Sunday, June 20
Solo, Java, Indonesia
This town gave me a beatdown today. I spent two or three hours riding a bicycle around these chaotic streets looking for sunblock, as the little tube I bought last week was almost gone. I pedaled my ass off and back on again, up and down the avenues and around in circles trying to find a supermarket. Each local I asked told me to go in a different direction. With my shirt soaked in sweat, I walked into several different little maze-like malls, but all they sold was clothing and small electronic gadgets. One store had some fancypants Nivea suncreen and moisturizing lotion with SPF 50, but it cost $8.00 for a tiny five-ounce bottle.
I finally gave up and set out on a search for the Sasono Sewoko Museum, where there was supposed to be traditional Javanese dance practice from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The same exact thing happened, as each local I asked sent me packing off in a different direction. Maps are semi-useless in Indonesia, as many intersections don't have street signs. I ended up at the Kraton Museum around 3:00 p.m. and decided to just go with the flow, which calmed me down. This joint is full of royal portraits, figurines and carriages, and a bunch of charming, dusty old displays of traditional Javanese art and music like Wayng Kulit, Wayang Golek, gamelan, masks and much more.
I resumed the search for sunblock and finally found a small bottle of Nivea with SPF 20 for $4.50 at a supermarket. Then I took a much-needed nap in my room, followed by a delicious meal at Warung Baru, which consisted of an omelette served on homemade bread, and an order of homemade garlic bread. By the way, Warung Baru also runs a little hotel, and yesterday I got a much better room there with a nice bed and a private bathroom for only $5.00. This was by far the cleanest room I've stayed in on my whole trip.