Wildlife Weekend

As previously mentioned, I recently traveled by train to Bandung.  However, on our way back to Jakarta, Janna and I decided that we would meet up with three of our friends who were spening the Sunday- Monday of our long weekend at Taman Safari, a theme park in Puncak.  It was the perfect day to go to Taman Safari, since usually the park is packed with school children and, on work-holidays, families vacationing.

However, getting to Taman Safari from Bandung is no easy task.  At some times of the day, the roads all change to a massive one-way lane, and even when the road is techinically moving in one direction, the switchback are terrifying.  In Indonesia, there really aren’t “lanes,” so there were many moments when we were drving in the wrong lane.  Factor in the fact it was at night, foggy, and started to rain… let’s just say it was a long drive.

Taman Safari is… a safari?  While my image of a safari is one of open fields filled with antelope and lions, this is the drive-though kind of safari.  You need to have a car and driver to go through the park, but the animals still get very close.  Because it is popular to buy carrots outisde the park walls and feed the animals, most of the herbavores of Taman Safari are anxious to stick their heads into your vehicle.  As you can see, animals of all shapes and sizes have the expectation to be fed.  The zebras were pretty friendly and assertive about getting the carrots, and at one point I had to shove their  noses out of the vehicle so we could continue driving.  (While my more city-oriented friends were shocked by this, I hardly had a second thought: zebras are so much like horses that it’s easy to forget!)

After completing the semi-safe drive through safari, we had our driver drop us off near the “Baby Animal Zoo.”  We wandered through the aviary, searching for these “baby” animals that were being advertised, only to find out that “baby” meant more like “adolescent.”  You could pay 15000 to hold a baby leopard (which is about 1.50 USD), orangutan, or lion.

Our next stop was the Flume ride.  Beause we were at the park on a Monday morning, it was pretty much abandoned.  My friends Janna and Julie both wanted to have a go on the log ride, so I stood back and photographed their adventure.

In addition, we saw two shows while at Taman Safari: a seal show, and a Wild Wild West show.  The seal show was adorable and very well done.  The seals knew a bunch of tricks that they executed perfectly, balancing volleyballs, jumping through hoops, and catching rings.

In the States, a performance like Taman Mini’s “Wild Wild West” show would have been considered an example of mild racisim, but in Indonesia it was just… funny?  The cowboys were played by Indonesians.  The Indians were also played by Indonesians.  So, while the actors galloped around dressed in the “classic” Cowboy-and-Indian costumes, it seemed to be more of a reflection of American stereotypes than anything else.  Regardless, it was well done.  There were explosions, a slew of well trained animals, funny actors (even though the show was in Bahasa Indonesia) and a lot of slapstick comedy.  The Wild Wild West show is at the top of the park, and only a ten minute hike further into the jungle there is a pretty impressive little waterfall.  (Take your driver there, though!  The hill up to the top of the park is really steep and not much fun in the Indonesian heat.)


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