Thursday, January 23, 2020

Playing the Gamelan in Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta in Indonesia or Jogja as locals fondly call it is one of my favorite
places in Indonesia. I have visited this place a couple of times mainly for work,
but one must always find beautiful things to see during business trips. 

Back in 2013, six months after my heart surgery I managed to go up Borobudur.
It’s a 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple. Back then they allowed tourists
to go up the temple. It was a slow process for me to go up the temple since it
was still dark when we started heading up and the steps were huge and
uneven. I safely got up with help from my friends from Pangasinan, JR and
Vanj. We reached the top just before sunrise. I reveled at the beauty of
watching the sun rise atop the temple. 

Six years after that trip I got to visit Yogyakarta again. This time we went to
Gunungkidul where they made me feel like a mayor! Students lined up the
street and gave a warm welcome when we arrived. 

My friend, Pak Ganis, always talked about his home in Yogyakarta - the
Joglo Biru or the Blue House and he promised to bring me there to visit
and have a truly local experience. I was honored to experience playing
the gamelan with the artists from SK Sanggar Seni Karawitan Gempo.
The awesome evening was organized and hosted by Pak Ganis at the
Joglor Biglu (Blue House) which is ancestral home. I was originally scared
to play since I couldn't figure out how they could play so harmoniously.
Eventually I got the rhythm and was able to follow the notes.

I heard that Yogyakarta also has beautiful beaches. I hope to visit again for a
vacation some day.

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