Bedhot, artist and losmen owner | Jogyakarta, Indonesia
Jan. 15, 2010
Bedhot is a painter and tattoo artist who owns a losmen (guesthouse) in a popular backpacker area in Jogyakarta. He has lived and worked in Europe for four years but decided to return for a better quality of life and weather in Indonesia.
Yogyakarta (Jogya) is one of Java’s main tourist attractions and is a city renowned for arts and education. Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple are both UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites that can be easily explored from Yogya.
LPT: What do you think about tourism in Jogya?
Bedhot: The positive thing is when tourists come here people in the area can earn money from tourism. Another positive thing is when tourists come, local people have opportunities to see and sometimes talk to international people. Sometimes local people don’t know about other countries and by talking to tourists they know more about that. Of course, in this area most people can speak English.
Bedhot: So that’s why when you talk to locals, they sometimes would like to know about how things are in your country, you know? What it looks like.
But not everything about tourism is good here, right?
Bedhot: There’re sometimes horrible things like tourists do not show respect to the local culture by getting drunk and losing control. Sometimes tourists, they don’t care because they’re happy…because they’re on holiday, because they’re traveling; so they’re like “Oh, I’m happy, I don’t care about anyone.”
LPT: Do local people tell tourists if they’re doing something disrespectful?
Bedhot: Yeah, sometimes but not all the time because everybody is quite different. Sometimes they tell them even if it’s not the right time. If the timing is not good to tell them, there will be big problems – big fight – even if they’re drunk. They’re terrible about this.
LPT: Can you give me an example?
Bedhot: I remember it was one month ago, there was a couple from Germany and they called here and wanted to stay in this losmen. When they got here, they were angry because the room price was different than their Lonely Planet guidebook. I said to them, your Lonely Planet guide is two 2 years old, every year the price changes, right? I explained this is the rate we have and you can look on our website to see the prices are exactly the same. But they said, “But no, I don’t want! I want the same price like this and I want free internet! I want this!” Whoa! I tried to explain but no, they wouldn’t listen; it was a big problem. It’s difficult to handle.
I told them, “If you want a cheap price, I can show you another place (hotel) that is cheaper than here.” But no, they were still like angry and we had a big fight here. So I told them if they were still like that, I would call the police. They were still like that so I picked up the phone and while I was dialing, they ran off. Whoa! Unbelievable!
LPT: Does that happen often? People complaining the prices are different than what’s in the Lonely Planet?
Bedhot: No, not often. Yeah, there are things like that but not often.
Another example is at the gangs (alleys), there are signs that say people can’t drive through with their motorcycles – it’s a big sign. But sometimes, tourists still drive through with their motorcycles. Sometimes they say they didn’t know but there are already signs. Who’s wrong in this case? I don’t understand.
Sometimes tourists walk drunk on the street with little clothes and they walk everywhere. Sometimes a local person would say, “Excuse me, it’s not polite to do this.” But they’ll reply, “Why? Why? I do what I want, you know? ”
LPT: How can we make tourism run a bit better in Jogya you think? How can we have fewer misunderstandings and fights?
Bedhot: Yeah, because in Indonesia, of course, there are rules but the rules are not strict. It’s different than in Europe where it’s very strict and everything has to be this, this, and this.
The tourists sometimes want to be king because they’re here (Indonesia) and of course the money, right?
I guess try to have things in writing. For example, about the toilets, I made a picture of how you shouldn’t throw anything in the toilets. There was a picture of someone throwing something in the toilet and I put a cross over it. But people still throw things in the toilets. I don’t understand it, and then it’s a big problem because the water doesn’t go down and it spills out of the toilet. You know, that’s a big problem and it happens many times.
Sometimes people…they don’t care. I try to make it so things will be better but…