We had Saturday off as a free day so I joined for the bicycle city tour. We left in the morning and spent about 4 hours exploring the villages and outskirts of the city. The bikes were a "little" dated but at least we had helmets this time. haha It was a little scary riding in the streets with all the cars and motorbikes plus being on the left side. But you get used to it and it was a lot of fun! We stopped at a tofu and Tempe making shop which was very interesting to see how it is made. We then got back on the road and traveled to some rice fields where we took our shoes off and walked in the grass and mud. We watched some women hard at work planting rice while some men were making mud bricks. We all took part in the process and after, were extremely appreciative of rice and vowed never to waste our rice servings again. I was knee deep in the muddy water helping the ladies plant the grass and couldn't believe how fast they worked! Lets just say that I won't be making this a second job. It was really cool to ride on these tiny paths through the villages and see the local people, their homes, the animals and waving children. We stopped at a goat farm and spoke to the goats while they begged for some food. Prawn crackers are everywhere and part of their everyday diet so we stopped at a small family shop where we watched how they are made. We visited a batik gallery and watched the process and had a chance to see many pieces of local artists work. Batik is an Indonesian art and part of ancient tradition. To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing out wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original color. After the final dying, the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for wearing or showing.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we were drenched and jumped in the pool. Later that night, some of us went to the Ramayana Ballet which takes place in an outdoor amphitheater with Prambanan temple in the background. It is quite spectacular to see this massive temple lit up and was really an unique experience. It is based on the classical Hindu epic tale with beautiful traditional Javanese dancing and music. The costumes were very intricate and colorful making it a really special night.