2-4 December 2012
Baturraden Grebeg Suran Shadow Puppet Late Show
I hosted Rachel, a couchsurfer from Malaysia. She came both in a perfect timing and imperfect timing. Perfect because in Javanese calendar, it was the Suro month where she could watch the shadow puppet late show of Grebeg Suran festival in Baturraden; and imperfect because Malaysia won over Indonesia on a soccer match, so some of Indonesian kept talking about it when they knew that Rachel is a Malaysian. Yeah, silly, but people do those kind of things.
Rachel, Olive (a local CSer), and I went to Baturraden at 9 PM. It was raining, but we wouldn’t miss the event. The Grebeg Suran is hold once a year, as the top event of the Muslim New Year celebration. Every region in Java have their own similar festival, with different names. It usually starts with a parade or procession of people in traditional clothings carrying goat as sacrificial animal and various crops. Then there’s a moment when people will overrun and eat tumpeng (= cone shaped steamed rice with lots of dishes around it) to get blessings. I missed those interesting moments though, but I wouldn’t miss the shadow puppet show.
We sat among the crowd to watch the “Semar Arep Mbangun Kahyangan” (= Semar Wants To Build The Heaven) shadow puppet show. That was my first time watching the live show. They had all the gamelan traditional music instruments set, with a group of female singers we call sinden. I think the show was quite spectacular because there were three dalang (=puppeteer) performing. They use mixed Javanese language, sometimes with jokes in Banyumasan dialect. We didn’t watch the full show because it might take hours till around 4AM.
Curug Bayan, Pancuran Tujuh, Curug Belot
The next day, we went to curug Bayan for free because we got there earlier than the ticketing officer. Rainy season made the volume of the waterfall increased. It was more beautiful than usual, I suppose. We took some pictures and went to our next destination: Pancuran Pitu or Pancuran Tujuh hotspring through the Lokawisata Baturraden. The Lokawisata ticket costs Rp 8.000,-/person on weekdays, Rp 12.000,-/person on weekends or holidays. You can also take a different route straight to the front of Pancuran Tujuh entrance by vehicle from Bumi Perkemahan Baturraden. But I prefer to take 2.5 kilometers walk through the forest from Lokawisata😀 I always love the view and the healthy benefit. The Pancuran Tujuh entrance ticket is Rp 9.000,-/person (sorry, I’m not really sure, a bit forgot).
We sat in front of gua Selirang, soaking our tired feet. We met some older men, around 40s, work for the goverment. They talked to us and a little tried to flirt. We felt uncomfortable because we knew that those kind of people usually waste our taxes for useless expenses like taking unreasonable vacations and “ordering” prostitutes to sleep with. Ew… OK, skip that part. We skipped the hotspring bath as well and proceeded to my favorite swimming spot: curug Belot.
The cemented path down to the river was too slipery, so I suggested Rachel and Olive to take an alternative way. There is terraced ground with trees and other plants beside the road. We were in doubt, but I finally went down and checked if we could get to the river. Seemed fine, so I told Rachel and Olive to follow. We took off our shoes and got really dirty because of the “extreme track”. Hahaha..
Curug Belot was also more beautiful than usual. Rachel and I swam there, watched the local children jumped from the rocks, enjoyed the paradise screenplay of the nature. I don’t know why, but I always feel both fear and happiness everytime I come here.
The cloudy sky forced us to end our pleasure. We went up, following the local children. It was creepy, but safer than walked on 45 degrees slippery cemented path. There was a mosque where we parked our motorbikes. They have a bathroom, but that time we changed our clothes in a local’s house. I used my limited Kromo Inggil (= polite Javanese) to ask for her permission. She was nice and really applied the Javanese humbleness by saying, “of course you can change your clothes in this room, but please pardon the untidiness.”
Museum Wayang Banyumas
Early morning, Rachel and I went to GOR Satria (Satria sports stadium) and bought serabi. Serabi is a traditional cake made of rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. Then we went to my friend, Angga’s house and drink badeg. Badeg is similar to nira, but it’s already in the process of making palm sugar. Thicker and sweeter.
Around 9 AM, we took Rachel to Museum Wayang Banyumas, the Banyumas Puppet Museum. I got a copy of guidebook to their collections. Unfortunately they don’t have the English translation. I hope I can translate it soon, because it might be helpful for the foreigners since the caretaker doesn’t speak English.
Museum Wayang Banyumas is located in the old Pendopo Si Panji (Si Panji Hall) area. The caretaker told me that they moved Pendopo Si Panji from Banyumas to Purwokerto on January 1937 according to their belief that the pillars needed to be put where they belong, on the headwaters of Kali Serayu (= Serayu river). They moved all the pillars without crossing Kali Serayu, but went round through Semarang region to Purwokerto. Pendopo Si Panji is now located in front of alun-alun Purwokerto (= Purwokerto city square).
He also told me about a well behind the old Pendopo Si Panji. There is a sacred well. It’s actually a small plate wide hole. They enclosed it with fence. People usually come and pray for their wishes to come true there. He said that not every man can get water from that well. Only the lucky ones will meet the guardian spirit of the well and get their wishes granted. The guardian spirit is a woman. Sometimes she appears as an elder, sometimes she appears as a young woman. Maybe you should try it out of curiosity, but do ask about the ritual first.