Jakarta: Taman Mini

On what proved to be a nice dry day, as a family we headed to a recreational park known as Taman Mini. We were 14 people deep and brought two cars along. We made our way to Taman Mini which was about a 45 minute drive with traffic. When we arrived there were displays of different styled building from the various providences of Indonesia. The park is nothing like where I’ve been before, because you pay a one time fee which came out to be $16 for our two fully loaded cars and that covered “parking” and admission fee. When you first enter with the car you see a structure that you’re interested in, park on the side of the main road, and get out. It’s more of a drive by sight seeing concept. The structures represented houses that of that particular Indonesian region. Many of them were traditional village style homes were made out large amounts of wood with unique carvings ingrained on the foundation. On the inside of these buildings are the traditional clothing that the people of these regions wear. A similar theme that I was able to pick up from region to region is that gold was integrated in one form or another. Especially for higher ranking families and officials in the village. Another strong component of their clothing was the design of the fabric that was being utilized. Many embarked a “batik” style fabric where others remained a solid color of either red or black. One providence, the people of Papua dress in feathers, paint, and sticks as their outfit. This was an embarking learning experience and it goes to show that Indonesia has a deep sense of tradition within their roots and when going from one place to another within the country; customs, languages, behavior may change drastically.

After Taman Mini, we made our way to “Kota Tua” (Old Town) Jakarta. The drive that part of town was probably to roughest ride we’ve been on to date. Not because the roads themselves were rough, it was solely because of the intense traffic that was going on that day. Saturday isn’t a good day to travel if you are using a car in Jakarta or anywhere in Indonesia. I would recommend a motorbike if at all possible. A 45 minute drive without traffic, probably to a little over 2 hours after an already long day at TMI. When we finally got to the old town there were buildings that still dated back to the 1940s. Back when Indonesia was still under Dutch rule. The post office was still in immaculate shape as well as the old city hall. In front of all these building were a crowd of people just sitting on the ground and hanging out for the night. It’s a spot where families, young people, and artists alike come together to enjoy a Saturday night out. As we walked around there were many fun street performers dressed in costumes to take a photo op with. Val and I took a few because we were kind of thrown in it because we were the guests for the day. After about an hour of waking around and taking pictures we climbed back into the car and headed back home.

Up until this point, it’s been boom, boom, boom. Attraction after the next as soon as we got off the plane. We were drained and needed a day to recover. Luckily, our hotel was connected to one of the biggest malls in Jakarta – Kelapa Gading. As a rest day, it was nice to walk around an air conditioned building that resembles something we find back home. We were surrounded by high end shops and restaurants littered each corner of each floor. We decided to grab some coffee and chill for a bit. It was a British/Indonesian cafe called Bakerzin and the atmosphere was quite quaint. After a hour or 2 in the cafe, Val met up with a friend from back home who now resides in Jakarta. I ended up going back to the hotel room and took a cat nap. Then, my phone went off and my uncle invited us to go visit my grandparents, uncle, and aunts grave later that evening. This was something on my to-do list and even though it was our rest day, I couldn’t decline this event. I regrouped with Val and we headed to the grave site to pay our respects to the dead. It was an eerie feeling when we got there because the sun had set right before we got there and it started to rain as we got out of the car. We poured a couple bags of water and flowers over their graves and gave a prayer to let them know that we had visited them.

For our last full day in Jakarta, we ended spending time with my two aunts and they took us to Mangga Dua. A market center, where bargaining is a key player in buying anything. I learned that if you don’t bargain you’re considered naive and merchants will actually take offense that you didn’t do the song and dance. Luckily, we were with my two aunts because they did most of the heavy lifting. But, Val and I definitely picked up on the game. Val (not knowing the language) would pull out her XE Currency app on her phone and give it to the merchant. Bringing the price down as they negotiated. I on the other hand just mimicked my aunts and copied what they said. In the end it isn’t to hard, it’s respecting the culture here.

The next morning we had breakfast that consisted of fish, sour soup, rice, and chicken to get us going for our day of travel. Ordered a Grab driver (similar to Uber), said our goodbyes, cried in the car, made it to our train station, and off to Bandung we went.

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