Enjoying a fantastic stay in Java and experiencing the local way of life was fun and eye opening. We were staying in the home of Towil and his wife in a tiny village called Kulon Progo, Boyolali. Towil had over 100 antique bicycles in and outside his home. That is another story.
Towil spoke excellent English, but his wife and mother-in-law did not. They used the universal language of smiles and we got along famously. The wife was a great cook. We enjoyed fried cassava and bananas amongst other things for breakfast. I really got a taste for cassava that I have cooked it at home since that trip. Our local on the ground tour guide Frans de Jong dropped us off at Towil’s home. He was a little unsure as he had not sent anyone before us to stay there. He said if it was not suitable we could go to plan b. Frankly I think plan b would have been on the fly. We went in to look at our accommodation and we assured Frans we would be fine. As regards local Java housing I am sure Towil’s home was very fine. There was a veranda, a living room, a kitchen and their sleeping quarters and a bedroom for us. We also had a bathroom in the middle of the garden. It was a brick and stone round tower with no roof.
Hot water was provided by a kettle. Never did figure out exactly how the shower worked and we presumed it was cold water. We soon found that a bowl and a scooping pot worked very well. There was a western toilet and also an Indonesian toilet, so everything was covered…except when it rained you had to carry a brolly with you to use the facilities. We stayed for four nights and of course two out of the four it rained. To reach the bathroom you had to step across eight paving stones. It was all too funny…gave us a good laugh.
One evening after dinner we sat at the table on the veranda. A vesper scooter came zooming by and pulled up at a piece of land in front of a communal building. Not quite sure what the building was used for. Off jumped a buff woman in a work out outfit. On went the boombox and the local women began to gather.
Intrigued, I went to investigate and was encouraged to join in. Game for anything, I joined in. Only problem was the girl was calling out the moves in Indonesian which meant I was always behind the ape ball. It was fun and we all had a great workout.
As soon as it was over off roared the instructor. Maybe onto another session someplace. The curious locals crowded around and were asking questions in limited English and wanted to have their photographs taken with me. What a fun happy time. To get to know the local people it is a good idea to stay in a homestay. Far more fun than a hotel.