Indonesia In A Day

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This blog entry about the events of Sunday, February 20, 2005 was originally posted on February 24, 2005.

DAY 491:  “You should see the outside,” Henricus said to me in the living room, which had been converted to a guest room with the simple folding out of the futon.

“Yeah, I know,” I said without looking away from the television screen.  I was fully enthralled playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his PlayStation 2 since the night before.  Between that and Metal Gear Solid 3 (which I had been itching to play since Tokyo Game Show 2004), I was fully entertained just being in the apartment.  However, it made sense to take advantage of the fact that Henricus had no work to do that day in his life as a freelance designer.  And so, I turned off the PS2, took a shower, and got ready to see Indonesia.

INDONESIA, WITH OVER 17,000 ISLANDS, is of course way too big to cover in the time I had allotted:  just four days.  My intention to journey to Indonesia for such a stupid amount of time wasn’t a tourist one; on my immigration form for Purpose Of Stay, I checked not “Tourist/Holiday” but “Visit Friends/Relatives,” for I just planned on seeing Henricus for a few days since I was in the region, and to see the few sights he’d care to take me to in the greater metropolitan Jakarta area. 

However, Henricus told me that I could actually see “all of Indonesia in a day,” at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, an Indonesia-inspired theme park which brought all of the country’s many diverse cultures in one place, separated into different “lands” like at Disney World.  (Similar parks have also been created in Thailand and the Philippines.) 

“[Linda’s] excited,” Henricus told me as we drove down the highway towards “mini Indonesia.”  Both he and his wife had been to the park before, but not in over twenty years; “mini Indonesia” was a popular destination for grammar school field trips.  We arrived after about a forty-minute ride through metro Jakarta, only to find out it wouldn’t be as exciting as they remembered.

“It’s closed on Mondays,” Henricus informed me after the entry gate guard told him first.  “[He says] we can see it, but just the outside.”

“Okay.”

It wasn’t completely closed though; mostly everything was open, just the interiors of the mock edifices wouldn’t be accessible, nor would there be any people wandering around in traditional garb for tourists to take photos with. 

“It’s Disneyland,” said Henricus said as we rode on the cable car skyway over the different areas of the park.  That statement was sort of true; in the center of the different lands was a big non-Indonesian, European-style fairy-tale castle that served as the front entrance for a pool.

We toured each “land” via ground transport (Henricus’ car) and in just about an hour, we covered a lot of Indonesian ground (since each land was separated often times by merely a thin fence):  the stone statues and temples of Bali; arch-shaped houses of West Nusa Tenggara; the brightly-painted houses (picture above) and tombs of south Sulawesi; the red-roofs of southeast Sulawesi; the statues and houses of Java’s Yogyakarta; and the totem poles, primitive straw huts, and fake fishermen of Papua.  Keeping with the “mini” theme, there was even a miniature scale model of the famous behemoth temple, the Barabudur

Rounding out the rushed “Indonesia in a day” experience was a sampling of what Let’s Go called the national dish, nasi goreng which every Indonesian I met laughed at — What’s so nationalistic about their commonplace fried rice dish?  Kerupak, prawn crackers were another local fave.


INDONESIA BOASTS MANY CUISINES AND CULTURES, but it is also a place of natural wonder untainted by man.  Indonesia has a variety of indigenous flora and fauna, including monkeys, deer, and many species of birds that we saw in an aviary — peacocks, cucaks, and others.  A guy working the grounds there spared some time to show us a particularly big horned-billed bird that freaked out Linda, and perched it on Henricus’ arm so that I could take a photoNow if I could just get this auto-focus to lock on…

“Hurry!” he cried.  The bird was digging its claws into his skin. 

From birds we saw bats, not at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, but at the Bogor Botanical Gardens about 90 minutes away on the other side of Jakarta.  The bats were a part of a bigger rainforest ecosystem in the complex of many plants and trees, both big and small, including the “stinky flower” (as Henricus and Linda called it), also known as the Carcass Flower, named after the fact that reeked like a dead body every three years when it bloomed. 


“OFF ROAD!  IT’S LIKE WE’RE IN THE JUNGLE,” said Henricus as Linda took to the steering wheel and zipped across the park, passed small roaring rivers.  Without the skyscrapers of Jakarta in sight, you could squint and pretend you were in some remote jungle in Borneo or something, which was the best thing that one trying to see “Indonesia in a day’ could do.  Our afternoon jungle experience was made complete with a swing on a woody vine like Tarzan; and our day-long pan-Indonesian excursion was made complete with afternoon tea at the botanical gardens cafe (not too far from the Bogor Mansion).

“This is refreshing for us,” Henricus said, sitting down for tea.  “We’d just be inside all day [if you didn’t come over].  And the gallery is so small.”


THE GALLERY HE WAS REFERRING TO was Artnivora, an art gallery he had just opened in the Kemang district in central Jakarta, a district once swarming with foreign ex-pats until they cleared out after the economic crisis of 1998.  After our day of seeing what the tourist traps the suburbs had to offer, we drove back into the hustle, bustle, and traffic of the city to visit the gallery

Created more as a hobby than a profit-making business, Henricus and Linda had spent two months building up an easily-rented space into the Artnivora gallery and opened its doors on the fifth of January 2005.  Curator Henricus’ first show was “Anton Huang On Paper,” a collection of works by the Indonesian-born international painter Anton Huang — known locally as “Anton Kustia Widjaja” — which Henricus’ father had acquired over the years without a real place to put them all. 

Henricus was quite into the arts scene in Jakarta and wanted to do what he could to push it to another level — any level for that matter.  It was evident that the city was more concerned with commercial shopping malls than the arts, and Henricus wanted to change all that.  “Have you talked with the Ministry of Arts at all?” I asked him.

“There is no Ministry of Arts,” he replied.  “It’s going to be me.”

Henricus’ freelance design duties would always come first though, for they paid the bills and supported his wife — and his guests from the States for that matter, since he insisted on graciously paying for everything for me.  The dinner tab was ultimately picked up by him when we went out for fried fish at a restaurant where Henricus had a short meeting that night with a business client. 

Henricus got work to do out of that meeting, but in the meantime, his dreams of being “Minister of the Arts” would continue — and he had the creative genius and perseverance to make it happen.  I knew that he would achieve his goal sooner than later.  I mean, if you can see all of Indonesia in a day, there’s no telling how fast things could develop.


(Anyone interested in going partner with Henricus to globalize the “Artnivora” brand should contact me or him.  It is the perfect opportunity for aspiring art history students or contemporary art lovers yearning to get into the gallery scene.)

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TRAILER. 
PLEASE R.S.V.P. WITH YOUR HEADCOUNT BY POSTING A COMMENT HERE.






Next entry: All Work And No Play Makes Erik A Dull Boy

Previous entry: Friends From Little India to Indonesia




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Comments for “Indonesia In A Day”

  • GREETINGS FROM AMERICA!  Well, North America that is.  I am currently in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where I have come—in “Amazing Race” fashion—to do snowy stuff right before the final flight back to the States.

    MORE TO COME as the countdown to DAY 503 continues… eh?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  12:39 AM


  • Welcome back to this side of the world!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  01:45 AM


  • Welcome back to this side of the world! 

    Now all you got to do is get to this side of the continent, but by now, that must be no problemo!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  01:48 AM


  • wow! back in north america . .
    amazing.

    did it culture shock you?

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/25  at  06:08 AM


  • Good ol’ Canadian soil…........how I miss it.  Are you going skiing in Whistler?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  07:03 AM


  • I’ve been a loyal SBR for awhile now, since June actually when I stumbled onto your site.  It looks like all us SBRs are coming out of the woodwork now that your trip is almost done.  Anyways, thanks for all the hard work you’ve been putting in in keeping this blog alive for all of us to read and distract us from being productive at work (I’ve even gotten co-workers hooked, thus decreasing company productivity exponentially…and I am damn proud of it).  I traveled for two months across Europe and tried keeping a journal but gave up on day ten because it was too much work so I can only imagine the grind of putting up an entertaining entry with photos and all for every day of your trip.  You’re a good Rutgers representative (class of ‘03 here, baby), or at least better than Calista Flockhart. I wish I could make it up to NYC for day 503 but I can’t, so everyone get a little extra drunk for me.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  08:47 AM


  • one more week til day 503…..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  10:41 AM


  • Welcome to Canada!  I am sad to realize that you are closer and the end is now closer!  Eh….. to you too! Sure wish I could make it to Day 503!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  02:09 PM


  • I’m impressed—one day. Once again great photos to highlight your day’s adventure. Henricus seems like a great guy. I’ll have to check out his website, but it will have to wait. I’m off to see Christo & Jean Claude’s Gates in NYC’s Central Park. It’s coming down starting Monday, so I’ve gotta get there quick!

    Weird knowing you’re back in NA. I was wondering how you’ld acclamate to the wintry weather.

    I just bought a couple of TGT Ts, before they become collector’s items and double in price. Hope they get here before day 503!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  03:18 PM


  • I’m impressed—one day. Once again great photos to highlight your day’s adventure. Henricus seems like a great guy. I’ll have to check out his website, but it will have to wait. I’m off to see Christo & Jean Claude’s Gates in NYC’s Central Park. It’s coming down starting Monday, so I’ve gotta get there quick!

    Weird knowing you’re back in NA. I was wondering how you’ld acclamate to the wintry weather.

    I just bought a couple of TGT Ts, before they become collector’s items and double in price. Hope they get here before day 503!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  03:18 PM


  • patrick just became christy…..weird


    hey E what are prawns? 

    i will go into blog-shock once the blog is done.  you should have a pay-per-view site and just type random shit.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  03:45 PM


  • Dude, where are you?

    I’m heading out on the town tonight, hitting up Vancouver’s best Irish pub, The Blarney Stone.  You gonna make it?

    They don’t serve San Miguel…

    Let me know where you are.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  06:47 PM


  • We’re all looking forward to see you back here in Teaneck!.........Have a safe trip.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  06:49 PM


  • THE OTHER ERIK:  I’m in Kits somewhere, at Sebastian’s.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  07:09 PM


  • ANGIE / DENISE:  Hey, are you guys around?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  07:59 PM


  • Damn B.C.!! You guys get EVERYTHING!!! Mountains, awsome scenery, Olympics, and now you’re getting Blog entries too!! That’s it… peace out Ontario… I’m moving.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/25  at  08:36 PM


  • That park was cool - and what a time saver! You should have just gone to Epcot center.

    Posted by dunlavey  on  02/26  at  02:16 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
All Work And No Play Makes Erik A Dull Boy

Previous entry:
Friends From Little India to Indonesia




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

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