844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Prambanan (Java, Indonesia)

May 24th, 2009 – Today, I visited the temples at Prambanan (18 km east of Yogyakarta). There you will find the best remaining examples of Java’s period of Hindu cultural development. It is an interesting place but the quintessential tourist trap. I almost turned around before entering. To get to the ticket office you have to negotiate your way through a small souvenir shop colony.

On top of that it was a holiday so there were busloads of Indonesian tourists milling about. As I approached the largest of the temples (Candi Shiva Mahadeva) I was not in a pleasant mood. I was kicking myself for not getting there at 6 am when it opened. Luckily, Mr. Sourpuss did not hang around for long. Less than a minute after entering the temple area I was approached by a band of young students (ages 10-14) with an implacable desire to practice English. They quickly fired a barrage of questions my way that covered just about all aspects of a polite conversation.


Mister, do you love your camera? (I was cleaning the lens). Mister, what about Indonesia do you like? The weather? The people? The food? Mister, how old are you? Mister, are you married? Mister, why aren’t you married? Mister, what are your hobbies? Mister, what is your job? Mister, how long are you in Indonesia? I felt a little like I just began the lightning round in a game show. I was told they practice English every day from 7 am to 10 am. They do not screw around as they even speak English to each other. Although in the beginning there was quite a large group my entourage dwindled down to seven when I began walking about. Mister, turn left here. Mister, how tall are you? Mister, why do you take so many pictures? Mister, do you want to see Candi Sewu? Mister, it is this way.

They followed me around for about an hour and a half as I explored the area and snapped some photos. We had a nice discussion about the proper context and appropriate usage of 'kiss my ass'. I did not want to encourage them but they were already throwing it around I so I gave them a short lesson and instructed them to only use it among close friends. I would have been a hell of a schoolmaster.

One of the boys asked me if sex is free in America. That one threw me for a minute until I realized he wanted to know if people had sex before marriage. I told him we f**k like rabbits. Of course not, but I did say we do engage in premarital relations on a regular basis. He wanted to know where I stood on the issue. One quick glance at my expression gave him his answer. Had he had a better grasp of English and the nuances of sarcasm I would had replied, “Well, I’m 34-years-old and I’m not married. What do you think?”

And, of course, the subject of Obama came up. They’re big fans. Some of the reasons given for their admiration included intelligent, kind, dark, lived in Jarkarta, and my personal favorite, he supports transgenders. I could not make this shit up. I thought maybe the kid was confusing his words but he then explained what transgender means and I realized he meant exactly what he said. So imagine a young adolescent Indonesian male telling me he likes Barack Obama due to his stance on transgender individuals. I have a feeling my little friend may be in the midst of an exploration of his sexuality but I was not going to go there. I’m sure he’ll work it all out.











In the afternoon I drove up to Kaliurang, a village nestled on the southern end of Mt. Merapi . Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia and it can be an ornery prick. There have been numerous eruptions throughout the years and scientists closely monitor the status of the volcano. I stopped by Vogels Hostel to see if the owner, Christian Awuy , was around. Christian is a well respected fellow in Java and an expert on Merapi. I was lucky enough to find him there and we had a chat for a good hour while I ate lunch. He is a fascinating fellow and has been guiding people on the mountain since 1978. Unfortunately, you cannot approach the summit from the Kaliurang side as it is currently closed to tourists. You can reach the top from Selo, a village on the other side. As much as I would love to have Christian as a guide I really want to reach the summit.

2 comments:

  1. i was the man on the photos sir haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fantastic! Good to hear from you. Is this Bryan Fadhil? The gentleman with the hat?

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim