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A handful of tickets, 5 YOGYAKARTA - Looking back in a bunch of old airline tickets, entrance ticket and whatever more, I again found some 'remarkable' items. A part of a boarding pass for a flight with Garuda Indonesia, which haven't been flying to the Netherlands for quite some time now. Also an entrance ticket to the Prambanan temple complex as well as a lunch in the Via Via Cafe in the well-known Jalan Prawirotaman in Yogyakarta. Several months after the earthquake I happened to be there accidentally because I was looking for something completely different. Still a reminder to get on my motorbike and see what became of the place. Especially going there for that one thing didn't have to, because I would go there anyway for renting a car for some friends coming over from Bali.

Lost glory?

It looks like that the images used here are all perfect examples of lost glory. For many it's clear that the airliners in general are not really blooming for a few years, whatever the reasons may be. Garuda Indonesia is no exception to that. For many years the state-run company gets financial injections from the Indonesian state to keep the company airworthy. If that financial flow was to stop, it would be a quick death for the company, but because it's somewhat the international pride of Indonesia, much money is used to close gaps that are in fact impossible to close. Too bad I can't tell that it's something dramatic that I can't fly from and to the Netherlands directly with Garuda Indonesia anymore.

That one time that I used Garuda Indonesia was about 2,5 years ago. Since memories of things in the past are usually more positive than the actual experience, it wasn't much good at all. Yes, they were on time, but that was aboutall. The service - or rather the lack of service - approached that of KLM a fewyears earlier. A number of stressed flight attendants did as less effort as they could. The plane itself was also far from clean or well-maintained. Several small lights were broken, the carpet wasn't fixed everywhere and not all chairs worked the way they supposed to work or at least I expected them to work for the price I paid for it. But well, talking about this for a long time is of little use, because they aren't operating direct flights to the Netherlands for quite some time now and going to London to travel to Indonesia is just a detour I don't want to make. There better alternatives, back then there were as well, but I was thinking; 'Ooh well, I have to try this as well'.

A piece of the boarding pass for one of Garuda Indonesia's flights from Amsterdam, at this moment already quite some time ago. From London it's still possible to fly with Garuda Indonesia, the only question is whether you really want to.
A piece of the boarding pass for one of Garuda Indonesia's flights from Amsterdam, at this moment already quite some time ago. From London it's still possible to fly with Garuda Indonesia, the only question is whether you really want to.

Domestic flights with Garuda Indonesia are a slightly different story. However the planes aren't newer, better or cleaner, it's more easy to spend one hour - two is the maximum - inside such an aircraft. Directly after departure the flight attendants rush through the cabin to hand out their emergency supplied of food. Everyone gets a nice green and blue box with something that resembles bread, a piece of chocolate and a plastic cup of Aqua drinking water. Within several minutes they go round once again to collect everything again - those who don't want to use it on the flight are welcome to bring it home, something that's more of a rule than an exception. I didn't want to arrive with more stuff than I brought initialy, so I eat everything as long as it wasn't too dry.

Too bad for Garuda Indonesia, many new cheap airlines - LCC's as they are called (Low Cost Carriers) were set up in Indonesia and Asia. This caused Garuda Indonesia to get troubles on their profit-making domestic flights in the western part of the country as well. Slowly the eastern islands of Indonesia are made more accessible by these cheap airlines Garuda Indonesia will have to give a big fight to make some money in these market conditiona. To bad Garuda Indonesia has a direct line of money from the Indonesian state, so there is no need to develop at all. Maybe this will happen when it's already too late, if it's not already too late right now.

Reconstruction of the tourist industry

However my last visit to Jalan Prawirotaman last month was a neccesary one to rent a car for a friend from Bali, I still took some time to look around at what had changed since the last time I was here, over half a year ago. Since the earthquake of 27 May there have been many changes obviously, many of these changes I had already seen during a few of the many short trips on the motorbike I made through and around the area directly hit by the earthquake. Jalan Prawirotaman has been a small paradise for the backpacking tourists which are on their way to something and 'accidentally' make a stopover in Yogyakarta. This is perfectly possible in the small hotels here, because they are pretty cheap and you can go in as easy as you can go out again without being bothered by dozens of people trying to sell their useless stuff.

I only know Via Via Cafe from the ticket that I found, as you can see below. I have indeed been there once because I knew it was a place where many tourists go. Probably ony because of the name. However they served fast, that what we ordered wasn't extraordinary good, but of course enough for the average backpacking tourist who walks in here just as easy as the neighboring restaurant or cafe to get a snack, a drink and maybe even a woman for the coming night.

The well-known Via Via Cafe is always to be found by tourists, most likely via the travel books which contain hundreds of pages with recommendations.
The well-known Via Via Cafe is always to be found by tourists, most likely via the travel books which contain hundreds of pages with recommendations.

After the earthquake I know it wasn't good at all with Jalan Prawirotaman, a lot closer to the epicenter of the earthquake than the more northern parts of the city of Yogyakarta. Only after over a month or two I was in the area for the first time to look around at ease. In some places there was nothing left than an ierie empty space between the dense housing here, like someone randomly removed buildings completely. Of course it's obvious that this was just the work of a destructive earthquake, which also hit Via Via Cafe. They sustained heavy damage, it wasn't even possible to eat inside anymore, to express it in the most positive way.

Not too long after - there was money - the cafe was completely rebuild, even more modern and pretty than it looked before. A nice separation between the street and the outside terrace of natural stone with a nice wooden front. Nice to see. Unfortunately this is just one of the very few places that have been completely renovated ever since. Where others are still struggling to clean their little shop or restaurant from debris, people here are eating as if the earthquake never happened. Well, that's how the world works and I think it's one of the good ways to deal with such events.

Not yet lost, but glory is different

The Prambanan temple complex, just east of the city of Yogyakarta, has sustained damage during the earthquake as well. Stones from the top have come down all the way, when falling also hitting other stone objects that have been properly maintained over the recent years. Probably it's just nature which is doing what it should do, maybe that's why this complex is still open to visitors every single day. Mostly Indonesian tourists take a look, but also a few foreign people which have to pay a much higher entrance fee. The ticket below is already a few years old, back then I got a 70 per cent discount on the entrance fee of 10 U.S. dollar when showing my Dutch railway card. The amount was to be paid in Rupiah and the exchange rates were extraordinarily bad.


Tijdens de aardbeving raakten grote delen van het Prambanan tempel complex flink beschadigd, echter hier kunnen toeristen zichzelf op de hoogte stellen, wel voor de volle prijs natuurlijk. Een aardbeving is natuurlijk niet zomaar iets.

Paying that much for something here is pretty much an exception, especially if you don't have to behave like a tourist anymore and you can talk along with the local people a little bit. The Prambanan temple complex however, just as the Borobudur, is a fine example of how things should be done. The biggest part of the money that is made by selling tickets is used to maintain and rebuild the old temples. However a lot of work is still to be done - there are thousands or even tens of thousands of stones scattered over the area - the question is if they should rebuild them all like it once was. For me it's something mystical when I can imagine the complex used to be completely finished and in perfect shape hundreds of years ago.

Website links
Prambanan information
Yogyakarta information

External links
Garuda Indonesia
Via Via Cafe
External links are not endorsed by indahnesia.com. The links were correct at the moment of publication of this item.


Tags: travel, garuda, boarding, pass, indonesia, ticket, klm


Posted in Travel @ 09 September 2006 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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