Sounds of silence

Muezzin – that’s the call to prayer. 5 times a day. There must be at least 5 mosques in the immediate vicinity of our little villa (located in a kampong in the heart of Yogyakarta) and to our horror yesterday we discovered that they all send out their call to prayer over their loudspeakers. Some less expertly than others. Well, mostly so. It just sounded like pregnant cows in labour. This morning I think they conducted the entire service over the loudspeaker. There is no possibility of sleeping through it.

And so here I am sitting having coffee on our verandah after a morning swim listening to the more dulcet tones of the rooster next door. And the birds. People keep them in cages and pay a lot of money for them. They’re song birds and provide a most beautiful musical background – that is if you can shut out the sound of the old cock next door and the motorbikes as they slowly make their way along the narrow lanes.

Oh well. Time for another swim and then off to find some earplugs. I imagine it’s a thriving business here.


Wish you were here

The journey so far:
Singapore seems soulless. Our hotel was across the road from Raffles – a beautiful building that has had its day & is no longer the doyen of the chic & wealthy. It seems to have turned itself into a shopping centre of sorts. This part of town is far from the madding crowd: not much happening and no real night life. Admittedly we did arrive on a Monday but even so the place seemed deader than heaven on a Saturday night. Chinatown was a huge improvement with lovely old buildings and some very chic restorations – the groovy part of town.
Orchard road was teeming – how can a place sustain so many luxury shopping malls? Who buys all these too expensive goods? Everything seemed much more expensive than back home -:)
So much for my shopping spree – I bought nothing.

And so on to Indonesia where our trip really begins.
First impressions: it’s like Kerala or what Vietnam was 15 years ago. Lots of motor bikes, few cars and many stalls selling not very much at all. It’s hot. And humid. Food is terrible. It consists mainly of over-fried over-dried chicken and fish and over-cooked green weeds and rice. The food is cooked in the morning and is served all day, but it may as well have been cooked last year. I’m sure we’ll find better food eventually.

Yesterday was M’s birthday and our lunch consisted of an avocado, Indonesian sardines and some cream crackers (because that’s all I could find in the supermarket) washed down with a bottle of Mumm. But our villa is a wonderful haven with a lovely garden and large pool. The bathroom is huge with twin showers and twin basins – guess which is the tidy one?

We wake early. Very early. Because there’s a mosque at the end of our street. The call to prayer is at 5am. On Friday – being the day everybody goes to Mosque – the call to prayer is particularly long. And then just when you fall back to sleep the roosters next door starts crowing (incessantly). And so our day begins. Coffee on the verandah followed by a swim (and yoga). Life could be worse.
Time for a swim. More later.

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