Java, Indonesia

Where is the road calling you?

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Java, Indonesia

With Temperatures Dropping Our Nipples Were Popping!

Admiration from August 2011

Never had I associated the word “cold” with any island in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia where the climate seemed capable of stripping every last ounce of water weight from my body.  However, we had found one of the few places capable of forcing me to utilize every article of clothing I could stuff in my backpack.  We woke in our simple room at a guesthouse in the town of Probolinggo on Java at one thirty in the morning, far too early for even the most Too Early Mt Bromo, Indonesiaeager of roosters to begin waking the small villages on the outskirts of town.  Knowing full well the near freezing temperatures awaiting at the viewpoint of famous Mount Bromo, I emptied the clothes from my backpack and layered to my best ability, using every available pair of shorts and even boxers to prevent me from shivering once we arrived.

It’s no secret to friends and family that quite possibly my least favorite sensation, next to a broken bone, is to feel cold.  Lacking sufficient room to carry clothing suitable for both warm and cold climates meant on the rare occasion we would brave the frigid air of higher elevation before sunrise, I was simply at the mercy Mother Nature.  Reluctantly I opened the door of our SUV providing transportation to the base of the viewpoint summit, immediately beginning our ascent in a desperate attempt to create enough body heat to deter the goose bumps lining my skin and lethally pointed nipples seemingly capable of transforming into concealed miniature Samurai swords.  The scenery unfolding in front of us however quickly distracted my attention.Mount Bromo, Indonesia

The sky began to lighten in the distance as the sun began to display Mount Bromo in all its glory.  We stood in awe at the spectacular sight with towering mountains in the background allowing the perfect photographic setting.  Orange and red hues lined the horizon, the sun providing further relief from the blustery morning air.  I basked in the heat raining over me, soaking in not only my enhanced comfort but the unique experience of gazing out at the steam rising from an active volcano.  I was immediately reminded of how fortunate I was to be exploring foreign land thousands of miles from home, yet we weren’t yet finished with our time on Java.

Further to the west on the well-known island lied the ruins of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.  Having already been in the presence of some of the most famous Buddhist monuments known to man, I began to wonder whatVW to Borobudur Java, Indonesia might be in store for us on yet another early morning.  More often than not during our travels we woke well after the locals hustling to begin their daily routines in the wee hours of the day.  Only the most prestigious of attractions could inspire us to sacrifice our highly coveted, precious sleep, and Borobudur was no exception.

As we waited in the darkness on the sidewalk just outside of our guesthouse, a flash of light captured my attention.  A retro VW bus stolen directly from the seventies slowed to a stop in front of us as a slight grin began to form on our faces.  I half expected a dreadlocked hippie or Ashton Kutcher from “That 70’s Show” to jump out of the driver’s side and slide open the passenger door to allow our entry.  Of course there was no spliff wielding hippie to greet us, but our smirks of slight entertainment remained as we climbed into the simple bench seats.

Borobudur shot Java, IndonesiaA short ride led us to the grounds of Borobudur, hidden in the darkness.  Slowly the tops of the numerous bells housing statues of Buddha’s face came into view as the sun began peeking in the distance.  The grand stature of the monument began to unveil itself, more impressive than either of us had anticipated.  We had already explored Angkor Wat and numerous other highlights of Buddhist architecture, but the massive presence of this impressive temple secured a firm hold on the list of some of our favorite sights.

Eventually we navigated the stairs of the temple down to the grounds, peering up one last time at the magnificence of Borobudur.  Awaiting our arrival was a group of local children, asking for money and attempting to sell post cards as a means of assisting their families’ financial needs.  Their innocent faces and persistent sales pitches could only be responded to with smiles and looks of adoration, attempting to appreciate the predicament they were faced with on a daily basis.  I dare to admit, having seen some of the most adorable kids in the world by that point we nearly found ourselves with a slight case of baby fever…nearly that is.

Borobudur at sunrise Java, IndonesiaMy eyes traced down my legs, reminding me of the locally made batik fabric wrapped around my waist to cover my knees out of respect while exploring the holy temple.  I chuckled to myself, wondering if I’d ever find myself willing to wear a garment resembling a dress ever again in my life.  I disrobed the large sheet from my waist and returned it to its rightful owner, thanking the amused woman for assisting me in my closest cross dressing endeavor to date.  Of course I knew…she was enjoying a similar humorous thought as I retreated to our VW bus.


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