Monday, March 15, 2010

Permata Theatre

In around 1940s, a movie theatre named Permata was built in Yogyakarta. As the name implies, the theatre rally became the diamond for Jogja community, especially young people. Permata theatre did not only function as a place to see the movie, but it also function as a place for hanging around and doing various romantic things of the youth. The existence of the movie theatre could even change the name of the area from Jalan Sultan Agung to Permata area. The phenomenal Permata theatre by that time, especially the era of 60s to 70s, attracted all young people in Yogyakarta to have to come.

This movie theatre was a symbol of prestige for young people as café and mall are at present time. It was in this theatre as well that phenomenal Indonesian films such as Badai Pasti Berlalu of 70s version and Gita Cinta di SMA were on.
Nonetheless, time goes by, as the morning that will always turn to evening. It happens to Permata movie theatre of which triumph is decreasing, moving to the twilight of its business. The number of the employees was tens but only few left now. The branches located until Wonosobo city are ruining. Permata theatre is not famous for its good films anymore; instead, it is known as a movie theatre showing low-quality films.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mataram Ditch

During Japanese colonization, many Indonesian people were sent to different regions to be employed as forced workers or romusha. They were forced to build various infrastructures to support the Japanese military to fight the Alliance. The people who served as romusha suffered so much; they did not get enough food and they were treated so severely that many of them died. This made Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX - the former king of Yogyakarta - felt a pity and tried to put the romusha away from Yogyakarta people.

He ordered the people to build an irrigation ditch as long as 30 kilometers from the Progo River to the Opak River, and objected to let his people to join the romusha by claiming that they still had to finish the project. The ditch was named Yoshiro Canal and up to now, it functions to irrigate teen-thousands hectares of rice field.
Going along the bank of this historical irrigation ditch on a motorcycle or a mountain bike promises a pleasant experience when it is done in October - May since from June to September this ditch is dried to cut off the contamination cycle.

The perfect start would be from the crossroad near the building of Magister Management of Gadjah Mada University on Kaliurang Road. There are two choices of routes from this point. We may choose to go westwards to meet the upper stream of Progo River in Ancol village of Magelang Regency. Otherwise, we may go along the Mataram ditch to the east direction that will end in Opak River in Kalasan.

Taru Martani Cigar Factory, the Legend of Cigar van Java

For tobacco lovers, it will be exciting to visit Taru Martani, the factory that has been producing cigars since 1918. You will feel like visiting your soul mate. If you don't like tobacco, at least you can learn the long history of this factory that supports many people. Taru Martani was initially built in Bulu area, at the side of Magelang Street, under the name of N.V. Negresco. Three years later, in 1921, the factory moved to the current location, Baciro, to the west of Mandala Krida Stadium in Yogyakarta. During the Japanese colonization, the name of the factory was changed to Java Tobacco Kojo. The factory was triumphant that time since it was supported by machineries to make light cigarettes that were brought in from B.A.T Cirebon. It's an easy procedure to complete before you are able to visit the factory. You only have to make an appointment with the factory management. When they give you permit, you can explore the 2-hectares factory guided by one of the employees. You can see directly and ask questions related to the cigar production. You don't have to incur expenses for this tour. The visit hours, however, are limited only on working hours, from Monday to Friday at 08:00a.m. to 02:00p.m. Entering this factory, you can enjoy the beauty of European architecture. Each parts of the building, both production and administration rooms are preserved as the original ones to that the nuance of European architecture is seen clearly until now. Even though the building has been tens years old, there is no frightening or dull impression; it even give dynamic impression. The production of cigar in this factory goes through some stages. At preparation stage, the dried tobacco leaves that were obtained from Besuki, Jember, East Java are taken out from the warehouse for dampening process for one night. The purpose is to make the tobacco leaves damp and do not crush when processed. The tobacco leaves are then sorted by its physical quality. Some of them are used as cigar filler, binder and wrapper.

The sorted tobacco is then prepared to make cigar cocoon in the next step. In this stage, the cigar is first wrapped with binder or dekblad and then with wrapper or dekblad. The uniqueness of the cigar making lies in this stage where skillful workers are able to produce relatively the same size of cigars by their hands. After this stage is completed, the rolled cigars are cut and sorted.
At the final stage of the production, the cigars go through fumigation, cooling, drying and fermentation processes in order to kill the tobacco germs. This stage is so important since the storage time of free-germs cigars will be longer and the taste lasts longer as well. After completion of this stage, cigars are labeled, wrapped and packed to be distributed to consumers. Taru Martani produces 14 brands of cigars, namely Cigarillos, Extra Cigarillos, Senioritas, Panatella, Half Corona, Corona, Super Corona/Grand Corona, Boheme, Royal Perfecto, Rothschild, and Churchill. For its variations, Taru Martani produces three kinds of cigars, namely nature cigar or pure tobacco, flavor cigars or tobacco added with flavors (mint, vanilla, rhum, hazelnut) and mild cigar.

Some legendary cigar brands are worth buying and tasting when you come. You should try Senator and Mundi Victor that have been produced since the foundation of this factory even though they were only labeled by those names in 1952. Other cigars you should try are Adipati, Ramayana and Borobudur that have been produced since 1970s. If you like minced tobacco, you can buy Van Nelle, Drum, and Countryman. Visiting Taru Martani and trying its products make you part of the international community of good quality cigar lovers. The reason is that the cigars produced by Taru Martani that are well known as Cigar van Java have been favored by people from all the world: Asia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, America and Europe.