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Legendary Cultures
March 12 to April 1 2011
Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise

YOGJAKARTA, INDONESIA

In addition to lectures on the plane about the places we are about to visit, the tour leader preps us for the stop we are about to make. She said that at this stop we would be able to start at a more civilized time.

Civilized turned out to mean that we started at seven rather than at six.

On the way to the hotel we stopped at a small temple just to whet our appetite for the Indonesianext two days. Of the things that anyone could complain about, we cannot say they don't feed us. It seems that we eat a meal every time we go to a new place or have a brief rest someplace. The evening meal in Indonesia, as is usual, is a buffet that features local cuisine. While we were eating we were treated to a traditional Javanese dance. It is based on a favorite Javanese legend - sort of their Romeo and Juliet wrapped up with Hansel and Gretel. More Gilbert and Sullivan than ballet but fun.

As I said earlier, based on experiences we had years ago, we upgraded our hotel room Indonesiaevery place we could. Again, the room we got bordered on the ridiculous. It had a private office, a living room, dining room and kitchen, two bathrooms and a master bedroom. It was on the top floor and also had a wraparound balcony. The view from the room was of Merapi Volcano. This is a very active volcano that just erupted a couple of months ago and the lava flowed into the rivers, mixed with the water, and flooded several villages burying them in ash and boulders. The hotel is adjacent to a golf course, a driving range, and has its some small temple ruins in the back. It is hard to tell whether these were actual temples or are just great reconstructions.

We then went to visit Borobudar, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It occupies less ground and Angor Wat but is a larger single mass. This becomes obvious when climbing the steep stairs. The carvings on the walls are well preserved as are the several hundred Buddhas. As it is a tourist spot and a shrine for Buddhists, it is crowded. One of the charming additions to the monument was the fact that young students were visiting the Indonesiashrine and using the visit to learn practice English with those they heard speaking it. They had a questionnaire they asked you to respond to (they picked people at random) and asked to have their picture taken with you. For all the years I travelled it was always the case that the natives in wherever I was were as curious about the tourist as the tourist was about them. The difference today is that they want to see the picture you take of them (they are familiar with the digital camera) and want to take a picture of you. Turnabout is fair play. Anyway the kids were clean, polite, and bright. I am typically shy around children but got along fine with them.

IndonesiaIt was very hot and humid (it had rained every afternoon for the past two weeks and did again today). When we returned to the main pavilion after a humid and sunny walk around Borobudur, we were served coconut milk from the coconut and had elephants available for those who cared to ride.

Yep. That's Carol with her bright pink parasol.



Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise



HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC