Today we took a P-Day and went to “Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park”. Nining, a lady in Jakarta 2nd Ward (one of 2 Indonesian-speaking wards in Jakarta) wanted to take us to this park and translate for us. As a teacher, she was still off for Christmas break, so we went today.
Started in 1971, this park is 250 acres celebrating Indonesian culture, food, dress, beauty and architecture. Indonesia is thousands of miles wide (wider than the US) and was put together in 1947 as a coalition of previously independent areas, countries and people. Consequently, Indonesian provinces are VERY different in language, food, dress, dance, building styles, etc. There are 17,000 islands here and over 750 dialects! And Indonesians are VERY proud of their hometown or province – whether Central Java, South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, or on and on and on. (There are food carts here in Jakarta that sell “Nasi Goreng Ayam Medan” (or Malang, or Surabaya, or Jogja, or any other city or village in Indonesia) which is “chicken fried rice like they make it Medan”). Jakartans then, can basically find any of the food they grew up on.
Ok, so Taman Mini is a huge park featuring 31 different provinces of Indonesia. While the title says “Mini”, these buildings are anything but miniature. Each province has examples of community halls, places of worship, homes, etc. In addition there are 20 some museums (technology, insects, telecommunications, transportation, etc., etc.). There is no possible way to see it all in one day, so we picked a few provinces (East Sumatra, West Sumatra, Aceh, Papua, Bali) had lunch, went to the Komodo Dragon Museum (it was air conditioned and we needed to cool off) and called it a day.
Whenever we go anyplace where the public gathers, we are like rock starts. I know that sounds funny and a little ridiculous (because it is!), but everyone wants their picture with the bule’s. I honestly don’t know if it’s because it’s so unusual for them to see a white person, or they think we are rich or what (DeeAnn was asked once if she was a movie star), but Indonesians think nothing of stopping us and asking if they can take a ‘foto’ with us, or us with their kids. We take it in stride and have a good time with it!
So we’er walking from the bus to Papua, and I hear “Hey Meester, where you from?” ‘America’, I said. “America? Oh, I love America”! he says. So I said ‘And I love Indonesia!’ “OK, OK !! Good”!! he says with this HUGE smile. Great exchange!
Back to the office tomorrow!!!