Indonesian Chronicles - Day 1, 13/8/2018 - Impressions, Facts & Stories

Yogyakarta. Java. Indonesia. L (my husband) picked the hotel. Our hotel is a former prison. The roof-top is a hydroponic farm and the inside walls surrounding the central courtyard are covered with herbs and green vegetables. Mint is growing in front of our room, on the 3rd floor. There is purple lettuce growing out of grey tubes on the 2nd floor rooms, surrounding the balcony. The cell room is tiny. With a huge wooden bed. Our first night stretches across time zones, interrupted by a chanting Muezzin at 4:30 am. We drift back to sleep and are awoken 3 hours later. Clinking noises. Muffled voices. A scent of fried rice. Breakfast buffet in the central courtyard is inviting all the rooms in the galleries above. I picture bare feet frail inmates wearing traditional Indonesian batik. A muted orange. The place has swapped inmates for well-fed tourists wearing multicolour shorts, armed guards for smiling staff with names embroidered on white shirts; all walk around freely, fill their plates with pancakes and papaya slices and their cups with light coffee. I hear French and German. Once I figure out how to connect to the Wifi I research the history of the place. Google only offers that there are over 430 prisons in Indonesia, and that the prison population rate is of 94 per 100,000[1], when there are 4455 prisons in the USA and a prison population rate of 655. T (my son) concludes prisons are larger in Indonesia, and goes on teaching us some basic Indonesian words. A (my daughter) asks ‘How do you say sorry?’ while moving onto my plate the snake fruit she was testing first the first time. I wonder if I have missed something in her education.


[1] According to the ICPR : Institute for Criminal Policy Research