*Full Indonesia Gallery Below*
Our last day in Yogyakarta, like the day before, started around 0330 to head out for the sunrise over the Borobudur complex. It had rained the day before, and the sky was clear, which made for a very different look to things. It was beautiful… a fire of orange and pink and purple, but in my opinion lacked some of the magic from the prior day when the jungle and distant volcanoes were draped in a gentle covering of mist and clouds. Some of the same stereotypes were there to experience the magic: a young white girl with her own genie pants and batik prints in addition to the issued sarong, swaying to some unheard rhythm as the sun rose, positioning herself right in front of the best photography area (her boyfriend, with matching genie pants and a headlamp…. had a conical braided pony tail that maintained a diameter of maybe 2-3 millimeters at the distal end). Nobody was posing provocatively on the stupas this morning though. It was very pretty, and we took a little more time exploring the carved reliefs on multiple levels before leaving the complex for the last time. It’s really incredible, and well maintained.
The train ride back to Jakarta was filled with far less adventure (or, terror, depending on your perspective). We triple checked our train and seats with uniformed personnel, and felt much more confident this time around as the train departed the station. We had “executive” level seats for the return trip, which meant reclining airline type seats and a couple of flat screen televisions playing Hollywood B-movies with Indonesian subtitles. The train was supposed to be air-conditioned… and compared to the muggy outdoor temperature, it was. From our coddled perspective, however, it was boiling lava hot on that train. Our sensitive disposition requires low humidity and temperatures preferably in the mid-seventies. It would appear that this is quite the unreasonable expectation in this part of the world. After a few hours of fitful napping, waking up drenched in enough sweat to make you question whether your tuberculin skin test may no longer be negative, the thought did cross my mind to complain. Maybe just gently complain. I’m pretty sure it at least briefly crossed all of our minds. Ashley was down to a tank top and had her pant legs hiked up, and had a glistening sheen of sweat as she was fanning herself. Meanwhile, two of the guys in front of us had heavy hooded jackets on. Say what??? I’m not kidding. Heavy. Hooded. Jackets. We’re looking at each other dumbfounded when, the lady directly in front of Martha (who was already wearing a heavy long-sleeved shirt and had her head wrapped and covered) puts on a down parka. Now, admittedly, it wasn’t a down parka you’d wear in, say, Boston in winter. But really?! I mean, thin or not, what is wrong with these people? Ok, well, it was most of the people on the train, so…. in that case…. what is wrong with us??? Maybe the copious air conditioning in Florida has turned us into weaklings.
Well, it was agreed by all that the first, cheaper train ride turned out to be a fortuitous mistake. The executive level still gave us plenty of discomforts to complain about, and the windows were fogged over, shatter resistant plexiglass covered in grime. The pictures of the countryside on the way there were through an open window with a cool breeze, and the view made the ride much more enjoyable, even if the seats were less comfortable. For a train ride in Indonesia, I recommend trying a couple levels of service (you may not have a choice anyway).
The executive train brought us to a closer (and nicer) train station in Jakarta, and we browsed around a bit in a local mall in the evening. For the last day we’re planning a relaxed pace, just a few small stops around Jakarta. Our return flight departs at 2200 from Jakarta… connect in Seoul…. fly to Los Angeles…. connect in Dallas…. and then, finally, hopefully, make it home to Jacksonville, Florida at 2330 on Christmas eve. It’s gonna be a long, tiring journey.
This has been quite the whirlwind tour in a couple weeks…. some places we’ve been, and a number of places we haven’t. It definitely hasn’t been a ‘relaxing’ trip, but it’s been fun, it’s been exciting, and it’s been memorable. Like many of the places we’ve visited, the short time we’ve been there has left us wanting more and planning future visits. However, to some extent it feels like we’ve sampled most of the high points of this region, and maybe the next trip(s) will start in other parts of the world. Thanks for reading! Sadly, it may be a while until our next updates… hopefully not too long.