Jogja at Night City Tour
I was in Jogja as part of a volunteer team and wanted to do an activity different to the normal tourist adventures. I requested a personalised tour with Erna and she was beyond amazing from the moment I contacted her to the time I jumped on the plane back home. As a solo traveller it was important that I felt safe. Erna exceeded that expectation!
The tour itself, we travelled on her bike which initially prettified me as I had been in a mini van the entire duration of my trip. I had mentally prepared myself leading up to the tour with Erna, realising that the common and convenient form of transport would be a bike. My first ride I honestly felt like I was going to squeeze the life out of her! By the third ride on the bike, I felt comfortable and safe enough with Erna that I was able to film 2 x 30 sec videos which was a far cry from my first ride!
We went to one of the local orphanages for special needs children which was humbling beyond words. Erna translated any questions I had which wasn’t many because truth be told I just sat there observing the children and their environment. Although some of their stories were sad and hurtful, the children and their carers were truly amazing. I was luckily enough to capture them do a dance which was raw and joyous.
Erna then gave me the option of visiting (art) Museum Affandi or the Temples. I chose the Museum Affandi purely based on travelling distance and I am so grateful that I did! It was more than just a art museum or being in the presence of Affandi’s home and resting place (Affandi designed and built his Museum around his home), it was storytelling of Indonesia’s history as well as his life through the innovation and beauty of his art. Erna requested an English speaking tour guide which I was not expecting. Thanks to her quick thinking I learnt an substantial amount about Indonesia in a space of an hour. From the shape and design of the roof which was inspired by the banana leaf, a symbolic importance to Affandi’s upbringing and Indonesian culture as the banana leaf protected him from the rain on wet days and the sun on hot days, to the evolution of his art through the timeline of Indonesia’s history starting from the Dutch colonisation, Japanese invasion during WWII, Dutch attempt to regain control over Indonesia including hiring local people living in poverty and starvation as their spy’s, his trip to India and Europe to represent his country, the love and admiration he had for his mother, his first wife and his first born daughter plus so much more!
As a solo, first-time traveller to any Asian country yet alone Indonesia, I cannot thank Erna enough for the experience that she gave me. I felt safe, blessed and achieved more than I could even imagine. I do hope I can return to Jogja and if I do, I will most definitely have Erna show me all the wonders I missed this trip. Terima kasih 🙏🏾