I took my laundry to a laundry lady. Although it advertises as a one day service, I'm pretty sure she indicated that mine would take two days. Anton came with me today to check I'd got it right. I had got it right....I'm such a fabulously talented communicator.....which means I can't leave town tomorrow, because I'd have no clothes.....
So the adventures in Yogyakarta continue. I try new and different foods. I visit new places. I have new experiences, and I have someone to answer all my questions. It's fantastic, although a good pizza would go down well......
That said, the little food stall across from Anton's house is amazing. They have an old cart, with a wooden bench, cook everything over a naked gas flame, and come up with the most amazing dishes, in such a very short time. This is real fast food, and it's really good for you. Tonight, three of us had hearty meals and hot drinks for a grand total of $2.50. Gotta love it. I've offered for them to come and cook every night for me in Hanmer.
Today Anton wanted some help fixing a bike, a new front chain ring and bottom bracket for Agyita's bike. Sure I'd help. So I set too. But I can't find what I deam to be appropriate tools.....Oh we just use hammer and chisel for that......oh my..... I seem to be having a run of seized bolts. I cannot budge one, which stops me getting the bottom bracket out. No problem. We will take bike to my friend......a scooter mechanic....who gets out his BIG HAMMER AND CHISEL, knocks the bolt to kingdomcome, and solves the problem. I'm cringing at every crash, bash and smash. I'm very glad Fiona wasn't there. Truely total Bike Torture.
Anton wants to buy some material so as he can make a footprint for his tent, to protect the tent floor on rough, stoney, prickly ground. Since I'm a Guide and Outdoor Instructor, he's convinced I'll be able to help him choose appropriate material. We head into the city..... Its unsafe to take our bikes into the Centre city as they will be stolen, so we catch a bus...... Rick Stirling would love it. I guarantee the bus hasn't had a COF in 20 years. It's a clanger. Torn seats, holes in roof, doubtful that any door would shut, but the motor runs, and the wheels go around...the conductor hangs out the back one yelling at traffic to get out of the way....and it's fill, and costs us 30 cents to go 5km. At traffic lights the driver sits in the right turn lane. He anticipates the lights, and takes off before they change, zooming along the empty right hand lane, past all the tardy vehicles that haven't yet moved because the light is not yet green. We cross the line at that very moment, and cut across the intersection in front of everyone...even in front of all the scooters.....and now have a clear road....but have to stop within 25m, for a passenger. I'm sure he's been to the Rick Stirling bus drivers course....
Saw another Police Scooter check today. At least ten coppers, waving all the scooters to the side of the road. No license, no helmet, no I don't know what else, and it's a 50,000R fine, instantly, into someone's pocket...... The other day I was on my bike and as the lights changed red, and I was the only one about, I stopped. A cop on the side of the road put his helmet on and walked straight towards me across the traffic. Hello Mister. Where you from? He puts his hands on a scooter next to me, and drags it and the rider to the side of the road....through the traffic....Fine for no helmet. And I thought it was me that was in trouble....whew.
So we are in this huge shop filled with all sorts of textiles and materials. We find a roll of material that seems to be water proof, the right weight and texture. Anton then goes to get a customer number. We wait, sitting amongst the rolls and rolls of material, at least 30 minutes until a material measurer and cutter gets to us, number 52. She measures, cuts and folds, then takes our purchase to a counter and gives us a docket. We carry the docket downstairs to a cashier, and pay. She gives us another docket, stapled to the first, which we take to the front desk, by the front door, where we are given our purchase and a receipt. How to employ as many persons as possible.
The streets of the cental city are very busy. I even see a few European faces. There are dozens, no hundreds, of stores selling t shirts, tourist stuff, batik, and the like, and that's before we venture into a huge Batik market. It's very colourful, very vibrant, very busy, and with the horse and carts, rickshaws and tourist buses, not to forget the thousands of scooters, very noisy. I'm not in my comfort zone. I'm sure no real male would be....(except my mate Fletch who is on a Med cruise, visiting every shopping mall in Europe...he's tuff)
We wander south across a huge empty area, the Alun Alun, which sits just north of the Southern Palace. This is where markets and festivals happen. Today it is dusty, sandy and hot, and a tad dirty, but I can easily imagine it being thriving and throbbing with people. Apparently, when the Sultans daughter was married it was just that.
The busy streets, heaps of shops and clothes remind me of a wander through a "supermarket" I did in Solo. It was a Super Market. Several floors of clothes of every type, but very "westernised". On each floor were dozens of young female attendants, who seemed to just stand and watch. Every floor was packed with tables, stacked with clothes, and there were lots of customers. It seemed that once again you made your choice, told an attendant, who then arranged for the items to get to the front door. I couldn't spot where you actually paid. The most scarey thing of all though, was that there was only one exit...down four esculators. I would not have liked being in there in an emergency and trying to get out.
Then there was the bookstore. Wow. Seemingly mostly secondhand, in fact Anton was handed a pile of cycling magazines, the newest 2006, but covering so many topics. I know I'm naive, but to see so many books in Indonesian, was actually a shock to me....which is really stupid, but.....why not I had to tell myself.
We solved the bank problem. Rian was with me in the ATM kiosk, making sure I was following the prompts correctly. I was trying to withdraw 1,000,000R, ($100). It wouldn't work. He suggested trying 250,000R ($25)... Yahoo. It works. I have money in my pocket.
The average salary for a Javanese is $50 to $100..... a month. Agyita pays $150 (1,500,000R) rent, for her room, just a bedroom, every six months. So they don't get paid much, but living is very cheap. Unfortunately, that means that even if they want to travel overseas, it is really far far too expensive.