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.