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A Modification to the Panama Hats

We allowed ourselves to sleep in a little after the intense wheel to Borobudur, and AsiaWheeling indulged in a prolonged breakfast on the sunny patio of the Setia Kawan. Slowly but surely the Indonesian fishy crackers were growing on me, though from time to time it seemed, I got a bite which tasted like some of the more ruddy parts of Providence, Rhode Island. Rome wasn’t built in a day either.


Today was to be a day of missions and waypoints. The first of which was the post office for some project K9 business.

Project K9

Project K9 Stamps on Package

We found the Indonesian post to be efficient, fast, and cheap, providing a diversity of services and materials. We were in and out in no time.

Next stop was the train station, where we were to buy tickets to Surabaya.

Train Tickets

This also proved painless, cheap, and fast. Everyone in this country seemed interested in helping us, and we took to the streets feeling like kings.

The next mission was a little less straightforward. One issue that we had been experiencing with the Panama hats, so far, had been a propensity to get caught up in the wind and depart our heads, usually heading for some foul sewage-filled gutter or yawning crevasse.

Our solution to this problem was to engineer a strap that might be applied to the hats in order to attach them more securely to your humble correspondents’ noggins. When we returned to stash the tickets in the safety of our room, the fine staff at the Setia Kawan directed us to a street that was rumored to contain nothing but tailors, and as the sky oscillated between looking like rain, and brutal sunshine, we worked our way up the street.

The first fellow we talked to quickly understood the issue and indicated to us that he would be happy to attach a length of what looked like seatbelt to the hats. When we expressed that this was not exactly optimal, he frowned and and produced a kind of lacy material, which might have gone well on a pair of ladies unmentionables.

When this also proved to be not exactly in line with the AsiaWheeling aesthetic, he tried once more with the seatbelt, and eventually flagged us on down the road.

Pointing to Accessories Store

We were refining our own ideas about the design as we went, and our interactions with the next fellow were even better. I indicated to him where to attach buttons and used Scott’s sunglass strap as an example of the kind of cord we needed. He frowned and consulted his team before finally shaking his head as well and sending us on down the road.

The third team of tailors got it, and though I kept repeatedly banging my head into the jagged and rusted metal roof of his little tailor’s stall, he indicated to us that he would be able to to get the job done, but that we needed to go down the street and purchase some buttons and cords.

Luckily no more than a half block away there was a great Mecca of buttons and cords. We were able to select from a plethora of choices.

Accessories Store

In the end we selected two stout crimson leather bands, and a pair of graphite buttons. The entire ensemble was finished off with a touch of class, when we opted to upgrade to the 30-cent brass clasp.

Back at the tailor’s shack, I banged my head a few more times, as he worked on our hats.

Raging on Hats

Modified Christys Panama Hat

The end result was fantastic, and when we asked him how much we owed, he said nothing. We decided to pay him anyway, and climbed back on the cycles, for the first time fearing not for our hats.

The last waypoint was a shopping mall, where we sought sustenance.  It was complete with a booth selling DVDs, VCDs, and CDs of Indonesian and foreign pop music.  Playing on the screen was Britney Spears’ Womanizer music video.  Quite entrancing.

Also displayed at this mall were ornate traditional dresses burgeoning with sequins and silk, for all the peacocking needs of Yogjakarta’s female elite.


Dining at a Thai restaurant next to a bowling alley in the mall, we fell into the Wikireader once again, and then were sated.

On our way home to the good old Setia Kawan, we stopped at another mall on which the ground floor was an expansive supermarket called “Hero.”


We found it to be full of some very fascinating items, and laden with supplies.  Stocking up on nuts, crackers, and water proved to be an eye-opening waypoint.

Hero Market

We wheeled back to the Setia Kawan just in time to avoid a howling downpour which wore on well onto the night.


  1. Joshtown | January 19th, 2010 | 2:17 pm

    Thank god! The panama hats are my favorite part of this whole endeavor. You can’t lose those (except in a trade or gamble for vital goods).

  2. Angela | January 19th, 2010 | 10:49 pm

    Please show us a picture of the two of you sporting your new hat apparatus.

  3. Dear Reader | January 19th, 2010 | 11:27 pm

    What is Project K9??

  4. Mark/Dad | January 20th, 2010 | 4:01 am

    Good hat story, and what a smile on the young lady at the button-and-cord shop! I noticed a couple of horse drawn carriages–a tourist gimmick like Central Park, or more functional than that?

  5. Goody | January 20th, 2010 | 5:22 pm

    Great posts Woody! I just now read them all and got caught up. How long is your trip going to be? or are you playing it by ear? Or is this listed on your website and I am too lazy to search out the answers?

  6. Woody | January 20th, 2010 | 9:17 pm

    @ Joshtown
    Thanks for reading. The panama hats are one of our favorite parts too. They would have to be some pretty vital goods in order for us to trade them.

    @ Angela
    Coming right up.

    @ Dear Reader
    Wouldn’t you like to know

    @ Mark/Dad
    I think they play both rolls. Sometimes they are carrying real cargo or are just used as transport. Cleo had some interesting comments on the horse from a veterinary perspective… I’ll quote…
    “There are a couple of things I can see from this photo. The first is that his tail is raised quite high. This could be because of his breed. If he had some arabian in him he would do that naturally. There are some diseases however that would cause this, the first being worms – his butt is itchy, the second being a neurological disorder – means he’s having trouble feeling his tail. He’s too skinny which makes him look awkward, and he has some confirmation issues – he’s either cow hawked or a little toed in with his hind feet meaning that he would have a kind of egg beater walk which might look funny.”

    @ Goody
    Thanks for the comment. About 10 months in all. No sweat. Well, actually a lot of sweat. But the best kind.

  7. AsiaWheeling » Blog Archive » Dreamland: Beach of the Apocalypse | February 3rd, 2010 | 11:52 am

    […] a number of long and fast descents (thank goodness for the modification to the Panama hats), we arrived at the entrance to a number of compounds. One of these, we knew, must be the beach, but […]

  8. AsiaWheeling » Blog Archive » AsiaWheeling Presents Project K9 | April 7th, 2010 | 10:12 am

    […] made our way to the Indonesian post office, wrapped it in newsprint, burlap bags, fibrous twine, and brown paper, and sent it on its way to […]

  9. Scott | April 9th, 2010 | 12:57 am

    Diane, great question.

    AsiaWheeling project K9 is essentially a “bounty hunting” program. One of the most famous bounty hunters appearing recently in pop culture is “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” so we decided to brand the project internally as “K9,” as it is the slang term for canine, meaning dog.

    The project was initially going to be rebranded as the “AsiaWheeling Treasure Hunt” for public release, but people responded positively to K9. So it stuck.

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