Barbee Travels travel blog

Follow the masses to the temple.

Mt. Merapi, hope she does not blow at the moment!

Makes me tired just thinking about all the stone carving.

Wow

How is your engrish?

Like my $2.50 batik shirt? Does it make me look fat?

Chad working on his Indonesian.

At the top of the Stupa. Can't believe there is only a...

What a place. Two million blocks of stone.

Somebody lit the fuze but she hasn't blown yet!


Today we looked like the Hells Angles with 9 of us on our motorcycles. Rather than take a minibus or arrange some other form of transportation we chose to ride the 42km to Borobudur. It was such a pleasant ride that early in the morning with light traffic and the air was cool. It was like sitting in front of an A/C unit and not drenched in sweat. Borobudur looms out a patchwork of green paddies and swaying palms. It has survived Gunung Merapi’s ash flows, terrorist bombs, the earthquake of 2006 and the throngs of tourists that patronize the temple every year. On a busy holiday up to 90,000 people ascend the temple. The region is the most important center for Buddhism and there are three monasteries in the surrounding district. Borobudur was built between 750-850AD and 60,000cu meters of stone was cut and used to create the temple. The name Borobudur means Buddhist monastery on a hill. The temple was abandoned soon after construction for unknown reasons and for centuries forgotten. It was not until 1815 that the temple was rediscovered and the area clear once again exposing the magnificent site. During the early 20th century the Dutch began restoration and UNESCO sponsored a 25 million restoration project. In 1991 Borobudur was named a World Heritage Site. We spent several hours wondering around the temple taking photos and enjoying the majesty of the place. While we were walking around students from the local high school (all girls, freshman and sophomores) came up and asked if they could practice their English. They were really excited and asked great questions. I spent some time speaking to two different groups. They wanted to know about the culture of the USA, my hobbies, why I came to the temple, where I had been on Java, where I was going, and how long I was on Holiday. They were really bold about approaching us and practicing their English. They also wanted to take our photo and wanted us to write something in our book. I admired them for their desire to learn and their fearlessness in asking questions and making mistakes. By mid-afternoon, we were ready to begin working our way back to Yogyakarta but we wanted to stop by Mt. Merapi, a very active volcano that is 25km from Yogyakarta. We road until dusk and found a trail for a short hike. The volcanoes tower above the countryside and are visually very impressive. It is one of only 16 decade volcanoes in the world a definition bestowed by the United Nations – International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction especially for explosive peaks. The Volcano has erupted dozens of time during the last century. It was a nice break from the hustle-bustle of Yogyakarta and the temperatures were much cooler and more pleasant. While we stopped at a tourist site for a drink break we encountered a group of monkeys. They were completely habituated to humans and would come up to take peanuts and other food directly from your hand. We returned after 7pm and all very tired after our 13 hour day of exploration. We all enjoyed the day greatly and were bummed we had to return them. All of us wanted to continue to tour on our motorcycle rather then turn them but we were on the move soon.

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