Monday, May 6, 2013

Yogyakarta / Borobodur

Yogyakarta -- pronounced as if the Ys are Js, and the nickname is Yogya, like Joe-ja. Our first day we were tired and wired and lagged, but we got out and did a bit of wandering anyway. Relaxed at the pool. Snoozed a little. Found an OK spot for dinner. Slept, finally, after the 35+ hours of getting here. On our first real day, Monday, we hired a cab to take us to Borobudur after we had some breakfast. The hotel is fine, charming enough, but kind of dirty in the room -- cobwebs and dirt kind of dirt -- and with geckos running along the walls. Pretty big geckos, too. This is the lobby:

in the lobby of our hotel

And the restaurant is really beautiful, next to the pool.

these flowers drip from the edge of the restaurant, so gorgeous, and pollinated by gigantic bees that look like beetles

beautiful flowers

Indonesian breakfast -- noodles and chicken, YUM.
The cab ride to Borobudur took about an hour and a half, at most. Borobudur is the biggest tourist destination in Indonesia, apparently, and along with Angkor Wat (seen it!) and the plains of Bagan (saw that too), is one of the largest ancient Buddhist temples in the world.

graffiti EVERYWHERE in Yogya, it's actually kind of amazing.

lots of people going to the temple, but it rarely felt crowded

this carving made me smile -- it looked like one is whispering in the other's ear

Buddhas everywhere, of course -- and a spectacular setting around the temple

some Buddhas didn't have heads

elephants and trees in the carvings

such beautiful work

and ships -- of course, among all these islands

this was HILARIOUS. Groups of kids swarmed us and wanted their pictures taken with us.

this boy held Marc's hand during the picture, as a girl did to me. And notice the Obama t-shirt

at first we thought they'd want us to take a picture of them. but they wanted us in the shot.

these large bell-shaped structures are on the top level

the top level represents formlessness

it's a beautiful, beautiful place

and we both loved it there so much
Borobudur was really special, better than we anticipated. Some places are like that; we felt that way about Macchu Picchu, which was kind of surprising because the images of it are ubiquitous. But still, it was better than we imagined. Angkor Wat, for some reason, was disappointing. But Borobudur was really special, so beautiful, such a peaceful place. The surrounding area is a green valley, filled with palm trees and banana trees, and ringing the horizon are mountains. And then this giant, quiet temple in the middle.

The weather forecast is leading us to change our plans. Instead of going to Manado, on the tip of Sulawesi (lots of thunderstorms), we're probably going to Bali. That's a pretty sweet Plan B. :)

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