Exploring Prawirotaman: A Memoir

Azaria Cynara Dwi Sonjaya180410160002

Two days before the 73rd Independence Day of Indonesia, I was in Yogyakarta, went for a vacation with my two cousins. It was my second day there and would be the last night before I came back home. I had planned to stay in a different hotel, it was located in Prawirotaman. I arrived earlier so that I could go around the neighborhood before I checked in. A coffee shop right in front of the hotel became my first stop. The coffee shop became popular for tourists since it had been shown in a scene of Indonesian movie, and I thought it deserved to be popular. It was not like many coffee shops out there which have their best interior design to attract customers to come. Brick wall which was combined with plaited bamboo. There were no tiles covered the floor, no air conditioner. The coolness stayed, although the weather was hot outside. It might be a convenience within simple things. However, it was not a right time for some people to have their coffee. Well it could be, because only few people who were there at that time. Some people only bought grounded coffee and left the coffee shop. When I paid my order, the barista kindly invited me to come for free coffee on the Independence Day. Unfortunately, I had to go home before the day.

I continued strolling around Prawirotaman, exploring a place where I had never been. I walked down from an alley to the other ones. Some alleys were gap between two hotel buildings and some other were verandah for many houses. When I was walking, I observed murals which were painted on one of alleys’ wall. I also found a house which its owner created and sold natural dyed clothes. It was such an artsy neighborhood. Each of alleys has an important role especially for walkers and motorcycle riders. It is to connect other part of Prawirotaman. By walking down each of them, I realized that Prawirotaman had the crowded and the quite area. In the crowded area, there were many restaurants and other places to hang out, so it was always full of tourists. While the quite one was consisted of housing, guesthouses, and hotels; places where people had a rest. Then finally I stopped strolling around since I was back to the hotel.

Before the sun set, I went to a vegetarian restaurant. I came by a motorcycle because I was too tired to walk moreover I didn’t know the location. I trusted the motorcycle driver to take the best route, so I could arrive before the night came, and spend a longer time there. It was a wide and semi-outdoor restaurant. Its main concept was natural and organic. Various plantations were planted in the area. They could be one of ingredients for some foods in the menu. A mini fountain was in the center of the restaurant. A playground was also built. The place was like an old garden. It would be a little bit creepy if there were not many people who came in. I sat on a mat while was drinking a glass of smoothie and eating a plate of grilled tempe and tahu. Some guests were also eating their foods at that time.It was so tranquil, because there was no noise at all. After an Indonesian family left the restaurant, I was the only Indonesian guest. The guests were mostly foreigners. It was strange to be the only Indonesian in a particular place in Yogyakarta. Since I finished eating my food, I went to a room in the restaurant. It was full of books which placed in some shelves. Those books could be borrowed by the members of the library. Other shelves stored some natural and organic products, such as detergent, soap, perfume, moisturizer, and other beauty products. There were also other products from recycled materials, such as note books, pouches, and wallets. All of them can be bought by everyone. When I paid for my order, the staff of the restaurant wrote the total money I had to pay in a book. She also gave me a bill which was written by her. When I received some products I bought, they did not give free plastic bag, because they actually did not use any kind of plastic. So I picked a bag made of cassava which was similar with plastic bag, but unlike plastic bag, it was eco friendly. Then the night came, I decided to back to the hotel and got sleep.

I started the day by walking to a market in the neighborhood which was not far from the hotel I stayed in. The sun appeared and warmed up my body. I came to drink jamu which was sold by an old lady. I got the information of it from the official Instagram account of a boutique hotel in Prawirotaman. They posted about the hidden gems in Yogyakarta, and one of them was the jamu I had mentioned above. It was not my first time to drink jamu, so it would be interesting for me to taste it from a different maker and also seller. Even though I would only like to drink beras kencur and kunyit asem. I stepped my feet into the market. It was a busy morning as always happened in any traditional market. Many women were there buying spices, meat, vegetables, and many other. A tour guide was guiding a couple of foreigner, explaining each of foods and things that they found in the market. I went to the right corner of the market by following my feeling that I believed the jamu seller was not far from the back gate of the market. I looked for her, because the Instagram account did not give more detail about in which part of the market that she sold her jamu. I had gone around the market, but I still could not find her. Luckily, the market was not too large, so I did not need many times to go around the market. Then, I decided to buy some traditional snacks. I suddenly got an idea to ask the snack seller about where the old lady who sold jamu. I got the answer and I was right that the place was close to the back gate of the market. But, I did not go to the second lot, so I missed her. I sat on a plastic chair in front of some containers of spices paste, which are the ingredients of jamu. I waited for my turn to order. The old lady asked me in Javanese about what I would order. I answered in Indonesian so she switched her language into Indonesian. At first, she assumed that I could speak in Javanese, but I actually only understood it a little bit. Finally, she gave me a cup of jamu kunyit asem which was made by her at that time. The cup was not made of glass nor plastic. It was made of coconut shell. I sipped it while hearing a conversation in Javanese. They praised God and pray for the health of each other, it was beautiful to be heard.

The journey to go home was tiring, but I came back with good memories.

Photo by: Siti Nur Azizah

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