I made sure to wake up early today in order to catch the 07:00 train to Yogyakarta. I packed my bags and walked to the train station; shortly after purchasing my ticket, I crossed the tracks to board the appropriate train. At exactly 07:00 we were on our way. In between sleep and reading, I watched the Indonesian countryside pass me by; I watched villages, jungle, rice paddies, volcanoes, and mostly flat farmland through the window. After about eight hours, we arrived at the Yogyakarta station. From there, I exited the station and walked through the city, following the map provided by Booking.com. I came to where my hostel was supposed to be, then walked up and down the road trying to find it; eventually a local man figured out which hostel I must be looking for and directed me down a side alley to where it was; once again the map from Booking.com had failed me.
After checking in and dropping off my bags, I walked the around the city for some time. During my walk I passed by several protestors standing in a street intersection holding up banners for peace in Palestine, but it was fine, all the traffic went around them and their cause. It was already past 16:00 and it was a Friday (the day of worship for Muslims), so all the main attractions were closed. I found a cafe with a number of foreigners sitting at the tables outside. I decided to give it a try and ordered chicken satay with rice, french fries and a beer. After finishing my meal, I walked over to a shadow puppet theater near the Sultan’s Palace (also known as the Kraton complex). I arrived at the theater far too early, but one of the workers there was kind enough to show me around; I then passed my time reading until the show started. In the theater, the audience was free to move around and watch the show from “backstage” or from the “front”, where you actually see the shadows of the puppets. The performance itself was two hours long and I opted to watch the “backstage” for the first eighty minutes; there was one puppeteer manipulating all the characters in the show and doing all the voices; there was also three ladies who would sing either solo or as a chorus; then there were the musicians that would bang on the gongs, drums, and other brass instruments, as well as one guy who used a regular (non-brass) drum and a stringed instrument. For the last forty minutes, I watched from the “front” and it proved to be more interesting than I had previously thought (I thought all the best action would be provided by the puppeteer and musicians, which was interesting, but the show – as it was meant to be seen – was equally as interesting; although I think opium should be issued to the audience so they can smoke it and truly enjoy the two-dimensional, foreign-language, stilted, strange show). Finally the show was complete and I walked back to the hostel. Once there, I researched my plan for tomorrow before having a beer and going to sleep.