If you think that visiting a city should be done in a conventional way by following a tour to see places such as monument, museum, or palace only. Then you are wrong, there is another way! That’s what I did when I visit Jogjakarta. I took a cool excursion to visit the country side by cycling. By doing this you will see the scenery of the country side, but also you will have a closer look of daily local people’s life. Also you can do things you never did before, as for me, planting a baby rice plant and making my own Tempe, our famous soya food in Indonesia.
The tour started at 8 am. Lucky for us it wasn’t raining that day. I don’t really like the feeling of pedalling with my bike on the muddy roads. The tour was not so big with just 6 persons and 2 guides that would lead us in the front row. While the other one, would wait for us patiently at the behind to make sure we would not get lost while riding the track.
The first stop was at the crackers factory where they make their own crackers. It was very surprizing to find out that making crackers is not that easy hahaha. Because it is a local business most of it is done manually, for example there are 3 people waiting under a machine which runs by the energy of a man (yeah, his feet – while he can fanning himself from the heat, his legs keep moving to rotate the machine). The machine will drop some flours of the basic ingredients for the crackers. While the dough is falling down the workers will place it into a mold. When I saw them doing it, it looked so easy and simple. But when I tried it myself it was very difficult. I could not make the beautiful flower shapes as they did, poor me. But it was so fun. The tour guide also explained to us how the process was to make these crackers. After they mold it they need to dry it in certain heat. After it was dried they would fried it and voilaaa… the crackers will be ready to eat.
Next stop was the rice field. Here we would learn how to plant the baby rice plants. Be ready to let your feet get muddy. The fun thing by doing this tour is that you can learn the daily life of local people here. You can feel how to be a part of them and you can do what they usually do. Anyway, we met with some ladies that allowed us to follow them while working on the plantantions. After taking a look for a while how they did it we give it a try ourselves and it was fun. Now I know why the rice plants always look so orderly straight. It is because they use a bamboo stick as their measurement. They also put a mark at every inch in the bamboo, so we could just follow that mark to put our baby rice plants. I wish my baby rice plants will grow nicely soon, hehehee..
After washing our hands in a small runnel, we continued our trip to the cattle business. At this time we got the knowledge that cattle for local people there is a valuable treasure. They put their effort to raise the cows diligently as one cow can be pricey around 7-8 million rupiah (USD 700-800). It also depends on the weight, age and kind of cattle whether they a breeding cow, the milky cow or the meaty cow. Maybe for them having a cow is such as having money on the bank. Cows are their investment for the future.
We were heading to a local rice milling to see how they separate the grains from their skin. It was a very hot day and actually a good temperature for drying the grains. It was fun to see how they swept the grains and make sure it gets the same temperature and dryness as well. It was also fun to see how they put the rough grains through the machine and watching it come out as a clean rice. After that you can cook it to get your own hot white rice hahaha.
The tour was not yet finished, the next stop was to see and learn a bit on how to make your own bricks. We were just interuppting a man who was busy making bricks. From him we know that it costs around 500.000 rupiah to get 1000 bricks. Oh NO, I can’t imagine if I should work under the sun and make thousand of bricks to get my money. But it’s the way he lives and he enjoys it. I also got excited when following him to make my own bricks and the coolest part of it, I could put my name on it. Oh by the way, while making a brick you should make sure that the mixture is spread evenly. Because if it’s not, the air in the mold will make the brick not strong enough and easy to break.
Last but not least, we spend some time at the best spot of all. A Tempe home made factory! Yeayyy… I love Tempe a lot, as how Indonesians usually love it for their daily meals. Tempe is a food made by soybean. Mostly people only know Tofu, but Tempe is also containing a lot more of Vitamin since the soybean is used for making Tempe first before they make Tofu out of it. Tempe is so delicious especially when you eat it still hot and put some chilly on it, yummmy! One sad thing is that for such a weathly country as Indonesia and in nabati with its resources we still need to import the soybean from the United States. Something that I did not know yet. Anyway, usually they put a bit of yeast to some amount of the soybean the measurement of how much yeast you use should be depended on how the temperature is. If it is a hot day don’t put so much and vice versa. Then you place some of the yeast soybean in a leave and pack it like a small package. Then just leave it for one night until some fungus combines with the beans. The next day you can fry the Tempe and eat it. It was a big plus for us because the owners just made some local snacks and they fried some for us. Yummy!!
We finished our trip at 12 pm. Time to get some lunch since our belly was already hungry. 4 hours riding the bike can consume all your energy. By the lenght of the distance we already rode our bike for 16 kilometers. Hurray for us because we had such an athletic body that could stand it, hahaa. The scenery along our ways was also very beautiful, it was a bright day and a pleasant day. Maybe you need to do it when you are visiting a city. Then you will feel your trip won’t be same as before. The advantage of a holiday is, you can do things you never done before.
/// Written by Dea Sihotang, Indonesia