Taman Mini, a surprised TB meetup and 2 hours Jakarta Traffic

Jakarta Travel Blog

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Again, for my friend's blog: http://rgarcellano.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/mini-indonesia/

Jakarta: A Lilliputian landscape was what I pictured in my mind when someone suggested that I visit Taman Mini, one of the numerous tourist attractions around the capital city.
“It’s a mini representation of Indonesia,” she said.
Being diminutive in height, the idea of a mini Indonesia sat well with me. That it’d be great playing make believe I was tall was all I could think about. But then my dream was shattered to smithereens when I reached Taman Mini. Semantics came into play �" mini took to mean squeezing all of the 33 Indonesian provinces into 250 hectares of land at East Jakarta. There certainly wasn’t anything small scale about the place. Walking would have been a splendid idea if the skies had been overcast that day I went with my friend Apo who was visiting from Singapore.

Aerial view of a pavilion from the kereta gantung
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, which literally translates to Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park, is a recreational park with a cultural thematic scheme highlighted by specially constructed pavilions showcasing a province’s unique architecture, clothing and other emblematic objects. Wikipedia lists six province pavilions viz. Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi, Lesser Sunda Islands, Maluku and Papua. The new province pavilions include Bangka Belitung, Banten, West Sulawesi, North Maluku, Gorontalo and West Papua. Former First Lady of Indonesia, Siti Hartinah Soeharto, is credited for getting the project off the ground. Ibu Tien, as she was known to the locals, envisioned a place for the locals that would showcase the country’s diverse cultures and, in turn, foster national pride in the locals.

A watery canvas depicting the Indonesian archipelago
Taman Mini’s recreational facilities include garden and parks such as the Orchid, Cactus, Jasmine, Golden Snail gardens, Bird Park and Taman Ria Atmaja Park, the venue for stage and musical performances. It also houses the huge Teater Tanah Airku (Theater of My Homeland), a sprawling water theme park and museums.
An aerial view is the best to cover all the pavilions particularly when you’re not inclined to walk due to the blazing heat or pure laziness. Sitting up high in the Kereta Gantung (Sky Lift), from Station B to Station C, you’ll hover over, to mention a few, Kalimantan Timur, Maluku, Aceh, Sumatra, Bengkulu and Jambi. Going for another round, this time from Station B to Station A, you’ll be looking down, for example, at Bali, Jakarta and Sulawesi.
Also, you’ll see a landscaped rendition of all the 17, 508 islands of Indonesia over a man-made lake mid-way through the journey. Back on land, you can play dress up in one of the pavilions, which Apo did. He was a maharajah for about 30 minutes, decked in royal garb cap-a-pie.

Spacious areas greet the visitor to this pavilion

Bright colours and pointed roofs always attract attention
Blazing heat or not, Taman Mini is the answer to a quick look around the island if you don’t have the luxury of time. But if you do, it’ll be a good idea to go back and really soak up the islands of Indonesia

After Taman Mini, we went to Ancol. Here's what my friend wrote about this:


ANCOL: I am always drawn to water although I’m absolutely terrified of it. Being an urbanite, I was never surrounded by water and my parents never really approved of public swimming pools. The beaches in my father’s hometown were the nearest I could get to bodies of water when I was growing up, which wasn’t always a frequent occurrence. Still, I never learnt to swim, overcome by the trauma of being engulfed unexpectedly by water twice. However, despite the phobia, shooting the breeze by the sea never fails to calm my nerves.

Walk off the niggling thoughts
Unwinding in Ancol (pronounced An-chol) was how Apo and I ended our tour around Jakarta during his weekend visit in April. Located in North Jakarta, Ancol is the capital city’s recreation venue where the locals �" families, singles and students �" go for fun, relaxation and getting lost in one’s thoughts.
My students, in fact, planned a trip to Ancol’s Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World), or Dufan, when they had a day off from their studies last April. Dufan, I guess, is Jakarta’s answer to Disneyland with its host of rides and attractions of which the latest is Tornado (2007). The other attractions are SeaWorld, an oceanarium with a panoramic view of the sea through an 80-meter tunnel; an 18-hole golf course; a marina for all kinds of water activities; and the outdoor Pasar Seni Ancol where art lovers can hunt for puppets, woodcarvings, paintings etc.

Enjoy the sea in or out of the water
I prefer heading to the beach every time I’m in Ancol. I like the idea that you’re left alone to your thoughts although there are a throng of people around. It seemed that the beach area had undergone major renovation work because the bridge-over-the-sea I walked on wasn’t there before.
The beach area where it was safe to swim was considerably smaller then but not anymore. Work was still ongoing on one part of the beach �" mostly finishing touches like cementing �" when Apo and I walked the bridge and round the beach area.

It started to rain when we got to the shore so we made a beeline to the nearest shelter, A&W restaurant like the rest of the beach goers. While waiting for the rain to let up, enjoying cone of chocolate-vanilla soft serve ice cream called Monas (in honor of the national monument) was a good idea.
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photo by: cicie