Monday, November 20, 2017

Jakarta, Indonesia, Taman Mini, Istiqlal Mosque, Bandung Province and Tangkuban Parahu Mount, Hong Kong Layover

Jakarta, Indonesia

I was in Jakarta for two weeks the end of April 2017. I loved it as I always do visiting a new place. The culture was different than anything that I had experienced so far and I relished every new thing. My experiences were all good but I will admit to being somewhat of an optimist. I don't mind third world hotels, dirty streets and pollution since there are so many new cool places and things to appreciate.

The view out the hotel window. The hotel wasn't bad (The Harper by Aston) and you can see some of the nicer homes mixed in with the others. The one thing that was great was that I felt completely safe walking the streets. I got some looks but that's about it

It 's very inexpensive here. This hotel was about $40 per night. The exchange rate was about 13,000 Rupiah to $1 so I am holding a million Rupiah which is about $75. I felt rich:)

We had free breakfast every morning and it was definitely Indonesian. Lots of spice. We ate here every morning and I loved it. Michael got tired of it but he was there for six weeks

We had chicken, vegetables of much variety and flavor, tofu everything, eggs, toast, waffles, sushi that just rice and about 100 things I didn't know the name of

This is the sauces and spice table. Those carrots, onions and celery were pickled and yummy but the ketchup didn't really taste like ketchup. Still I tried most of them

The papaya was to die for!

They had these herbal and spice drinks that were good for you. We tried them all. My favorite was the tumeric drink. The ginger drink was pretty potent! 

The yummy looking one is Guava and on the right is some kind of dark apple juice.

They have an app called Go-Jek which was extremely helpful. You can order any service including food and they will bring it right to your hotel. So I ordered a massage and Tia pronounce Thea, came and gave me a two hour massage with facial acupressure and even a mask. It cost me $200,000 Rupias or about $16. It was heaven
One of the first things I did was take a taxi to a place called Taman Mini. It is an amusement park/culteral park. They had museums and architecture from the different parts of Indonesia. It was huge and so when I got dropped off a guy with motorcycle approached me and offered to take me around for $4 an hour. I hadn't realized the place was so big that you couldn't walk around it so I took the offer. It was awesome!

Inside the buildings were different museums. This one had lots of original costumes of Indonesia. They were all beautiful

They had all the different main islands represented. This was the entrance to Bali

This one was Sumatra but I didn't go inside at this time

A statue in the Bali area

Some cool rock work

They had a tram you could take from one side of the park to the other. They have the different religions represented. This was the Christian church

Coming in to the tram stop

The whole thing was built around a huge lake and so it wasn't possible to walk and see much. I was glad I took the motorcycle tour

They even had a mini Disneyland for kids

I bought one of these Mango drinks that became a favorite. It reminded me of a Mango Lassi which I love!

I got to see my first Komodo Dragon and he was one big boy. He didn't move an inch though the whole 10 minutes I was there!

The people were really friendly and I saw this guy a few times around our hotel. Finally I asked him if I could take his picture and he was happy to let me

So this was a tag along trip. My then boyfriend and now fiance, was working there and so I decided to go check out the place. One day he had a few minutes and so we took a quite tour of a local market. These are some of the pictures that I didn't use in my previous post of doing a 30 day photography challenge in 2 hours (see previous post). It was totally fun

They make these traditional signs with flowers and mostly for weddings or other family milestones. It was fun watching them work

You could buy everything from clothing to cleaning supplies and even get your tires fixed

The little mini mart where we got all our essentials

We got adventurous and tried a bunch of drinks that we didn't know what they were. They were all good except the one on the right. It was nasty. I still don't know what it was but I did like the picture of the rhino on it:)

We found our own church. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.There are three of them in Jakarta and the one we picked happened to be the one where the Mission President and his wife attend. We met them and lots of other wonderful people

Like this lady who has been a member all her life and speaks incredible English. She translated the meeting for us since it was in Bahasa

This is what almost every intersection looks like. There is definitely lots of industry here

On the weekend it was a holiday so we took a city tour. The first stop was Taman Mini because the downtown was blocked off for some dignitary or something.

These photos are inside the museum of Sumatra where I had not gone in on the trip before

There was a wedding party getting ready. This was the groom and bride

Our tour guide who is Christian. There are mostly Muslims in Jakarta but of all different sects and there are lots of Christians too.

The next stop was Chinatown which I love to see in any city. They sell similar goods and yet they all have their own personalities

Michael got to eat fried Cassava which he hadn't eaten since his mission in Brazil
I got to eat the best fried banana since my mission to Ecuador 35 years ago

After Chinatown we stopped at the old harbor which is a working harbor and I thought was extremely interesting. Because there are so many little islands in Indonesia for them, these smaller ships work well.

 I was allowed to climb up on any of them and take a look. Michael thought I was taking my life in my hands here but there was only a couple of feet of mucky water below me. 

He felt better about this one since the ladder looked a little more stable

Once I was up there he decided to try it out

It was very cool!

Tour van and guide

Next we went to the town center built by the Dutch. It was called Batavia Square

And immediately became celebrities. That was new for me. We could have stayed there all day taking pictures with people

The tourist thing to do was rent a colorful bike with hat and ride around the square

Michael got interviewed by these cute school kids for English class. That was the highlight for him. He love it!

This horse and buggy came along and literally took the side mirror off the drivers side of the van 

So we just went down the street and found a replacement mirror and they put it on for us in about 15 minutes. You don't see service like that in the U.S.

Lunch was very Indonesian and delicious. They do eat lots of eggs and vegetables.These main dishes were a peanut sauce chicken called Sate, a shrimp dish called Udang Goring Mentenga, a corn fritter called Bakwan, calimari which was Cumi Goreng Tepung, soup- Soto Ayan and more. Goreng means fried.

After that we went to a big, beautiful, Catholic Cathedral called St. Mary of the Assumption

It was lovely and peaceful inside

Right across the street from the Cathedral was the largest Mosque in South East Asia. It holds up to 250,000 people at a time- Istiqlal Mosque

Michael had to wear a robe in because he was dressed so immodestly:) and we left our shoes at the door. All out of respect of course. We had a cute tour guide who spoke excellent english. Really it was an incredible experience and I could feel the religious spirit of the people here. So many people praying. We were a little awestruck by it

And this is just a normal day. On their religious holidays this place is filled

Our cute tour guide telling us about the Koran

She said Mike Pence had stood right here two weeks earlier and taken photos with his family. Cool! and on a political note, most Indonesians seem to like Trump since he is very invested in Indonesia. He owns one of their media outlets or something like that.

Everyone has their own prayer rectangle

And this was zoomed in. It was huge!

The last place of the day was a market called Pasar Baru. They were know for their textiles

I bought an Indonesian blouse since I like to collect costumes wherever I go. This one I just might wear around the house!

Indonesian dresses for weddings and other celebrations. They were beautiful

My view from the treadmill. I was a little frosted because they charged me $8 dollars to work out every day and I know that wasn't the local cost, but they can and do get away with it. Although I must say I would have worked out more if it was cheaper. The traffic was terrible and it was often stop and go here

I loved our guide and driver so much that I booked another tour with them for two days later. Michael had to work so it was just me but I was perfectly safe and I had a great time. This time we went out in the Bandung province to see an active volcano

There were beautiful rice fields all along the way

The first place we stopped was some mineral springs that were so popular I felt like I was at an amusement park. I picked up a few cute, boyfriends along the way

We bought some ice cream from this happy man with no hands

As we got higher up into the mountains we passed tea plantations instead of rice fields

The volcano is called Tangkuban Parahu Mount- as far as I could tell. The Ratu crater is 500 m deep

Another fantastic meal

We stopped at a mini boat market. I think it was more for tourists than locals. Most of the tourists are from other parts of Asia

Michael buying something from the local guys near our hotel

Indonesia is mostly Muslin and they have a call to prayer about every 5 hours over the city on loud speakers. There really wasn't any action that I saw until Friday. This is where Michael worked and everyone came out for prayers. It was awesome to see and I love the devotion

Michael was supposed to fly home with me after the two week visit but he got delayed so I went home by myself which was fine. I had a 12 hour, day layover in Hong Kong so I figured out how to take the train into the city and I took a hop on/ hop off city tour. So cool! Jet lag hadn't taken affect yet so I felt good and just toured. Hong Kong has the most incredible vista's I have ever seen and that is saying something since I've seen a lot!

It was difficult at first though because it was a foggy day and it didn't clear up until later but when it did-wow! I have to go back