Tropical Punch Tour: Java Part 8
Featuring Wayang Orang at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo.
Author: garry
Friday, June 18, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Solo, Java, Indonesia


On the train from Yogyakarta to Solo, Java.


Yummy spaghetti at Warung Baru in Solo, Java.


For the past few days, I couldn't decide if I should backtrack the 50 or so miles to Solo, but since the Tugu station is only a couple of blocks from my room, I finally decided to hop on a train today and go for it. En route, the train passed a lot of farms growing crops like rice and corn, which, on the way into Solo, eventually gave way to scenes of incredible poverty and squalor within a series of super raw shanty towns. I'm talking about dirt floors, garbage strewn everywhere, rusty tin roofs shot up with a million holes and patched with every kind of random material known to humanity.

A blizzard of signs in Solo, Java.


A quaint little cart in Solo, Java.


Colorful storefronts in Solo, Java.


A little banana pie treat I bought from a cart in Solo, Java.


A weird-looking monument in Solo, Java.


I got a super-basic room for $6.00 at Istana Griya with a mattress on the floor and a bathroom down the hall. Then I took a stroll down the main drag, snapping photos and looking for an Internet joint. A tour guide popped up out of thin air and offered to take me on a bicycle tour the following day. He showed me an Internet spot, but it was useless because their computers lacked Microsoft Office Picture Manager, which I need to size and add contrast to my pics.

A couple of big, happy heads in Solo, Java.


A standard pack of motorcycles in Solo, Java.


A rusty-ass storefront masquerading as street art in Solo, Java.


I found another spot that had the program, but also boasted the worst, most archaic and color-inaccurate monitors you could shake a cathode ray tube at. I uploaded my photos from the previous day, but since there was no wi-fi, I had to wait to fetch the text from my iPod touch. As the evening wore on, I went to a Wayang Orang performance down at Sriwedari Theatre, located in the back of a weird little amusement park.

The gamelan at a Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


A Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


A Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


A Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


A Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


A Wayang Orang performance at Sriwedari Theatre in Solo, Java.


On the way there, I rode through a bunch of bugs that I thought were mosquitos, so I worried that I may have got bitten and infetced with Malaria. I think they were just gnats, though, because I never found any mosquito bites on me later. Back to the show. I had never heard of Wayang Orang, so I didn't really know what to expect. Basically, the dancers imitate the puppets of Wayang Kulit, and the show mainly consists of comedy skits interspersed with a little dance and a few dramatic scenes backed up with occasional gamelan support. So if, like myself, you don't speak Indonesian, most of the performance is impenetrable. It sure looked nice, though--especially the backdrops. It was also funny to see the gamelan players stare into their cell phones during downtime.

Roll over photos for captions.
All words and photos ©2010 Arcane Candy.