Friday, December 26, 2008

Solo Can You Go?

Day 291
I wanted to mutiny against my alarm clock. Before coming to Indonesia I would go weeks without even looking at it. Now I'm glued to it. I did sleep in later than I intended, but I still made the 10 am train to Solo.

The pedicab drivers tried to overcharge me, but it didn't annoy me. I just pointed out to them that my guidebook listed the correct price and they gave it to me.

LP recommended one place above all the others and I got myself a room there. It was more expensive but offered warmish water and a free breakfast. It really wasn't that much more expensive but it was much nicer.

Solo has it's own sultan and I wanted to go and check out his Kraton. I got pretty lost but was still determined to walk there. Along the way a pedicab driver told me that if I didn't pay him for a ride he wouldn't be eating dinner. I still declined. At one point I walked through a field and took a picture of some goats. The locals were laughing at me and must of thought I was crazy, I just can't get over there being goats in the middle of a bit town. When I got to what I thought was the Kraton it turned out to be a mosque. I didn't go in but I sat in the courtyard and studied my map. A girl sitting nearby named Dewi offered to walk me to the Kraton. We chatted on the way and before parting we exchanged email addresses.

The Kraton was quite interesting, more so than in Yogo. I was put into a group tour and my guide spoke good English. The Solo and Yogo sultans are related way back and a friendly to this day. The structure was built in 1745 in the Dutch style with materials from all over Europe and Java. The current family is in it's thirteenth generation. The previous king had 36 children, the 11th king had 92! They must have been very busy!

The museum had a nice collection but it was not well taken care of. People were also touching all of the objects, even the guide! This included 1300 year old statuary. I wanted to scream at them! Most of the objects were ceremonial and the guide explained these in great detail. While the rest of my group was drinking from the wishing well I went to buy some bottled water. A woman in line in front of me struck up a conversation with me and then insisted on buying my water. I felt bad, but it was only about fifteen cents.

I managed to get a basic understanding of Indonesian history. The Dutch were here at some point and it wasn't until Japan occupied the country during WWII that they were gotten rid of. After WWII Indonesia became its own country.

When I was done with the museum I grabbed some gado-gado from a roadside stand. It was fabulous. While I was wandering back to my hotel I found some guys making flower signs. I have seen these everywhere commemorating every occasion but had not seen them being made. They were very nice and let me take a picture.

Back at my hotel I discovered that I had left my bar of laundry soap in Bukittinggi. This really annoyed me and I spent the walk to the supermarket chastising myself for not being more careful with my things. It was a brand new bar. I did need some other things though so at least I got the erends over with. Back at the hotel I washed my things and myself. For dinner I went to a nearby place and met a guide. There was a day trip that I had wanted to do but felt that it was really overpriced. He gave me a deal on that as well as on a trip to Mount Bromo and then onto Bali. It was a productive dinner.

Back at my hotel I spent a bit of time writing before calling it a night.

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