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Yogyakarta

Written on: Friday March 14th, 2008

A big improvement on the capital - Yogyakarta is a cool city to visit, with it's maze of tiny little alleyways to negotiate to find your budget accommodation and cool little bars and restaurants. I stayed only for a couple of days during which I walked around the place and was the victim of dozens of attempts by locals to sell me the traditional Batik Art. The sales pitch was always the same... "Did you hear about the art exhibition?..... No? Well you are very lucky as it's the last day today and fortunately it's just down this alley behind me".

If you ever visit this city be warned - there is always an Art Exhibition just about to end. In South East Asia you get used to people trying to con you. Mostly I don't mind as you get charged the equivalent of a few pence more and if that helps them make a bit of money then that's fine with me. However I am always wary of the big con artists and for that reason am on my guard when friendly people approach me offering some friendly advice or asking to practice their already good English (as we learnt in China).

I had a couple of surprises here though. The first was a local who approached me in the street and walked with me down the main road into town whilst he was on his way to pick his son up from school - he was simply interested in where I was from and what I was up to and upon arriving at his destination shook my hand and let me be. Secondly I met a local who worked at the local palace and who sent me to a genuine Batik gallery where you could see a demonstration of how to make Batik from the actual Artists, and where they displayed prices and didn't try to con me. He also kindly got me a local bicycle taxi to take me there for 20,000 Rupiah - about 10p.