About Our Group

We are a group of 12 students and 2 professors from Calvin College venturing to Indonesia for three weeks. While in Indonesia, we will visit schools and businesses, along with seeing the sights! We fly out from GRR on January 2 and arrive back in Grand Rapids on January 23.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 11: Welcome to Yogyakarta

Well hey there everybody! Are you ready to hear about more adventures from Indonesia? I can't hear you! Ok! Let's go!

The morning started off more hectic than we were anticipating. We left the hotel for our flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta (pronounced Joe-Jakarta, or at least that's how I say it). However, because traffic was heavier than expected we found ourselves struggling to check in for our flight with 10 minutes until takeoff. Luckily, Feyban was there to interpret for us and the employees were helpful. They rushed us through the airport, directed us to a different gate, and led us out onto the runway to board our plan. We didn't even receive too many dirty looks from the other passengers. All in all it all turned out pretty well (except that I had to sit between 2 strangers. That sucked).

We were thrust right into touring when we arrived in Yogyakarta. Our first stop was a Batik workshop. For those of you with limited knowledge of fabric-making, Batik is a special technique for making designs on fabric. You take a special instrument (kind of like a wooden pen with a metal container and pipe at the top) and use it to drip beeswax onto a design stenciled on the fabric. They dye the fabric and then take the wax off, leaving the pattern. After a quick tour of the place we were given an opportunity to try our hands at making our own Batik. There were a bunch of older women doing it so I figured "how hard could it be, right?" After I'd dripped hot beeswax on my bare skin for the third time I fully appreciated how much effort and skill it took to make Batik. I also remembered how I got a B in middle school art. But it was still a lot of fun to try it out.

Women making Batik

Batik pre-dying

Some of us making our batik

Ruwan making his batik

The thing that heats the beeswax

We ate lunch at the Sultan's Palace restaurant. It was buffet style with pretty normal Indonesian food. We did get to try snakeskin fruit for the first time. The outside looks and feels just like a snakeskin. The fruit itself is fairly mediocre, but it was cool to try. They also had live music at the restaurant. Some old (we're talking ancient) men playing some bells and an old woman singing. They were pretty good.
Snakeskin fruit

 Playing the live music

Our next two stops were pretty similar. There was a leather market and a ceramic market. The leather market had a bunch of shops selling shoes, wallets, jackets, etc. and the ceramic market was selling statues, vases, figurines, etc. It was fun to look around. There was some especially cool stuff at the ceramic market.

 Considered buying this, but I thought it MIGHT put my bag over the 50 pound limit

Our final tour stop was Parangtritis Beach. This was just a fun little beach to chill at for a little while. There were various vendors around. I think there were about 5 different guys trying to sell me sunglasses. The sand was dark because it was near a volcano. There were also horse drawn carriages that you could pay $2 for a ride. The current was too strong to swim in, but that was ok because it was cloudy anyways. Some members of our group were swarmed by locals trying to get pictures with them. For some odd reason Indonesians have an obsession with white people. They LOVE getting their pictures with us. At the beach we also learned that Kelsey has a violent side when she entered a bamboo sword fight with Nate and blood was drawn from Nate's hand. We spent the rest of the day at the hospital as they fixed up the 3 broken bones in Nate's hand (just kidding. He put on a band-aid and was fine).

Chillin' at the beach (it was really windy)

For dinner we went to Gadjah Wong. We all could choose our main course from one of three options, all of which people enjoyed very much. We even got ice cream for desert, which was wonderful. Conversation consisted of  "would you rathers" and questions like "what's the most life-threatening thing you've ever done?" Answers will be kept confidential for the sake of both those who answered and the parents of those who answered.

That was pretty much our day. I'm sure you're wishing you were here with us, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Fortunately, you can continue to live vicariously through us! We're hoping to catch up on our posts in the next day or so, God-willing, so keep checking back!

Terima kasih (thank you) for your prayers for safety and open minds. We truly appreciate them. May the force be with you.

-Big Ben

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