Arriving at Semarang we were greeted by a golden far Eastern dawn and disembarked to the sound of first a modern Jazz quintet and then a group of traditional musicians and dancers. They were wanting to make an impression.
On the 18th day of our trip I’d found myself in the Jacuzzi on the top deck having just consumed a very nice wheat beer. It was 30 degrees but a cool breeze was making it rather pleasant as we crossed the warm waters of the Java Sea under blue skies (just two tiny white clouds to add to the panorama). I was wondering if some of you were getting sick of receiving these missives. But I figured that all those that were simply wouldn’t open them.
Only another 53 days to go!!
Our next stop is Java – Semarang and the Buddhist Temple of Borobudur! Can’t wait!! I love temples, cathedrals, mosques and other religious architecture. They remind me of the folly of human beings.
We travelled by coach across the lush tropical plains with their great flat paddy fields under the shadow of active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire! It was exciting stuff. Our coach was hurtling along with a police escort blasting a way through the traffic. That’s the way to travel.
Borobudor was impressive – a great huge edifice that reminded me of Ankor Wat – though different. Ten levels of steep steps, hundreds of cones containing Buddhas and a central Stupa. All those Buddhas trapped in their stone cages like flies in a glass – staring out for hundreds of years. What changes they must have seen – or not – most of the time they were covered in ash. But they’ve patiently waited to be dug out. Some have been stolen from their nooks but a lot remain. The temple is remarkably restored. The whole place once stood in the middle of a lake and was badly damaged and covered in ash from volcanic explosions!
I’m glad they dug it up! It was very impressive – certainly one of the many wonderful things in the world to marvel at. The amount of energy and creativity that mankind indulges in when engaged in superstitious beliefs or the mysteries of the universe. It seems to bring out the best in us. All about power though really. There was a lot of power here!
The whole world has now become a tourist trap where every natural wonder, animal and plant, piece of human history, creativity or endeavour, is calculated for profit and served up on a smorgasbord for consumption.
Then it was lunch – a delicious spread of Javanese cooking to the sound of gamelan accompanied by dancing girls.
The Javanese people were so warm and friendly. They smiled and waved, wanted their photos taken with us and the kids wanted to talk with us in English. Quite a delight.
There was a hunger to sell us things. They were eager for the dollar and I detected a look of desperation. These were poor people.
One wonders what impact us rich Westerners are having. The whole world is desperate to receive us. But at least, on a positive note, it encourages them to do up their sites and look after the wildlife. It isn’t all bad.