Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bandying About Borobudur


My alarm this morning was set at top volume for 4am… but Ileana was the one who turned it off, and the extent of my exertion at 4am was to get up and sensibly turn on the very bright ceiling light so we wouldn't fall asleep (and I'm not sure it worked perfectly either).

One of the men from the hotel guided us to the temple (it's about two minutes away on foot). We climbed up to the top using the flashlights they gave us… all the way to the tip tip top, which we reached at about 4:30am…

And then spent quite some time looking for Ileana… who had been sitting quietly on a stone waiting for the camera… and then went off looking for Mom, thus prompting a sort of wild goose chase as we tried to locate her in time for the sun rise.

She missed the picture she wanted to take, unfortunately, so we watched the sun casting rays of light between the two mountains and/or volcanos to the East. They erupted in 2006, spraying at least a centimeter of ash over Borobudur and PemabaranXXX. Everything's been mostly restored— except for the blocks that the Dutch decided to take from Borobudur and give out to those who worked on extricating the Buddhist temple from the jungle.

At least… I think it was the Dutch. One of them proposed the brilliant idea of taking the temple apart (and it's a big temple) piece by piece and donating parts of it to museums around the world. Someone else vetoed it… which is perhaps a still-more brilliant idea.

So we watched the sunrise, looked around a bit more… lost a few more people— first Mom, then Dad and Ioan… we found Dad and Ioan, but couldn't locate Ileana… Ileana sneezed and so we almost found her… and then we were walking around the center stuppah trying to tell Mom that we'd found Ileana… and not finding her, because Mom told us that we were going to meet at the base of the temple…

So we found each other… to make a long story short, and began walking clockwise around the temple, trying to find the animal stories. Young women would smile at us and ask for photos… and it's nice to pose with someone— they're so happy when they do get a photo… and it only takes a few minutes and a nice, wide smile. (And I have to admit I encourage it all by smiling non-shyly at all the girls who pass by us… because you can tell they want to ask but don't want to bother you).

We passed by a group that tried to take a picture of Ileana as she was walking past them— "YES!" said the girl who got the picture. I stopped and smiled— ten cellphones were whipped out, and a nice old woman grabbed me by the waist with both hands to get in the picture (personal boundaries disappear when picture-taking with women— and it's NICE. You share a bond with these people that you wouldn't otherwise).

I smiled and took hold of her arms to semi-embrace her— fangirl squeals from the girls. When all the pictures were taken, the woman and I smiled at each other and said 'Thank you.'

The day's a bit brighter for all of us.

Note: Yes, this post is a bit longer than normal. But cutting things out would cut out historical information or sentimental infromation, and frankly I'm going to make an exception today to the 490-510 word rule.

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