Super Sokka means “excellent tile”. The stack of tiles, above, are roof tiles, made by hand, in a village Central Java. We met the woman who was making the tiles – she presses out the mix of mud and clay with this medieval looking manual press – and she said that this was her job and that she pressed these out all day long, all year long.
And she seemed happy. I don’t know if something that routine could keep me happy. I also don’t know if something that routine actually makes her happy, or if she was just smiling because a couple of expats found what she does so interesting.
There is a story going on here, and it extends around the entire temple at Borobudur. What is most fascinating is that the reliefs shown above are incredibly well rendered and seem to include characters from global cultures. There are Europeans, Classical Greeks, Chinese, African, and Indonesian characters, all carved into rocks that are well over one thousand years old. They all reflect the story of Buddha, his birth, life, and transcendence.
What you see above is the Prambanan Temple…or temples, to be more accurate. The Prambanan and Borobudur Temple complexes are both set up as mandalas, which can be seen from above. But what is so impressive is seeing how, from the right angles, the main temple is enhanced with each of the smaller temples in front of it. The line up perfectly.
I took this shot while driving back to our villa from Borobudur temple. We stopped to take some photos in a town of tile-makers. After wandering through one of the shops, I noticed these kids. They were trying to not be noticed, but were still following me around.
I asked them whether I could take their photo. One little guy wanted nothing to do with the photos. These three were incredibly agreeable. I got some brilliant shots of them, which I might share with you over the next week or so.
We hired a guide to take us up the Borobudur temple. He give us some interesting insights, along with some local folklore and some personal interpretations. The reason I titled this post “almost enlightened” is because of some information he shared when we got to the top of the temple.
I asked, “Why are these stupas (bell structures that house statues of Buddha) fitted with blocks that create a diamond shape, when the stupas on the last level, the top level, make square shapes?”
“The architect wanted to show how a person may be enlightened, but still not be entirely stable. The diamond shape can be tipped on its side, whereas the square is stable. Nothing can move it on its side, nothing can upend it,” was his reply.
Because we are still human, even though we may achieve enlightenment, we may still be upended, knocked over. I think there’s a good lesson in that.
This is a shot of the Prambanan Temple complex near Yogyakarta. It is part of my (adopted) country, but being both Hindu and over 1000 years old, it is foreign to me.
My family and I were away for four days this week. Our school gives us a week off in conjunction with the Indonesian observance of Idul Adha, a day of significance for Muslims. We chose to head to another part of the island of Java, to Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is in Central Java and it’s famous for its batik, its nearness to Mt. Merapi (the volcano that blows its top every couple of years), and two important historical and religious sites.
Borobudur and Prambanan, Buddhist and Hindu temples, respectively, are both located very nearby the city of Yogyakarta. We stayed in a villa in the shadow of Mt. Sumbing, another volcano, and traveled between the two temple sites before returning home. The villa is decidedly rustic and offered beautiful vistas of surrounding rice fields and farms, as shown above, and is surrounded by masjids (mosques) that open the day with prayer at 4:00 am. There is nothing like waking up to someone praying/singing in Arabic before the sun even rises.
On Tuesday, our last day at the villa, I woke up with the call to prayer and snapped some photos as the sun came up. The light was great and the proximity to Mt. Sumbing meant that the air was actually cool. A beautiful experience, to say the least.
One of the dangers of writing your own signs is that you might think that you’ve written something one way, while someone else may read it differently. When I placed the words in Google Translate, exactly as they are phrased here – anjing di larang be rak di sini - it came back with, ‘Shelves prohibited here’, with the message, ‘Did you mean Anjing dilarang berak di sini? This means that ‘dogs are prohibited from pooping here.’ That’s a pretty big difference. One way, extra storage is outlawed. The other way? No pooping.
I’m pretty sure that the writer of this sign is trying to say that he doesn’t want dogs to poop down this alley, but maybe he has a thing against shelving.
Captured at KLCC. They show this “Bellagio” style light and music show every night. The kids go crazy and try to get wet without getting wet. It’s very fun to watch.
That is what the Pavilion Mall in KL was proclaiming. We were looking for the Havaianas (Brazilian sandals) shop, so we didn’t go in to look at the art, but they wanted us to know it was ART TIME.
Okay. We get it.
I looked up as I walked out of the hall below the Petronas Towers. I saw this, above. A lighting version of a lotus flower, perhaps, but it was fun to shoot.
What do you think? Would this look nice in your living room?
As seen in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. After a long day of educational training and a train ride and then a wait in the airport before my plane took off, this restaurant served as a source of amusement and innuendo.
Just be careful how you read this post…
Maybe it’s not the most traditional silhouette, but I snapped this within minutes of the lights of the Petronas Towers, in Kuala Lumpur, going on. The evening sky served as the perfect background to the ever darkening towers.
What do you think? Does it count as a silhouette?
This photo is brought to you by the Kuala Lumpur International Airport…or their ceiling installations anyway. These giant pinwheels light the hallways of the International Flights in the main terminal.
The Vespa is alive and well around here in Jakarta. This one? Not so much.
Today, I took the old walking route home…old, as in the one I used to walk. I met some wonderful people on the route today, and this guy was joking with me, inviting me to “bole foto” of the food he was selling. I asked him if I could take his photo. The photo above was his answer.
I don’t know what to say about this. How about, “Take that, Gangnam Style!” No?
…too much? I don’t think so, but two years ago no one would have found my hotel closet looking like this.
…from KL again. I love this city. There are some weirdnesses, and I’ve really never travelled away from the downtown core, but where I’ve been has been pretty sweet.
So, here’s the Petronas Towers once again.
This week’s photo challenge is BIG. I am in Kuala Lumpur at the moment and found this very big James Bond overlooking a major traffic route. I guess they really like James Bond around here.
Not much time to post tonight, but I wanted to post this photo of motorcycles taking off (in motion) away from me yesterday morning. Can’t wait to buy my own.
Our move to Jakarta from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was in large part due to a desire to show my children the world. There are moments, however, when I think that I was crazy to take my daughter (above) from the relative ease and comfort of North America and transplant her in a city like Jakarta.
I attended a formal dinner hosted by the Australian Embassy last night and was asked by some of the people at my table if I had lived in any other Asian cities before. When I answered, “No”, their reply was one of shock. When I asked why they were so shocked, they told me that if moving to an Asian city is like learning to ride a bike, then Singapore is the easy bike with training wheels, and Jakarta is like trying to learn to ride a bike by starting with a unicycle.
I guess I like a challenge, and I want that for my daughter. I want her to grow up knowing what the world is like, that there are challenges. What’s important is that we meet those challenges; sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will triumph, but we will never avoid.
I hope I made the right move.
Well, this little pigguccino is just for you.
This little coffee shop nearby, the Antipodean, is a wondrous little place where breakfast is served all day and the baristas are happy to show off their artistic talents for you every time you order a cappuccino.
I love the house numbers in the Kemang area of Jakarta Selatan (South). I haven’t been around enough of the rest of this city to say how they number houses there, but around here house numbers are often painted on in what look like numbers and letters from a retro cartoon show. It’s like the artists from “Jonny Quest” or “Speed Racer” were commissioned to paint street and house markers.