Let’s Talk Culture

Once again I got the question what I actually want to do once I finish my tourism degree. Except this time the person in question kept asking and the final question was what tourism is for me. What is travelling for me? Why do I find travelling so fascinating?

Cultures was my first answer. When I travel, I want to see the culture of the country. The deepest layer of the people, their routines and how they live. You haven’t seen a country until you really feel the culture.

Just now I have an exam coming up about globalization. One of the most interesting aspects is how it effects culture. Is the whole world really turning slowly into America?

No. Compared to some other travelers amongst us I might have little travel experience, however with what I know and have seen around me I honestly think America can not take over the world and change all the cultures. We will not turn into McWorld.

People might walk down the street in Indonesia with their Starbucks coffee, pass 10 McDonalds, watch American TV shows and want the American dream, they will still go home, take care of their loved ones, do their rituals. The values and believes they inherit from their parents and society are so ingrained, I think it is almost impossible to change that.

The outside of cities might get an American feel to it, but what keeps culture alive is the people themselves. As a traveler you have to go off the beaten track, talk to the locals, experience their daily routine and get a feel of their culture. That’s what travelling is all about for me and that’s what I find so fascinating.

MF - Culture

A short break from Bali: Yogyakarta

After 3 months of living in Bali, I could not believe how excited I was to leave this little island! My trip to Yogyakarta came unexpected but very welcome. I was going to do some travelling again! Even though I’m living at the other side of the world I normally live in, consider this internship as travelling, I was quite happy to take a break from my routine in Bali.

The first 2 days I was touring with my supervisor and 2 VIP guests that we picked up from the airport. In those 2 days we have seen all the major tourism attractions in and around Yogya. From Borobudur and Prambanan to downtown Malioboro and local markets. I’ve seen it all. However when I travel, I try to find the “real” local life and hidden secrets. I try to find more than I looked up in preperation of my trip.

So for a change, I will try to tell you about a few things that I came across on this trip. I will spare you my stories of all the big attractions like Borobudur and Prambanan because there is enough information on the internet about that already. I will try to share some of my experiences in Yogyakarta about places that you can’t find that easily but is worth the visit! Keep in mind that I was only there for 3 days of which 2 days were fully planned with the popular attractions, which left me with only 1 rainy day to walk around by myself.

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Close to the Kraton palace is a local bird market. Don’t be fooled by the name, not only are there birds sold there, they sell from bugs meant as bird food to bats and monkeys and from little hamsters to puppies, cats and rabbits. It was incredible. I’ve never been to an animal market like that before so I was just walking around with my mouth wide open, amazed by the tiny cages, the noises of the animals and the animal selection available.

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Although Malioboro is a big attraction, it surprised me when I found out that the whole atmosphere changes at night. The souvenir vendors packed up their carts and made place for the street restaurants. Small low tables were placed along the side walk and everybody was sitting on the ground, socializing and eating. And not only at night is the food-scene different, outside the local market people sit on a stool in front of a food stall like it’s a bar.

The easiest way of transportation in Yogya is the becak. It looks like it is especially for the tourists but it is not! It really is used by the locals as a cheap way to get around. You will see a local person with bags of what not packed into the becak. I got stared and waved at whilst sitting in one as a western woman using this local transportation.

As much as Yogya is Indonesia, it is a whole different atmosphere and destination than Bali. I loved how the shy students from Jakarta followed me for 5 minutes before they found the courage to ask me for a photo. I loved how the local people stop you to make a little chat and how friendly they are without wanting anything from you but just that, a chat. I loved the roads filled with becaks. I loved the hint of Holland you still see in the architecture. I loved all the batik and souvenirs sold at Malioboro.

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But most of all, I loved the fact I tasted a bit of real travelling once again.