Friday, December 7, 2012

TRAVEL - Yogyakarta Day 2

We left Jogja around 5am and arrived at the temple grounds of Borobodur around 6am.  By this time, there's already a cue for foreign tourists.  I think foreigners can come in earlier as the cue for locals have yet to open at this time...probably a trade off for the exuberant entrance fee.

USD 20 per head in my opinion is just too steep.  Knowing locals just need to pay USD 3 doesn't help the cause either.  But what the heck, I came here to enjoy the experience of Borobodur.  Upon seeing Borobodur though, my immediate reaction was not WOW but WTF!!!

It's being renovated!?  While a good thing in terms of its preservation, couldn't they have scheduled it after my visit!?  I think this is already a curse as the same thing happened during our visit in Angkor Wat.

But a photographer makes no excuses!!!

Taken with a Canon 5D Classic, 17-40 4L, ND400 and .9 GND

Myself in courtesy of my friend Robby
It was really tough taking photos of the temple not just because of the tourists, but the security personnel who are all wearing ultra bright reflective yellow vests.  I actually have a wider shot of the temple but unfortunately they are all in the way.

Climbing the steps of Borobodur Temple and going around its walls, I just can't help but be in awe of all the stone carvings along its walls...and the way the colors pop when hit by the sun...

At a glance all walls may look the same but they are distinct in every way...

Walls are filled with impressive stone carvings such as this

Unfortunately, I only have so much time wondering around these walls.  Tourists are starting to arrive in droves and I can't afford not to take my desired photos of Borobudur's famed stupas.  So I blazed my way to the upper platform and managed to get these photos...

Achieved this shot via HDR...combining 5 photos in 1 stop increments.  Taken with a Canon 5D Classic, 17-40 4L, ND8 and CPL

Taken with a Canon 5D Classic, 17-40 4L, Hoya ND8 and .9 GND

Underexposed my shot to show a silhouette of the 2 mountains.  Taken with a 5D Classic and 24-105 4L

A few minutes later, place is already jam-packed both by local and foreign tourists.  Locals are composed mainly of students probably on their field trip.  I would've wanted to take more photos but there's just no way I can get the shots I want.

I just enjoyed roaming around the temple as a tourist and just took these snapshots on my way back...

Can't get enough of these stone carvings...

And another...

For some reason I'm still not that satisfied of my shot of the temple.  After going around looking for a better angle, I ended up with this.  Nothing really original but at least I got my shot...

Solution for tourists ruining your photo?  Blur them out! Taken with a Canon 5D Classic, 17-40 4L, ND400 and .9 GND

With more time to spare, we went to tour the foothills of Mt. Merapi.  An active volcano that erupted last October 25, 2010 and caused major damage to the city of Jogja.  Unfortunately, rain has started to fall and there was nothing but gloomy skies to show.  

These are the photos I managed to scrape up...

This huge boulder was spew out kilometers away from Mt. Merapi's crater

Myself enjoying the surroundings of Mt. only if the damn helmet didn't smell so bad!

Remains of the vehicles of Mt. Merapi's spiritual guardian  Mbah Maridjan.  He stayed at his home during the exlposion and was found dead in a praying position.

Local dessert...which name I forgot but will update as soon as I get to know it :)

This was my first time to experience the adventure lifestyle of Indonesia and I was not disappointed.  Never have I been this excited to go back to this country.  Good sites, good vibes, good views and a good travel buddy...

How can you not love life? :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

TRAVEL - Yogyakarta Day 1

Finally...another destination crossed out from my bucket list.

Borobodur Temple has always been a target destination of mine ever since I first went to Indonesia 5 years ago.  Time and company (I just don't want to be a lone traveller) has always been an issue so when the opportunity came, I didn't dare pass it up.

Our adventure started when we rode a Kereta Api train from Jakarta to Yogyakara (IDR 335,000 for the Exclusive seat).  My local companion, Robby, was actually surprised that I opted this mean of transportation when we can simply board a plane paying just 30% more.  I countered that I want to authenticate our adventure so here we go...

I am a bad traveller in a way that I don't get much sleep while on the road

View of our train carriage
We left Jakarta 2030 and arrived in Yogyakarta 0830...3 freaking hours OFF our ETA of 0530!  I was told that since it was raining hard in Yogyakarta the past couple of days, some railways were damaged. The delayed travel time I can live with...but RAINING!?

As it was too late to go to Borobodur, we went around Yogyakarata.  First stop is the hotspot Malioboro street...

Myself strolling around the busy...though not at this time...street of Malioboro

Travel in style with Jogja's local tricycle Becak

Something to cool the nerves...a bowl of sugar cane like juice with jellies and scraped melon for a measly IDR 6,000

While we're at it, had some traditional meals as well

I opted for this mixed green veggies smothered in sweet peanut sauce...and it ain't bad at all!  And it only cost IDR 6,000

Along the way, we saw a bulding calleded Vredeburg.  We entered it for the sake of curiosity and was surprised that it was a museum of some sort.  This is where I got to appreciate more of Yogyakarta and its relevance in the history of Indonesia's independence (not sure if the photo below has a relevance to it...but I consider it a shout for joy).

With more time to spare, we rented a becak to go around Yogyakarta...

All I can say is riding this is a lot harder than it looks...specially maneuvering the bike.
First stop was a spot wherein you have to cross in between two huge trees...BLINDFOLDED!  The gap between the trees was huge (probably 10 meters or more) but surprsisingly, the success rate of doing so was really low...even despite directions from the locals or your friends.

It is said that when you're successful in accomplishing this task, you have a good spirit and you can make a wish.  The former was the one that made me really confident...OR NOT ;)

View from my start point
I'm well on my way!!!
I actually failed in my first attempt but managed to do it in my second :)  While finding your way is a challenge, the toughest part for me was ignoring the smell of the blind fold they used.

Second stop was a couple of mosques/ temples.  It was a good "teaser" for our trip to Borobodur the next day.  Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera but thank goodness there's alway my iPhone.

Ain't no larger than life structure but still impressive nonetheless

After passing through a couple of awnings we were greeted with this view
View from atop...had to insert my hands and phone out the window bars to take this shot
Some local handicrafts...hammer head at the bottom is from a bull's horn

Another mosque we visited...I swear I will clone that arm at the right with Photoshop
As to my friend Robby, a similar setting from the Immortals movie...unfortunately I was not able to get photos without tourists as it was jampacked
So that's it.  Day 1 is a wrap.  It was still quite early but had to catch up with WORK so we called it a day.

Stay tuned for Day 2 :)