Christmas Day in Central Java

I headed down to Jogjakarta this afternoon on Air Asia. When we touched down, the pilot braked every hard and used the reverse thrusters for most of the landing. I thought he was just trying to stop before the taxiway to the terminal to save turning around at the end of the runway – but when we stopped I saw that we were already at the end of the runaway.

The short runway reminded me about the Garuda B737 that ran off the end of the runway and crashed in March. There didn't seem to be much margin for error in Jogjakarta. As I was waiting for my bag in the tiny baggage hall in the terminal building, out of curiosity I looked up on my BlackBerry what the runway length at Jogjakarta was. I saw it was 1,850 metres. That's only 150 metres longer than the minimum runway length for an A320 (which is what I was flying on).

After collecting my bag and a nice cappuccino at the Oh La La cafe outside the terminal building, I headed with friends to Prambanan – about 10-15 minutes up the road towards Solo.

On the way I spotted these cyclists riding along the road. I have never seen a bike like the one at the back (except in a circus). I wondered whether the rider had constructed it for the monsoon season floods that are common in Indonesia, or whether he was was just getting prepared for global warming when seas levels will rise all around the world. Technical quality of photo is not very good as it was shot against the sun on auto focus from a moving car (although the 2000th of a second shutter speed kept it reasonably sharp - I was using a very fast 50mm prime lens).

Prambanan is a 9th century Hindu temple complex – the largest in Central Java – and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the temples were damaged in the 2006 earthquake, so parts of the complex are off limits to visitors at present whilst reconstruction work is undertaken.

It was starting to get dark when we arrived, and we felt a few drops of rain as we walked towards the main temples, but the rain held off long enough to get a few shots away in the fading light.

The cloudy sky produced quite a nice sunset behind the silhouettes of the temples.

Beautiful dawn at Borobudur

Descent to KLIA in pictures