Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Borobudur, Obama's Mom, and Me
Like Obama's then-young Mom, Stanley Ann Dunham, I scaled Indonesia's stunning 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument, Borobudur..
UNESCO-protected and gargantuan, Borobodur is in Central Java, an hour's drive from the estwhile Indonesian capital of Yogyakarta (pronounced Jo-jo-karta).
Its 9 levels contain 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues! It's huge: the base is 403 feet by 403 feet, and it towers 115 feet into the air. How it became abandoned and forgotten for 800 years is beyond me... It was finally unearthed in 1835 and cleaned up by 1873. My pilgrimmage there was in 1997, and I was so jet-lagged that I remained quite calm about a swarm of bees on the monument's south side... I just avoided that section; as I was leaving the monument, an army squadron with bee nets was charging up the staircase..
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