Thursday, 3 June 2010
CULTURED IN JAVA
Indonesia is currently an Islamic country, but this was clearly not always the case. The city of Yogyakarta in central Java is probably the premier tourist destination of the Island, mainly due to the ancient cultural relics in the area. The largest Buddhist temple in the world (8th century) stands in amazingly good condition at Borobudur, about 50 km from Yogyakarta. What adds to the attraction of this region is the number of impressive volcanoes all around, including the active smoking Merapi which towers close to the city. We also stopped over to take a look at the ancient Hindu temples at Prambanan (Leana went to the temples on her own as there is a fairly stiff entry fee for foreigners at these sights, and besides I could feel a bout of "Temple-Fatique" coming on - reminiscent of Egypt!). Otherwise Leana and I seem to be getting back into our routine. We've become re-acclimatised to the tropical conditions, and Leana's arm seems to be more-or-less OK. As I've mentioned before, the traffic on Java Island is very hectic, and I won't be at all sorry to leave that lot behind. The night before last, after a rather long day on the road, we arrived at the outskirts of the capital of East Java (Surabaya)at dusk. Finding our way to the "cheap-room" area in the city centre took all our patience and a lot of luck. We had a rest day in Surabaya yesterday, but last night our nerves were rattled again by a massive explosion close by (a gas storage warehouse just down the road blew up). Now we're literally waiting for our ship to come in - this afternoon we board a ferry, and hopefully we'll arrive at Banjarmasin (Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo) some time tomorrow. Thanks to Leana for the ferry ticket. Distances cycled since my last report from Pangandaran have been:- Cilacap 93 km; Kebumen 92 km; Borobudur 87 km; Prambanan 71 km; Solo 51 km; Caruban 121 km; and Surabaya 159 km. Total distance cycled since leaving Cape Town on this journey has been 58 009 km.