Thursday, January 23, 2014

On Indonesia, again

Having lived in Kenya for 5 years and now having been around Indonesia for several weeks some comparisons are inevitable.

See, both countries lie on Equator.

Indonesia has over-1000 year old dramatic temples still standing today and testifying to their cultural and spiritual development. Multiple religions, cultures, kingdoms left their lasting imprint and create very rich background for whatever is happening in Indonesia now. Its impossible to move around and not bump into these artifacts of old past.

Kenya, which claims to be the cradle of mankind, has not produced any culture, no literature, no history. Nothing. Its not even a black hole which swallowed some of Kenya's past. There has not been anything. It's Tabula Rasa.

This is actually interesting. Two countries with practically the same environment produce such dramatically different results over last millennium. Why?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On Indonesian temples

Well, we have almost the whole set there: Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists. Only Jews are missing.

The biggest of them all is Borobudur. Beautiful, though very, very crowded. I walked around on all 10 levels of Boddhisatva, so I should be liberated from samsara. Well, it's Mahayana ;-)

Then there is Prambanan, which is described as one of biggest Hindu temples in SE Asia. Well, whoever said this - for sure did not visit Angkor Wat. I would not say Prambanan was disappointing, but it surely did not live up to all the hype, as Hindu sacred sites rarely do it for me. In Malaysia I learned to not expect too much so I hardly ever get disappointed.

And then there is, of course, Balinese Hinduism with their characteristic folklore. Very interesting, though I still do not get Hinduism. Yet the sheer volume of the temples on Bali is impressive. Makes this a very nice place to visit, as you speed on the moped passing all the rice fields and gazillion temples there...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On Krakatau

Why? I think this is pretty obvious - the biggest explosion on Earth in recorded history.

The four of us (with Dedy) spend a very cold and uncomfortable night there, also had what might have been the best grilled fish I have ever had, prepared by our guide.

Here you can see lava outflows from 2013

And here the fumes still rising from the recent flows:

Now, different sources give different info, but assuming that the volcano grows up to 6m a year then its not inconceivable that during our night there it grew over 1cm. And - as Dedy put it - the whole idea of sleeping on an island which is younger than 90 years is a bit... unsettling.

Monday, January 20, 2014

On Singapore

Escalators, escalators everywhere...

And also - temple with Buddha's tooth:

Just a few more city sights are here.