Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Magical Neon Javanese Food Tour

We savored our last few hours at the opulent InterContinental Bali Resort.

These guys understood me. Yes I want to see the ocean, but I don't necessarily want to be in the ocean.

For one thing there aren't any cocktails down there.

The artwork in this place was amazing.

We cabbed it back to the airport.

Our driver was a nice guy, but I think he took us to the wrong terminal and we had to lug our... luggage quite a ways to correct his mistake. Oh well.

We hit a lounge at the airport. They accepted lots of friggin cards to gain entry.

They had some good exotic Balinese food waiting for me to try. I think these were steamed plantains but they had a fun sign: "pisang kukus".

These were chocolately and crunchy little cookie hats.

One of the few souvenirs I bought was this kopi luwak coffee. They feed coffee berries to an Asian palm civet and then collect the beans from its poop. I thought this was a good present for my boss.

On plane announcement: “trafficking drugs carries the death penalty.”

Lydia up from nap: “what carries the death penalty!?”

Me: “Ice cream”

The AirAsia flight was short and uneventful but I did find something fun in the in-flight magazine.

It was a little shoutout to my Japanese hometown: Ashikaga!! They have a giant wisteria plant at the Ashikaga Flower Park and they have a little festival when it's in bloom. I checked it out in 2008.

I was impressed by this wooden carved entrance set up in the Yogyakarta, Java airport.

We had just been magically transported from the Indonesian isle of Bali to the Indonesian isle of Java. Indonesia is not currently experiencing a shortage of isles.

I was pretty quickly annoyed. Does this friggin place have puppetry that I wasn't aware of?!? Luckily we'd just seen some pretty choice water puppetry in Vietnam or I may have had a full blown breakdown.

Our hotel wasn't as palatial as the previous one but it was nice enough. 

I was feeling a bit unwelcome so it was lucky that there was a welcome snack at check-in.

The had this interesting gazebo with a mannequin musician in the hotel lobby.

Bali is the only Hindu majority province in Indonesia, and it was quickly clear that Java is a majority Muslim locale. For some reason we seem to love visiting Muslim places on Ramadan so as to increase the chances that we do something culturally inappropriate.

We were at the mall when... there was a loud announcement. It was either a call to prayer or an announcement that the sun had gone down and so the Ramadan fasting period was over for the day.

Pandan is like a little palm tree looking plant that is often used for flavoring. You can see it has been used because the food will be green.

At some point in our travels we realized that food tours are very much worth the investment, and now we go on them all the time. This turned out to be one of the best food tours I can recall. Our guide Kalika really killed it.

The Gilig Golong Monument in the middle of this traffic circle symbolizes the "unification between the king (golong) and the people (gilig)".

Satay is a word that seems to encompass all kinds of meat on skewers. I wasn't super excited about eating meat that had been sitting outside for who knows how long, but I ate it anyway.

We got all the food groups: hearts, intestines, and quail eggs.

We got these little packets of rice as a side dish. Nasi kucing, or cat rice, often comes with a little sambai chilli sauce on the side as seen here.

By far the most exotic dish on this stop was the coffee. We couldn't very well come to the island of Java and not have the local coffee now could we? Around here they drop chunks of hot charcoal into the coffee to remove its acidity.

A really fun part of the tour was our transportation. We got to ride around the numerous stops in this cool contraption. It was like someone welded a ski lift onto the front of a motorcycle. Sure we would be killed by any sudden stops, but it made for an exhilarating ride through the streets of Yogyakarta.

We went to a cool tea shop, Jamu Jawa Tradisional Lugu Murni, and had all sorts of concoctions. It was funny because I would look up what each one was and I would barely know any more than when I started because I had no frame of reference.

Sri the tea shop owner was a nice lady. I hope she wasn't too offended that we didn't finish any of her teas.

We stopped for some traditional Javanese gudeg. 

I assume this is zombie related.

Gudeg is made from unripe jackfruit slow cooked with palm sugar and coconut milk. Really you could slow cook my foot in palm sugar and coconut milk and it would come out delicious. Also eating off of a leaf makes Indonesian food seem awesome and exotic. Like we're all on Gilligan's Island or something.

Not buying cans of this and making people back home eat it is a large regret of mine.

We ate about 42 things and so I don't remember what all of them even were.

We got pretty full and this wasn't that great so it mostly got moved around in the bowl.

There was so much to look forward to on this tour. It went on for hours and I wasn't bored for a second of it. We went to this park that was surrounded by these fantastic neon pedal cars. They were lit up and had fun music blaring. I've never seen anything like this before!

I picked the manliest ride I could find with both Hello Kitty and a unicorn.

Got to watch some music videos during our cruise session.

We did this little game where you rent a blindfold from a dude, put it on, then try to walk across the park in between two trees. It turns out it's really hard to walk in a straight line without relying on your sight. We both tried and failed.

Another of our challenges was to walk around on stilts. Lydia seemed to strangely have a talent for this. I was not very good at it at all.

No electricity? No problem! Just plug a lightbulb into a car battery.

Our last little snack of the tour was a dessert. Wedang Ronde may be my first ever dessert soup. It's made with bread, sticky rice, and pink palm fruit all floating in a hot broth of ginger tea. Kalika said that during Dutch colonization a lot of sugarcane was planted in Java, and many of their foods are still very sweet as a result.

The steaming treat was a great way to make a sweaty night in Indonesia even hotter.

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