The alarm went off at 345 am. Luckily I had packed the night before. It was going to be a long day and I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before.
There was no sun to greet us when we left our hotel. There were a few stars and the calls to prayer from the mosque. The stars were a great sign as a potential day with no rain. We climbed into the car and began our drive to the Buddhist temple Borobudur our first stop. I tried to sleep but couldn’t get comfortable. We had a choice to go to a hotel in the park near the temple or we could climb up a hill to see the sun rise. We chose the hill.
We had to pay 30,000 and then make the climb. The sky was turning blue. The ground was slippery with mud. The Germans in front of us were barefoot and sliding everywhere. We climbed up with little problems. The clouds were huge and beautiful as the sun began to rise (pictured above). The funny part was a westerner and an Indonesian couple spent the whole time fighting with a camera rather than enjoying the view.
We drove down from the hill to Borobudur. We got a guide to walk us through. It is the oldest structure in Indonesia build in the 9th century and even older than Angkar Wat by a hundred years. The lay out is the path to enlightenment with the base being the biggest. It is the stage where all people are solely controlled by their desires. They are not free but slaves to want and possessions. There are no carvings on the outer wall. The second level is the beginning of the desire to take control of ones life. There are carvings of the story of the Buddah and his path towards enlightenment. The third level the engravings are more detailed and about the path. On the next level were stupas with no carvings and on the top was a 5 point stupa representing the 5 truths. The whole complex has been saved after earthquakes and the eruption of a nearby volcano in 2010.
At the top, we did 7 walks around the main Stupa. We each said something we should think about such as the past, next year, beyond next year, a love one who had past, loved ones who are still with us and do on. The temple was packed with high school kids on vacation. They all wanted pictures as not a lot of tourists come this way. Most had never seen a westerner before. We obliged as much as we could before it became a burden. It was soon time to go and we hopped into the van.
The ride to Prambanan was long due to traffic. It was a great opportunity for sleep. We stopped for some food before finally arriving. We only had an hour since we needed to catch the train at 3. We were lucky to meet two university girls who were wanting to become tour guides. We said we were under a tight time line but agreed.
Prambanan was also build in the 9th century and is a Hindu temple when they kicked out the Buddhists. The Hindus were kicked out by the Muslim which makes the country second or third largest Muslim country in the world. Today there is a mix of all three as the country has become more tolerant. The temple is divided into 6 temple buildings in honor of the major gods in Hindu religion. The buildings appear sharper than Borobudur. They were very different than the ones I had seen in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore as the buildings were made from lava stone. The temple was destroyed by two earthquakes in 1906 and 2006. I’m not coming back in 2106. The guides told us about the carvings on the outside of the buildings as well as the stories they told. They also asked others to not take pictures of us which made for a more comfortable tour. Our guides asked us for feedback.
The one thing I notice about this place is how nice and giving they are. I’ve never felt unsafe or I was getting ripped off. The people are overly giving and wanting to help. They are shy in this area since they are just not use to tourists which makes me feel lucky for coming at this time before the mad rush which is sure to come.
So far, I’m loving it here.