning that the cats only pick the best beans and those have to be digested, pooped, dried, washed, dried, roasted, grind and brewed. To my question whether these cats are free to roam the plantations, or kept in cage for this purpose, the lady assured me the animals are free and wild. Which would be OK and the price tag would be justified if it was true. However I've read about this coffee before and I know that the cats are often kept captive and force fed those beans. Which means the animals don't 'handpick' those best beans for us, instead they have their diverse diet dumbed down and stuffed down their neck. And that just defeats the purpose... On the other hand what got me thinking is who was the genius that came up with the idea? And for gods sake, WHY?! The story goes that during the colonial era the Dutch overlords did not allow the farmers to use any coffee from the plants. They didn't want anything to do with poop, however since that was full of coffee, ingenious farmers discovered a strong black coffee low in acidy oils. I can't stress it enough, is really delicious. Also barbaric!

One very early morning we were about to find out that all is about sunrise on Java. The main attraction of Borobodur and Prambanan temples is sold along a sunrise tour. So we woke up at 3am just so we can stand on the top of a hill and stare into the fog. Thankfully the ancient temples that we actually wanted to see made up for the unfavourable weather conditions in the morning. Borobodur being a Buddhist temple sitting in the morning mist and surrounded by jungle resembled Bagan a little. Except the black volcanic stone that was used to build it. Prambanan is Hindi temple and Majka pointed out it looks a bit like Angkor Wat. In both of the temples school kids found us again with their requests of selfies. Unsure why are WE the main attraction and unable to say no, we have probably made it to hundreds of Facebook and Instagram profiles. Seems like kids don't see many tourists and like to take trophies. Whatever the reason, we now know how Brangelina may feel. It is not for us!

We made a decision to pay in for a couple day tour to see some pretty cool volcanic landscapes for the next couple of days. The transport, accommodation with breakfast and the sunrise tours work out surprisingly much better value than if we would try and attempt to go on our own. For the next few days we will be waking between midnight and 2.30am for those mentioned sunrises hikes and travelling through best part of the day. Looks exhausting I just hope it will be worth all the hassle....


​© 2022 by JAN ROCKAR

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