On our way to East Java
Today we visited the famous Hindu temple, the Prambanan.
There was a lot of restoration work going on but that didn’t disturb us at all. The whole site was in one word, magnificent. Also the inside was more than interesting all those Hindu statues they were really impressive. And to make it all even more exciting, was when we saw three Indonesian dancers coming down to the Prambanan. I asked them to sit next to Agnes so that I could make a nice photo of the four of them.
Agnes asked me if I would like to visit my old prison from during the war, Camp Banyu Biru 10, since it was not too far away from Yogyakarta. But no I had no interest at all to visit that place and its bad memories. It has never been Banyu Biru that gave me the trauma of my life. My war trauma is the cruel death of my father by the Kempeitai in Malang. That was absolutely unforgivable.
To our regret Frankie had to go back to Jakarta. Since he spoke some Dutch he had to drive two other Dutch people around Java who couldn’t understand a word of the Bahasa Indonesia.
But we were lucky, Frankie’s nephew Julius came to join us, and Julius was a very nice young man.
We went to Solo and visited the palace from the sultan of over there, but it was a lot smaller and not so impressive as the palace in Yogya. It was anyhow worth visiting this palace, there were many Dutch jewels, gems and so on to admire. They were once long ago given by the Dutch to the sultan.
Thereupon we went to Sarangan a lovely place in the mountains, it was a well known holiday resort by the Dutch before the war, because of its cool and pleasant climate. But nowadays it looks poor, there are hardly any tourists at all. It was nevertheless a nice place to spend the night, we slept wonderfully well.
The next day we drove through Kediri a nice looking and clean town. We were now in East Java and on our way to Blitar. Agnes had never been here before and neither had Julius, but I knew this neighbourhood. I had been in Kediri with my parents, I had been in Blitar several times. It was near the plantation Bendoredjo where my uncle Pierre was the administrator before the war. The next morning we were going to see if we could find something back from Bendoredjo, although people in Holland had given me little hope to find anything back at all.
There had been massacres around Kediri by the Indonesian military and the Communists in the mid-sixties.
We had a nice Koppi Tubruk ( like Turkish coffee) in Kediri and then we visited Sukarno’s grave in Blitar. Julius was very happy, he was very proud of Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia.
We had to take off our shoes, I was lucky that I was wearing socks that day. But poor Agnes had to walk around barefoot. I bought some pictures from Sukarno in black and white, from some young boys standing outside the grave. It was quite a special visit because there were no tourists at all, that made Blitar very special for us.
Everything we bought was very cheap, no tourists prices in Blitar.
Julius started looking for our hotel and when he found it, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. The hotel Sri Iestari is one of those hotels that one saw before the war, typical from the former Dutch East Indies. The owner a Chinese gentleman was restoring this hotel into a beautiful “before World War Two” hotel and yet it looked already so pretty.
The bedrooms were very nice and in front of the rooms was a long gallery, where you could rest on a chaise longue, just like so many hotels before the war. Agnes and I were taken back into time, back to the fourties. We saw quite some Indonesian military officers staying in this old-fashion hotel.
The bathroom was really different from all the bathrooms I have seen in my life.
There was a huge bath where you had to step in, at the end was a shower. The bottom of the bath was made out of green tiles. And on the left hand wall were all sorts of plants, some even with flowers. It felt as if you were taking a bath in a garden.
In the small dining room we ate a Hongkong nasi goring ( backed rice with spices), Agnes and I liked this hotel very much, it made us feel welcome in Indonesia with a touch of the former Dutch East Indies.
Tomorrow I am going back to Malang!
Sukarno as a young boy
Sukarno's grave in Blitar
Agnes and the three Indonesian dansers