Friday, October 10, 2014

Fast Food in Indonesia, Monas and Botanical Garden visit

Apparently last week was a busy week. I probably need to study more and lay off the monuments a tad. However, I made some nice pictures to share with y'all. Here we go. 

First off, I went to my first Fast Food outlet. A co-worker and I had a yearning for pizza while we were wandering around in Pacific Plaza Mall one night last week. On my way in I had seen a lady carrying three pizza boxes out, obviously she was doing take-away that night. We looked and looked and could not find the pizza place from the name on her boxes, or any pizza parlor at all. But then we saw Wendy's and had a change of heart. I ate a halfway decent fast food burger and some good fries. They fry everything in palm oil here, and it's tasty. 

October 2nd is Batik Day in Indonesia. When I opened Google, I saw this doodle. Nice work, Google :)  One of our local employees got permission for our group to visit Monas for a photo op, showing off our batik outfits. I don't have a picture to post here, but rest assured that we all looked our finest. Monas is the National Monument of Indonesia. It's usually open to the public, but the elevator can hold only 11 people so I never ventured up to the top. OK, I admit that since the few public spaces here in Jakarta are so busy on weekends that I have not ventured to Monas yet, so this was my first visit. 

As with any high monument, there were beautiful views and, special for Jakarta, a nice cool and gentle breeze. We were shown around by an English speaking guide, who was able to answer all of our questions and tell us a bit of history of Jakarta and Indonesia. Many of our locally employed staff had not been at Monas since the obligatory school visit (hey, is that a universal thing?), and we all enjoyed the visit quite a bit. 

 There was a photograph of the surrounding area located above the window and I made a picture of the embassy side (S-3) The parking lot is now sadly a construction zone, which you can see clearly in the picture above, but it makes a nice comparison.
I like the stark architecture with the long straight lines and the lack of decoration on the monument. The surrounding area was covered in historic pictorials, done in stone. This picture was a sad selfie and so I cropped myself out of it to show you the wall I was standing in front of. I'm wearing batik, of course. Monas, like any place in Indonesia (it seems) is rife with cats; they are everywhere. This one was looking like a scraggly poor little thing. Most of them are cautious but not really scared of people. I think they are tolerated because people have a the idea they help with keeping the rat population down, but I'm not so sure about that. The other day I was walking home when I passed a rat the size of a two month old kitten who yelled at me that I should not be there. Or something to that effect. After he was done, he turned around and ran away. It was comical, if it weren't that it was a rat at dusk. In broad view. And it probably carried rabies. But I got my shots, so I should be good with that, at least.
I'm not sure what the story is behind this decoration. I passed it on the way out and it's a huge urn with what looks like gods all around it. It was made of sandstone and I liked it very much.

On Saturday a group of us visited the Bogor Botanical Gardens. It's a very old botanical garden, established at the end of the 19th century by a German botanist. the place is huge and we walked nine miles that day. We left Jakarta at nine am by commuter train. This was a trip. We paid 10,000IDR (about a dollar) for a swipe card like you'd find in any metropolis. The price of the card included the price of the trip. Our return trip was 5000IDR (about fifty cents), and when we turned in our cards at the end of the day, we got 5000IDR back. So for one buck, we traveled 80 miles. 

 One of the first things I saw after we got to Bogor was this armed statue pointing his gun at an ice cream parlor. I don't know what the explanation was, but it was interesting how he truly was pointing his gun at that poor little hat-shaped building.
caption: Give me your ice cream or else?

The entrance to the gardens was a bit further than indicated on their website. The gate that was listed as 'main gate' was not actually open and we had to walk a little further down. Luckily we all wore decent walking shoes so it was not bad at all. Only one of us had thought to bring an umbrella as sun protection, although I was able to borrow some sunscreen from somebody else. I still have to buy my first sun screen, even though I've been here for almost three months.

The botanical garden is famous for its lilypond, but it must not be the season (remember that it's now 'early spring' here LOL) and there were few lily pads and they were holey.

         We saw different stuff, though. Lots of pretty statues, and of course the obligatory trash in the water... That was not a pretty picture, and it made me wonder why they don't clean it up. Maybe they are understaffed. 

 Here I am standing next to a tree that looked very old. It had a plackard on it that says 1866, so I think it was planted way back then. It must have been 80 or 100 feet tall. No clue what it was. Many trees had signs but  I was not able to read them or they were in Latin only and sometimes only in Indonesian.

On the way out I saw the cutest, cutest little building. It was better maintained than most and it turned out to be a bathroom.