In the background of a busy street in Malioboro, I heard the rhythmic chanting from the surrounding mosques. The smell of fried food from the stalls wafted through my nose making my stomach churn. My eyes feasted upon the silent stories of people as they went about their day’s work.
Yogyakarta seemed like an intriguing name, so I googled its meaning on my phone. I found out that Yogya means fit while Karta means to prosper. Which, when put together means: A city that is fit to prosper.
Being the center of fine art and culture in Java, the sidewalks teemed with puppet shows, batik sellers, and street vendors selling food, bracelets, bags, souvenirs, and t-shirts.
If there’s one word that I would use to describe Yogyakarta, it’d be Texture.
Chess is a favorite past time among uncles and a handful of casual chess matches took place in the sidewalks. Sometimes, a group of men gathered around and observed in silence. I was tempted to stand and join the crowd, but my feet dictated my decisions, and it wanted to continue walking.
Despite insistent offers from becak (tricycle), andong (horse-drawn carriage), and ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers, I planted my feet firmly on the ground and kept walking.
I ventured into small alleys and found walls of colorful graffiti. It’s too bad I don’t understand what they mean.