Glimpses of Prambanan Temple were coming in splashes through the trees that lined what seems to be a park that surrounded it. The tall, pointed, scattered structures were making itself apparent through our taxi window. Next to me, he was already captivated.
It was our last hurrah for Jogjakarta and we miraculously squeezed this within our limited time and money. We found ourselves emptying the contents of our wallets the night before after realizing that we were running out of rupiah (from becoming millionaires on Day 1) and money changers were scarce especially since the next day was a public holiday. I was ready to let it go along with the stress that came with it. I set my mind on buying a batik dress on the street the next morning, maybe take a photo walk and eat some good food; but somehow, he was still on the Prambanan case. After going back multiple times to the tourist office and the hotel concierge, he finally announces that it will happen. I should’ve known I guess. He’s my rockstar, after all .
The view was spectacular, and there’s a kind of gentleness with it. With the well-manicured gardens that surrounded the rough, gray structures that remained after centuries of events, I wonder about the changes the temple went through and the types of stories that remain in its scattered temples.
I later found out that the whole compound originally contained 240 structures! Just, wow. It must have looked like a small town in itself and I wonder about the kinds of people that walked through these structures. For this day, it was filled with tour groups from China, Japan and France I think, all following local tour guides that spoke fluently in foreign tongues.
We found one English speaking guide up inside a small shrine with a cow statue inside – that, after squeezing through a small staircase crowded by local Tourism students. We arrived just in time as he was explaining that this creature is what is believed to transport gods wherever they needed to be. I let that imagery linger in my mind. I look at him and saw the look in his eyes. It felt familiar. That unexpected pause that inevitably happens when I travel, once I stumble upon something that immediately dissolves the noise and captures my breath for a short while.
His pause made me pause, and, I couldn’t be any more present. I was glad.
I take a last look around me, squinting to see the different peaks and looking back at the bigger temples we went through together. He tried to explain some of the gods of Hinduism as far as he knows while I tried to piece it together with my old high school lessons.
We looked back one more time from the park’s exit, having returned the sarong and all. The sight excited him again and took one more quick photo from my camera. “It could be a postcard,” he jokes. I think it could be much more.