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Bitter-Sweet Day

It started out well


Jennie and I walked into an information centre to research how, when and the cost, etcetera, of getting to see Borobudur and Prambanan monuments (both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.) As it turns out, we left having booked an entire tour dedicated to both sites in one day for 350,000 Indonesian Rupiahs ($38 CDN) that started at 4:45 a.m. the following morning.

Borobudur is a ninth-century Buddhist monument just outside of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 gorgeous relief panels constructed in the faces of sandstone blocks. It also has 504 Buddha statues that sit with perfect posture and stare out from the monument. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa, except one where the stupa itself is missing but the buddha remains perfectly intact, less some fingers (the stupa, I assume, became damaged or completely collapsed during the 2006 earthquakes.) During the journey to the top, the monument guides people through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades. Easily the most stunning structure that Java, if not the entirety of Indonesia, has to offer. Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction, and when you see it, there's no question why. Our arrival to the site at 5:45 a.m. to see the sun rise over the shrine was worth the admission price.

It humbled even me, a person with no affection toward any religion, to see such a monument.

Next on our tour was Prambanan. Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, located approximately 18 km east of Yogyakarta. It was built around 850 CE and unknowingly, not long after its construction the temple was abandoned and began to deteriorate. Reconstruction of the compound began in 1918. The main building was completed in around 1953. It is characterised by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu temple design, and also by the 47m high central building inside a large complex of individual temples. Sadly, it was heavily damaged during the earthquakes that temporarily crippled Indonesia in 2006. Prambanan, however, did not fare nearly as well during the quakes as Borobudur and unfortunately, was not as accessable to the public as its religious-testament-counterpart. The damage, even after years of restoration, was still clearly evident. The area was littered with large chunks of stone debris that had fallen to the ground and oddly enough, some remained intact. Despite its battle with the elements and the results of such, Prambanan still holds some unbeleivably detailed and unharmed releifs and frescoes that are equally as humbling as Borobudur's.

Our journey home at mid afternoon was slow and tiresome, as to be expected when 894 trillion people are driving in no particular direction, with no particular pupose and with no particular rules of the road. I assume the attempt to pass a bill regarding road rules and safety went something likes this;

Santoso wanted to pass a bill to implement laws for the driving of vehicles on Indonesian roads. Budi was a fucking psychopath who liked to drive like an asshole. Budi then, realizing he was out of toilet paper, wiped his ass with the proposed bill*. The End.

Side Note: It is rumored that Lisa Wallace is a direct descendant of Budi the Driver. Calculations are forthcoming.

After some interesting techniques and amazingly enough, no maiming or deaths, Jennie and I were dropped off at the end of the street for our guest house. As we walked and tried to avoid what looked to be a crowd of toothless on-their-way-to-being-drunk perv's (or as I like to call them TOTWTBDP's), one of them yelled out something about seeing Bromo the following day. Jennie gave them a quick answer and we continued on our way. As we reached the front door of our guest house, one of the younger species rambled and struggled through a sentence.

Then awkward staring ensued.

First the TOTWTBDP and I stared at each other, then he stared at me, then Jennie and I stared at each other, then he stared at my wife's breasts, then, obviously thinking it was a fantastic idea because it truly was, I stared at my wife's breasts. Then the TOTWTBDP stared through me in a drunken haze. Then in almost perfect english he said, "I hab full room, you must leabe. If you need, you leabe your bag here and find other place to stay. Odda peoples book and I full now. You can't stay here. Solly Sir."

What I wanted my reply to be was "fucking rights dickmonkey, you are full because I currently occupy a room." Then I would've proceeded to flex my biceps or my calfs. I hear if you flex your calfs its the most scary to your opponent in what could be a physical altercation.

What I actually replied was, "Yeah I understand. It's okay. We'll just get our things and go." Then I sulked and pouted+. It was truly pathetic.

We gathered our things, packed our bags, hoisted them onto our shoulders, adjusted the straps and started off. I was pissed from the start. We checked guest house after guest house and every single room was full. Not 'some were unsatisfactory and some were full.' All were full. The 'inherited pissed off vein' emerged out of my forehead like a bulging garden hose and I didn't see a possible remedy this time. I breathed deeply and it helped, checked out my wife and that helped too but I was still over-the-top annoyed. It was nobody's fault an that's partly what made it so irritating to me. Finally, after trekking through hordes of creepers and full signs for what felt like a thousand years we found two available rooms. One was clean with a hot shower but ridiculously overpriced, the other was extremely cheap and its cleanliness was comparable with its price. It also had no attached bathroom, but rather a shared one. Not uncommon here and generally, not an issue either. This shared bathroom however, has no shower. Issue.

So we took the one with no shower.

My decision, because I'm a cheap ass and apparently I enjoy the smell of my own rancid B.O. So for a third time in 3 weeks I'm going to have the sickening scent of a 100 stray cats. Yes, 3 more came to join the party.

  • understand that Indonesians don't use TP they use a water hose system that feels like innappropriate touching but it's my story I can tell it how I want.

+TM, trademarked by Taylor Backman.

Posted by CRBackman 00:48 Archived in Indonesia Tagged backpacking

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I don't get it...can you not keep a room for a number of days or do you automatically lose it at a certain time the next day?

by ElanaB

They claim they had already had a booking of which they hadn't told us about. I think it's because they have some muslim holiday and we were paying less than what they charge for this particular holiday time. So they kicked us out to charge a higher rate for the holdiay weekend. This holiday has also rendered it impossible to exchange money. Any money.

by CRBackman

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