For the most part, my trip develops as I go along and I am never quite sure which places I will visit. There are however, a few places that I know for sure I will see. Borobudur was one of them. I had wanted to see it for many years and as my trip unfolded, I arranged to go there for my birthday.
I was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta and nearly missed my plane from Yangon to KL. Just as I was getting ready for bed the night before my flight to Yogyakarta, a passing comment made me realise that I would have gone to the wrong airport. At check in I was told that I could only take one piece of hand luggage into the plane, so I poured the contents of my small handbag into my backpack, hastily added the empty bag in my suitcase and headed past customs ready to have some breakfast at last. Only I realised that I’d mistakenly left my wallet with all my cash and credit cards in the bag which was now in an unlocked part of my suitcase. I was not sure how I would overcome the fact that I needed cash to pay for my visa upon arrival but it was a very small airport and with some help, I got my suitcase and then paid for the visa. The ground staff that was helping me said “oh you must not put your wallet in your suitcase, specially unlocked…” gee, thanks…I was flying with a low cost airline where you have to pay for anything you consume and other than a cup of tea the flight attendant gave me out of pity, no food or drink passed my lips until I landed at 4pm. By which time I was cranky, in a bad mood and very hungry. Not very auspicious.
I went to the Borobudur temple 3 times very early each of the mornings I was there. It was everything I had expected and particularly the first visit on my birthday was filled with awe and joy. Dragonflies, grasshoppers and butterflies filled the air and added a touch of mystery to this very special place. And it is really special, the lower levels are filled with stone carving depicting the life of Buddha to an amazing detail, the higher levels have enormous stupas and offer a magnificent view.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the amazing view of the temple from the hotel restaurant. After I finished dinner and asked for my bill, I was astonished to find the entire dancing ensemble that had been performing during dinner, bring me a birthday cake and sing me Happy Birthday. I was very touched. That was not all. A beautiful bunch of flowers arrived from my dear friend Elena. Ordered in Barcelona, Spain, delivered in Java, Indonesia and flown with me back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia…I feel I should get those flowers their own passport!
I had the most amazing birthday.