My imagination of past stretch around Pulo Kenanga has ended. My thinking wass wild enough to imagine the beauty of lake stretch which juts out to the north. The lake in the past looked deep when you look at its bottom which had become a stretch of residential architecture down there. I didn’t know why the lake dried up during its time, so that the bottom stretch of lake was used by people of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate as a new economic center, namely Pasar Ngasem (Ngasem Market).
“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s go down to Pasar Ngasem. The market is more than two centuries old. We will learn the economic history of Sultanate there! ”, our tour guide started to lead the group down Pulo Kenanga. I immediately finished my last glance on each side of Pulo Kenanga. I moved down at the tail of tour group.
My steps headed north, not far, only around two hundred meters and in five minutes I arrived at Pasar Ngasem. Inside the market, the committee had provided a lunch menu in the form of boxed rice which were neatly arranged on a clean and roofed market hallway so as to reduce heat of the sun which was already at its peak.
When the participants were busy picking up their boxed rice, I was still engrossed in walking around Pasar Ngasem Plaza which functions as a performance area. In the form of a semicircular concrete platform with a short podium surrounding it.
I watched a foreigner sitting on the podium and enjoying the situation. I purposely approached him to talking:
Me: “Hi, sir. Where are you come from? “
He: “Hi… Hello. Switzerland “
Me: “I’m Donny from Jakarta. How about Taman Sari. Is that good? “
He: “Hi. I’m Armend. Yeaaa..It’s great. It just need a little touch more to make it more classic. Tapi disini panas juga (but it’s hot in here too)“.
Me: “Hahahah…. You can speak Bahasa Indonesia. This is a surprise “
He: “Yes, Donny. Surely. I had worked in Cianjur for a year. I little learns “
Me: “Yeaa, it’s certainly cooler there. Dibidang apa Anda bekerja? (What field do you work in?) “
Me: “Wow… Cool. Sendirian ke Jogja? (are you going alone to Jogja? “
He: “I have a family… .That”, he pointed to his father, mother and younger sister on a side of market who were busy walking around.
The two of us ended up having a conversation that was so exciting until a voice from the end of plaza called me “Donny, let’s have lunch soon, we will leave the market“, shouted a group member reminding me. Finally I said goodbye to Armend and immediately joined the group to enjoy lunch.
That afternoon there was very little selling activity in the market. Most of the items sold were daily necessities. Even though I know that this was the biggest bird market in Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate. But now the bird trader have been relocated to Pasar Satwa dan Tanaman Hias Yogyakarta (PASTY).
Now this market had played a key role in assisting the existence of Taman Sari cultural heritage. Half of Pasar Ngasem area had been transformed into an area of arts and cultural performances and part of it was still used for traditional trade.