Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Friday, June 29, 2012

Again with the first call to prayer just after 4 am, there was no need for an alarm clock for our 5 am departure. The gates open at 6 am and it was an hour’s drive as we ate our lovely (not) boxed breakfast: 3 pieces of bread, 4 PCU’s of butter and jam, scrambled egg roll and a small cup size container of water.

We arrived as the sun rose. The temperature was pleasant, the crowds at their lowest and the sun light filtered its way through the haze making for near picture perfect images.

Borobodur is the world's largest Buddhist Stupa completed in the 9th century. Laid hidden for centuries, it was in 1815 that the site was started to be cleared.

Surrounded by the patchwork of various hues of green rice paddy fields, swaying palms, one has to wonder how this Buddhist monument has survived many volcanic eruptions, terrorist explosions and more recently the 2006 earthquake.

Between 1873 and 1983, US $25 m was spent as an Unesco sponsored project to stabilise the site from both the mass of humans and natural events. Most of the monument was removed stone by stone, new concrete foundations, better PVC and lead drainage installed and in some parts extra walls were built to better hold up the monument. They had to also protect it from subsidence with many parts of the monument sinking through the hill being waterlogged.

In January 1985, 11 bombs were placed on the upper levels. Now restored, in 1991 Borobudur gained the status of a World Heritage site.

It is built from 2 million stones. Standing on a small hill, the base measures 118 m by 118 m. Above it towers 6 square terraces or levels topped off by 3 more round circular levels. Steep stairways access is from each of the 4 sides.On the top 3 levels were 72 small latticed stupas, inside which were more Buddha images.

Being a Buddhist monument, we walked round it in a clockwise direction.

Yes, it was impressive and I was glad that we went early. As we left the site, the car / bus park was certainly filling up but more importantly it started to get really hot even at 8.30 am.

For us foreigners they have a special reception room with toilets, complementary cold water, tea and coffee. A nice touch.

The drive back took nearly 2 hours with the traffic.

Once back in Jogya, Nova took us for a short walk along the back alleys to Seno Batik Painting, Mantrijeron MJ III/800. Yes, I did buy a piece of batik and was fortunate that the artist was actually there. My small 30 cm by 30 cm piece cost 150,000 Rp (NZ $20 or just over US $15). Yes, if I had brought more pieces, then a discount would have been given.

Lunch at Aglioo Pizza and Pasta just across from the hotel: Salami Al Fungi 37,000 Rp and a mixed juice ala Agli Oo 10,000 Rp. This was pineapple, apple, lemon, senape which looked like a cos lettuce when I asked the barman to show me what senape was. So lunch came to 51,000 Rp (NZ $7 or US 5).

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