Asia

Excursion to the Javanese and Borobudur villages from Yogjakarta

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For that morning we hired another tour «Different» with Via-Via. It consisted of visit a typical Javanese village by bike. At first, I thought it would be a farce and that they would end up taking us to workshops to sell us batiks or silver, very popular in the area, but, despite the suspicion, we decided to give them a chance.

At 8 o'clock Lifti, who would be our guide, accompanied us to look for bicycles and we set off. We were pedaling about twenty minutes through the bustling streets of Yogyakarta towards the outskirts, until we turn right down a street and the field began. Suddenly, we were pedaling on rough roads, surrounded by rice fields and low houses and farm animals running around. He leitmotivfrom this guided tour was to know what life is like in Java. The life of normal people, outside tourism. What I liked most was that we were cycling through the fields and, if we saw someone working the land or doing some activity, the guide asked them permission to enter and explained the process they were following.

Basically, most people are engaged in the field or in the manufacture of products. We made the first stop in a workshop krupukwhich is a prawn bread (similar to what they serve in Chinese restaurants here) and that they serve there with almost all meals. We were taught that there were two types: the flat, which was prawn flour, and the wavy, which is made with sardine flour. We were explaining the process from the beginning and we saw in the painful conditions in which they worked. It was a family business and several families lived on the benefits.

When we left the workshop, we continued pedaling in the direction of the "bank" of the town. Lifti said it in quotes and did not want to explain more, but before arriving there, he saw a man making bricks and asked if we could go to see how he did them, to which he agreed without any problem. The bricks made them with mud and normally rented a piece of land to someone where they worked for a season with the condition of not digging more than 80 centimeters so that the land would not be damaged for future crops. The task seemed simple, I went to the ground that had the mud prepared with water, put it in a mold, filled it, pressed well so that there was no air left, put some water to level the shapes and continued with the process. The man was a machine. In one day he made 600 bricks and, as the business was his, (he was basically only working) depending on the day or the weather more or less.

The bank

After seeing the brick process, we went to the bank, which turned out to be a cow bank or stable. For the owners of the animals that do not have space in their houses, they rent one to the owner of the bank, who is usually the village chief. He told us that there were about 28 animal owners who took turns every night to ensure that they were not robbed or set on fire. Bank. If this happened, they had an alarm system that consisted of a wooden horn, with which they could ask the rest of the town's neighbors for help.

Near to Bank There was a small cemetery. One of the things that Lifti told us is the tolerance that exists between the different religions that follow in the city. An example of this was the cemetery, where the entire world of the town was buried there regardless of religion, so in the same land you were a Muslim, a Christian, etc. Even the ceremonies were done together.

We keep pedaling. It was ten in the morning and it was unbearably hot. We passed a rice field where they were collecting and, after asking permission, we went to see how they did it. The women were in charge of mowing the rice and carrying it tied in bundles on the back where the men were. There they picked up a bouquet and threw some blows against a wood to loosen the grain of rice. All manually and under an unbearable sun and heat ... of course I will never complain about my work again.

We continued pedaling for a while until we reached a small workshop where they dried the rice and then passed it through a machine to remove the pod, with which we saw the entire process of rice production. After visiting this workshop, we returned to the bicycles to go to a house where they manufactured tempe, which is a mass of garlic bean fermented with garlic that is usually eaten fried. To prepare it, you have to put a pile of soybeans, which the previous day will have been soaking, on a banana leaf and a piece of newspaper. It is closed by making a sack and allowed to ferment for two days.

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