Given its proximity to two active volcanoes and its tendency to be earthquake-ridden, Yogyakarta was a city with a warm, positive outlook. Lounging about on benches, motorbikes, and rickshaws, the people were all smiles and hellos. So, after seeing the requisite temples, we decided to hang around and enjoy the atmosphere. The people were friendly. There were three book stores, and several restaurants had chess boards. Our guesthouse had a balcony and cheap beer; cigarettes were less than a dollar. What more could we ask for?
Periodically throughout the day the Islamic call to prayer would rise above the rooftops, a cacophony coming from a hundred places, beautiful and syncopated, washing over the buildings. In the afternoons came the rain, like bowls of water being poured over the head of the city, squelching the midday heat. Geckos clung to walls, searching for insect snacks. Indonesians sprawled in the heat.
We lounged on the guesthouse balcony, reading or napping, cigarette smoke circling lazily above us. I traded for more books and used toothpicks as makeshift bobbypins when the heat became stifling. Win and Mikal played chess for hours with the rickshaw drivers who lazily attempted to lure passengers. All in all, it was three days completely lacking in productivity: just the break we needed in the middle of all that traveling.