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Borobadur Buddha

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Moslem high school girls

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Musta'in at Borobadur

BOROBADUR TEMPLE, JAVA  ..   My becak (bicycle taxi) driver helped me make my bus connection to Borobadur.  At the bus depot I got another becak to the Lotus Guest House by the entrance to the temple.  It wasn't much -- but it cost $5.00 -- and I would never ever recommend it!

Borobadur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, was used in the same sentence as Bagan and Angkor Wat.  The temple was the size of a city block.  Yes, that was huge, but is wasn't Bagan or Angkor.  I wanted to get to Borobadur temple before sunrise.  I was there in plenty of time -- in line waiting to get in.  The sun came up and I was still in line. 

The shape of the stupa was symbolic.  The broad base represented humanity who sought perfection in Nirvana at the top of the stupa.  Well, except for hoards of tourists, it looked like Nirvana.  A morning mist covered the surroundings until 7:30.  Very mystical!

A student, Musta'in, sat with me at the top in what became a very comical situation.  Indonesians liked to be photographed with foreigners.   When one brave soul broke the ice, photo after photo followed.  Sometimes with one or two people, sometimes with a large group, and sometimes extreme close-ups!   I had my picture taken at least 43 times.

Musta'in invited me home.  We rode bicycles on to his grandparents' village.  It was a few miles off the main road where no foreigner had ever gone before.  The ride was simply spectacular!  Mountains, palm trees, rice paddies.  We stopped along the rice for a photo opportunity.  Musta'in asked if villages in America were similar.  He couldn't imagine it too cold for coconut palm trees, papaya, and rice.  His mother helped write down the recipe for Javanese Cassava Leaves.  I'd have to try something new in the kitchen and remember the highlight of my time in Java.          

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.