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Honeymoon: Part 2 of 6

Stephanie and I had certain expectations before we left for Indonesia - expectations based on very little. We thought we would simply be sitting on the beach in paradise every day. Well, paradise it was, but the beach was only a small part of everything there was for us to see.

We traveled to the far side of the globe, and I don’t think I really understood how far that is. We drove to Dallas, flew from Dallas to Chicago, and then from Chicago to New York and spent the night there. The next day, we flew from New York, 17 hours to Tokyo, where we again stayed overnight. The following day we flew from Tokyo, 7 and a half hours in to Jakarta, and immediately drove five hours through winding mountain roads to Bandung in central Java where Stephanie’s dad’s family is originally from. It is long way from Abilene to Bandung. We stayed in Bandung for about three days to get acclimatized to the time change and to become accustomed to the very different culture.

From Bandung, we took a train ride into the city of Yogya (pronounced Joke-Ja). We were in Yokya for about three days. In Yogya, we spent our time seeing the ancient temples of Borubador and Prambanan, the south Asian equivalents of the pyramids. There was a teeming and overwhelming market with all kinds of foods, crafts, clothes, and everything else imaginable, called Malioboro.

We also visited that city’s bird market. This was a very densely packed few blocks where hundreds of vendor stands were concentrated that sold all kinds of birds, stacked in countless cages. This is apparently where one would go to buy a bird as a pet, and there were all kinds.

In addition to just pet birds, you could also find a lot more there as well, like cats and dogs, bats, monkeys, and even the Komodo dragon. We got a picture of Stephanie holding the wing tips of a bat as it hung upside down from its perch, and the bat’s wing span was almost as wide as Stephanie’s extended arms. At one point I saw an eagle on a perch at the back of one stall. I walked in to see it close up, and Stephanie saw that I had walked just past another eagle that was sitting on a table, so close I had almost brushed up against it without seeing it. It is an unreal thing to be so close to such a large and amazing bird. The closest I had ever before been to such an animal was at a zoo, through various layers of fences and plexi-glass, but here was the real thing, close enough to touch.

We looked over the side of one concrete stall and saw a Komodo dragon. We paid the owner 3000 rupiah (about 30 cents) so that we could take its picture. He climbed in, pulled the lizard out and set it on the ground in front of us. It was incredible. The conditions that all of these animals were being kept in were extremely poor, and it was truly horrible to see, but at the same time it was really fascinating, and we will remember it as one of the highlights of the trip.  

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 06:47AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in | CommentsPost a Comment

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