|Yogyakarta, Indonesia (aka Jogja)
On May 27, 2006, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck 15 miles southwest of Jogja, killed some 5,782 people with 40,000 injured and 600,000 displaced. At around the same time, Mount Merapi, perhaps the most active volcano on the island of Java, started spewing ash and lava, forcing thousands of people northwest of the city to evacuate. Fortunately, most of Jogja remained intact. Although it is the cultural center of the Java culture, the mood there was dampened by the natural disasters.
For me, it was the third time in Indonesia. Every visit has to do with a natural disaster. However, this time felt more like a regular Asian-city assignment from the magazine. I had more time to soak from the friendly people of Jogja. The food was badass where almost EVERYTHING is sweet (not like, schweeee, but as in sugar-ree). Definitely a cool place to stay considering it's also the post-secondary education mecca of Indonesia with around 100 higher-ed institutes.