A mural by Kalpika studio, also known for modern batik school.

Java Impressions

If I were to choose an island to do my scholarship again, my choice would still be Bali. However, Java would be just behind Bali. With its population of nearly 57% of the country, Java is a dominant island of Indonesia in many aspects: economically, politically and culturally. Jakarta, the capital city, is located on western Java. Javanese was considered to be the official language of Indonesia, but luckily for other ethnic groups in the country, eventually the standardized register of Malay – Bahasa Indonesia – was declared as the national language.

What strikes me first every time I get off a ferry that goes from Bali to other islands, is that I don’t see Hindu offerings anymore, I don’t smell the incense sticks. Instead, I hear muezzin calls five times a day. Bali is a little Hindu oasis surrounded with prevailingly Muslim islands, and Java is one of them.

Below some impressions from my bike trip to Java. Soon, some stories from the trip will follow.

Ijen - a complex of active volcanos seen from Banyuwangi.
Ijen – a complex of active volcanoes seen from Banyuwangi.
Cemara Beach, Bayuwangi
Cemara Beach, Banyuwangi.
E. Pisani wrote in her book that once one person from a village starts a successful business, all others will follow with the same business. This was a street full of shops with tin pots.
E. Pisani wrote in ‘Indonesia, Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation’ that once one person from a village starts a successful business, all others will follow with the same business. This was a street full of shops with tin pots.
Papuma Beach
Papuma Beach
Even in Indonesia I will find some cats to cuddle!
Even in Indonesia I will find some cats to cuddle!
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
One of them ended up in my stomach. Sendang Biru Beach.
One of them ended up in my stomach. Sendang Biru Beach.
Bakpao, filled steamed bread rolls.
Bakpao, filled steamed bread rolls.
Beringharjo Market, Yogyakarta
Beringharjo Market, Yogyakarta.
Buying krupuk, traditional crispy snack made from starch with seafood. Beringharjo Market, Yogyakarta.
Buying krupuk, traditional crispy snack made from starch with seafood. Beringharjo Market, Yogyakarta.
Kebun Buah Mangunan
Kebun Buah Mangunan
Kelapa muda means young coconut in Indonesian. Do not ask for kepala, like I did. Kepala means head.
Kelapa muda means young coconut in Indonesian. Do not ask for kepala, like I did. Kepala means head.
Batik, traditional method of dyeing fabric. Patternt is drawn with wax, which is resistant to colouring, and then the whole cloth is boiled to remove the wax.
Batik, traditional method of dyeing fabric. Pattern is drawn with wax, which is resistant to colouring, and then the whole cloth is boiled to remove the wax.
Wax used in batik production.
Wax used in batik production.
Applying wax requires precision. If too hot, wax gets too thin.
Applying wax requires precision. If too hot, wax gets too thin.
Batik in progress.
Drying batik.
Wayang - Javanese performance with shadow-puppets. Museum Sonobudoyo, Yogyakarta.
Wayang – Javanese performance with shadow puppets. Museum Sonobudoyo, Yogyakarta.
Javanese gamelan - the orchestra accompanying the wayang performance.
Javanese gamelan – the orchestra accompanying the wayang performance. Sounds more melancholic than the Balinese gamelan.
Wayang shadow-puppets are crafted from buffalo hide using tiny chisels and a hammer.
Wayang shadow puppets are crafted from buffalo hide using tiny chisels and a hammer.
Gorengan - street food fried in batter and tones of oil.
Gorengan – street food fried in batter and tones of oil.
Martabak - a dish made of eggs and onion, deep fried.
Martabak – a dish made of eggs and onion, deep fried.
Getting to a toilet in a warung involves going through the backstage.
Getting to a toilet in a warung involves going through the backstage.
The biggest mortar I have ever seen. In the backstage of a warung.
The biggest mortar I have ever seen. In the backstage of a warung.
Gado gado - a dish made of vegetables, tofu, eggs, lontong (configuration depending on the region) in sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
Gado gado – a dish made of vegetables, tofu, eggs, lontong (different varieties depending on the region) in sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
Gereja Ayam - Chicken Church. It doesn't even pretend to be chicken, it is an actual chicken.
Gereja Ayam – Chicken Church. It doesn’t even pretend to be a chicken, it is an actual chicken.
The view from the head of the chicken, Mount Merbabu on the horizon.
The view from the head of the chicken, Mount Merbabu on the horizon.
Taman Sari Water Castle, Yogyakarta - from the balcony where this picture was taken, the Sultan threw a flower to the pool. In the pool there were 24 women waiting for the flower from Sultan. The one who caught had a privillage to swim with the Sultan in his private pool. Swim - this is what I've been told.
Taman Sari Water Castle, Yogyakarta – from the balcony where this picture was taken, the Sultan used to throw a flower to the pool. In the pool there were 24 women waiting for the flower from the Sultan. The one who caught it would have a privillage to swim with the Sultan in his private pool. Swim – this is what I’ve been told.
Taman Sari complex is now surrounded with regular houses, and everyday life do not resemble royal way of living. In the 18th century this was all a large artificial lake.
Taman Sari complex is now surrounded with regular houses, and everyday life does not resemble the royal way of living. In the 18th century this was all a large artificial lake.
Visiting a school in Yogyakarta.
Visiting a school in Yogyakarta.
A street barber, Yogyakarta.
A street barber, Yogyakarta.
Kebun Teh Wonosari - The Tea Plantation
Kebun Teh Wonosari – The Tea Plantation.

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Emilia Majewska

I am not a traveler. I love my home country - Poland, my favourite activity is lying in my bed with my cat and I cannot stay vertical without my morning coffee. But at the same time, I love my life and everything it offers to me. Once I got accepted for a yearly scholarchip in Indonesia, I packed my backpack, gave my crying parents a goodbye kiss each and came to Bali.

2 thoughts on “Java Impressions”

  1. O rany Emilka,gdzie Twoje piękne włosy 😱?A w ogóle to pierwszy raz tu komentuję,ale czytam regularnie😊 podsumowując: piękne zdjęcia,Ty opalona, szczęśliwa i jeszcze młodsza!Zazdroszczę!😘

    1. Monia, ja nie wiem kiedy my się ostatnio widziałyśmy ale moje włosy dawno nie były piękne 🙂 ale dziękuję i zapraszam w odwiedziny. Do końca maja będę na Bali z dużą dozą pewności, potem – nie wiadomo.

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