22 November 2017

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Yogyakarta, Indonesia

I’m sitting in a café, drinking awful coffee and admiring this rather lovely view. The entrance fee to this site includes a drink and a snack at the café here. The snacks looked like complete meals so I just had a drink. The café is excellent, built into the hillside to make the most of the position, it’s the perfect place to sit and admire the view after a couple of hours walking round this site, and this is why I am drinking the slightly vile coffee. DSC_0189 (2)

I’m  at Ratu Boko, 196 meters above sea level, hence the great views, built during the 8th century, and thought to be a palace, although it is now referred to as more of an archaeological site. The exact function of Ratu Boko is still unknown, with theories ranging from a place for rest and recreation, a palace of the ancient Mataram Kingdom and a monastery.  Inscriptions indicate the site was occupied by humans during the 8th and 9th centuries.

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The entrance to the site is a two part gate, and when it is not cloudy, which it is today, makes for great sunset photos. The site covers an area of 250.000 square meters, the gates lead to a huge lawn terrace.

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The large structure with a square hole in the middle is thought to be a place where corpses were cremated.

A pathway leads through the lawns to a landscape garden area, and past these gardens is a pool complex.DSC_0170 (1)

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I like a rice field. Humans can live in space stations, yet haven’t managed to mechanise rice growing, so one can still see humans tending to their rice crops the same way their ancestors would have. Indonesia is the third largest producer of rice in the world, behind China, and then India. However, Indonesia doesn’t export rice, it imports it, although usually to keep the reserves at a safe level. Rice production in Indonesia is by smallholder farmers, rather than big private or state-owned companies. Smallholder farmers account for approximately 90 percent of Indonesia’s rice production, each farmer holding an average land area of around 0.8 hectares. Indonesians are also big consumers of rice, with only Myanmar, Vietnam, and Bangladesh consuming more.

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My time at Yogyakarta is coming to an end, my next stop is the island of Lombok.

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