Monday, September 27, 2010

Puppets and pedicabs

I have a longer post to write about visiting Yogyakarta last weekend but wanted to get some images up. Another piece for the Beachwood Reporter finished and awaiting edits. Will post a link when it hits the site. Until then, enjoy the puppet show.

Wayang kulit, or leather puppets. Traditionally these performances last eight hours but a local museum offers the story in eight one-hour chunks for tourists and for English teachers visiting from Magelang. A little slow by CGI standards but the music is thrilling: bitingly percussive, sweetly melodic, totally arresting.

Backstage, so to speak. Although they let you walk around and I think you're supposed to take it all in from both sides.

And with the band: a 10-piece gamelan. They usually have a 20-piece gamelan but bad weather kept half the musicians home.

When not at the puppet show, I spent way too much time in taxis, buses and even pedicabs during my two-plus days in Yogya. The following rides were highlights, though. One nighttime cabbie watching TV while he worked, the tube tuned to Web-cam style images of flirty teenage girls lip-syncing to pop music.

And one becak driver (pronounced bay-chack) who took me from the downtown shopping district to my friend's home nearby. Normally the ride takes about 10 minutes. We took one hour. He got lost, four times. No kidding. We figured it out, though, and he gave me his number in case I needed another ride. I gave him some extra money. An expensive ride as these things go, the fare still wasn't more than $3.

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