Prambanan and the Ramayana ballet

Having seen Borobudur at sunrise, it seemed fitting that we should visit Prambanan, Yogyakarta’s other great temple complex, for sunset. Of course, we didn’t exactly plan it that way, but it was one of those coincidences in life which I find disproportionately satisfying, and satisfaction was definitely needed that afternoon. The site’s entry fee was hefty, according to the signs we only had about 40 minutes until closing, and the whole site was swarming with loud schoolchildren and selfie-snapping tourists, so of course I was determined to hate everything about it.

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Yogyakarta

If I were to attempt to characterize Yogyakarta into a short expression, lively organized chaos would probably be the words I’d choose. It didn’t feature on my (lengthy) list of places I want to visit – in fact I don’t think I’d even heard of it until I was invited to speak at a conference there (about which I’ve written more on my other blog) – but that all just goes to show how much I know, because it really was fantastic.

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Memorable Memorial weekend

(Interrupting the coverage of our holiday with a post about the long weekend.) Memorial Day is one of the few holiday weekends which coincides with a bank holiday back in the U.K., and it always feels rather nice to be doing long weekendy things at the same time. Unlike back in the U.K., when our bank holidays usually used to involve heading out of town to visit friends or relations, go hiking, or lengthen a trip to somewhere in Europe, here we often tend to use them as an excuse to veg out at home. Not so this time, however, when each day involved something fun with different sets of friends, although we did still manage a decently lazy morning on Monday!
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Borobudur

Visiting the historic Buddhist temple of Borobudur was our first stop in Indonesia, which turned out to be a good thing for all kinds of reasons. Indonesia is, of course, quite different to Singapore, and it was very nice to be met at the airport by a driver booked through our hotel. Navigating the Yogyakarta traffic was a fairly eye-opening experience (although it’s actually quite tame compared with some other places), and retreating to a fancy resort hotel softened the culture shock still further.

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Singapore

I’m not really sure why I was so keen to visit Singapore. Family history, the allure of Asia, the Raffles Hotel’s famous Singapore Sling, these all had something to do with it, but even I think twice about travelling half way around the world just to try a cocktail.

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Easter etc.

So, Easter happened. As usual, we had a busy schedule of choir commitments, to which I added an extra evening by volunteering to masquerade as a chorister on Maundy Thursday. We also invited some friends around for Easter lunch after the two morning services, which meant the usual mad shopping-cleaning-cooking rush on top of everything else – as usual I complained about it all, but of course it was a lot of fun on the day. Continue reading