Borobodur, Round Two

Even though I knew it was not very smart to give my knee another workout on the same day, a couple hours of ice convinced me that I could handle it. I went out again in the late afternoon to see how tourists experience the temple (is it really a temple, or was it designed as a place of pilgrimage and instruction about the bodhisattva path, or is it now only a monument?) The scene is not serene. Noisy kids, pushy groups, trash here and there, and on the way out a considerable gamut of sellers hawking junky souvenirs. The exit route goes through a maze of shops of all types, and it is mindboggling for me to imagine a life spent here in these stifling hot passages (even when it’s raining).


By the time I exited the grounds, rain was coming down hard and shelter was needed, so I ended up at coffee place outside Manohara hotel grounds. I walked in from the snarl of motorscooters/cycles on the main road to the sounds of Crosby, Stills and Nash. A beautiful woman who is the owner of the cafe was listening to CSN’s first album, and must have known I was coming so I could drop my bag, sit down, and then be hit between the eyes with the refrain from “Crystal Ships” that goes, “We have all been here before…”. Stills’ silky guitar solos moved me again for about the thousandth time. (And what Buffalo Springfield song featuring a Stephen Stills solo was it I played in the Little River, Kansas restaurant jukebox as an act of defiance (I thought) and no one even looked up?) The coffee house music then transitioned to Ella Fitzgerald singing the blues, w/ Hammond organ backup. While eating my fried rice and veggies dinner, I listened to her dueling it out with the call to prayer from a mosque next door. Jazz over religion every time!

Went out in the evening around 8 to linger in the shadows from a distance and watch a poorly performed Javanese dance in the restaurant area for a few minutes. Overhead, a waning full moon was drifting in and out of the clouds. Priests at the temple in the late 8th century would have seen it in exactly the same position as I did.



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