I’ve been in Indonesia the past two weeks for work. I wasn’t going to write anything about it because I’ve resented it. I’m not sure what kind of jaded, callous homebody I’ve turned into that I get an expenses-paid trip to Southeast Asia and am annoyed about it, but there you have it. Work is work, my friends, and there is some summer living to be done at home. (Nightly, I interrogate Ben on the phone: “Are the tomatoes ready? You’re eating one right now. AREN’T YOU?! I knew it. You’re eating tomatoes. I knew I would miss them.” Missed-tomato paranoia of Hitchcockian proportions, I’m telling you.)
Anyway, last Saturday I decided to get over myself and go find something beautiful.
Borobudor is an immense, 9th century Buddhist temple that was lost to the world for a long time. Abandoned by pilgrims, covered in volcanic ash from nearby Mount Merapi, and victim to history’s bizarre colonial fixation on ancient Egypt over ancient anything else, the jungle slowly took over until the mid-1800s, when one man singlehandedly cleared it and tried to restore it. There’s no written record of who built it—the largest Buddhist structure in the world—or why.
A few kilometers away is Prambanan, a Hindu temple complex of the same era. Totally different, but similarly lost to history and rediscovered. Covered in the most remarkable bas relief depicting the entire ramayana.
See you back at the homestead.