There is one thing that ticks me off when I travel, and that is being asked the never ending question of why I am alone (except, of course, when I travel with Ron, then WE suffer the question: “how long have you guys been dating?” Ugh!). Sometimes, people get clever and would ask me if I am meeting a friend when I get to my destination. I open a can of worms the moment I answer, “No.” Then follows the question of my civil status; of why, at my age, am I not married; or why I do not have an object of my demented affection; and again, why am I traveling alone.
Beats me, but I really like the challenge. And no, my system won’t let me say I’m married or I’m with someone. It’ll still still lead to more questions… So I’m sticking with the statement.
See, western women (and I don’t mean to sound racial) don’t get questioned as much. I guess it’s because it’s unusual that you see asian women going out of their comfort zones for a head-on collision with the world. Actually, I shouldn’t be saying that. There are a LOT of asian women I see traveling with nobody but themselves, I stand corrected.
From the moment I hop on a cab, any cab at that, my journey to self-reflection starts. And it always brings me to one realization: “Pft, I should really start looking for someone.” But then again, I won’t be challenged as much, will I?
I landed in Jogjakarta at about 8pm and flagged a cab to take me to Jalan Sosrowijayan, the backpacker main street where almost all the cheap hostels are. One thing backpackers need to know about Jogjakarta is that it’s a “manual” city. Weeks before I left, I knew exactly where to stay. I checked online to book the hostel but I never found a site to do that. I got their number and called but they did not accept my call as a reservation. Bottom line is, hostels only accept walk-ins.
Flip Tips: Make sure you get the earliest flight to get to Jogja. Backpackers normally leave hostels in the morning so the more chances of you getting a room. Hostels get fully booked by afternoons, especially evenings. If in case you find yourself in Jogja as the sun is about to set or totally gone, drop by the hostels and talk to their staff. Most of the times, they’ll give you the number of rooms that might be available the next day, as well as the time. And if there is a room, make sure you drop by early the next day to confirm, then you can leave your bags at the reception area to secure the room.
So, much as I am used to being questioned, I felt the cab driver taking me from one street to the other to look for hostels while incessantly asking the questions I enumerated earlier, I I felt a bit scared. Finally, I got tired that I had to give up and he immediately had a hotel in mind to take me to. After checking the place out, I gave in and paid 60,000 IDR for the trip from the airport to the hostel. And as I was taking my backpack from his cab, I got the final blow:
Crazy Cab Driver: Are you sure you are alone?
Crazy Cab Driver: Are you going out tonight?
Me: I’m planning to eat at Bladok restaurant and ask if they will have available rooms tomorrow, so yes.
Crazy Cab Driver: You need company?
Me: I’m sorry???
Crazy Cab Driver: I mean, are you lonely tonight?
Me: What??? NO! (running towards the hotel without looking back)
I spent the night paying for a ridiculously expensive hotel for 300,000 IDR. The name of the hotel now resides in the recesses of my short-term memory and I refuse to remember. The next day, I woke up and headed to Bladok Hostel and found a cozy room for 80,000 IDR a night.
Photo by Mathias_T
While enjoying my breakfast and planning my itinerary for the day, I heard a guy talking to the hostel staff asking if I was alone and from where I came from. Mister, I seriously hope you can see that I am sitting at the table across yours and your voice is nothing close to a whisper…
Pft! I should really start looking for someone…