The day after Mom, Dad, Erin and Lee arrived was also the day before the reception in Indonesia, and so we decided to spend this day at Taman Mini, which is a theme park that is very close to Grace and Berthus' house. Taman Mini means Miniature Park. It is named as such because the park contains a large pool with miniature islands that represent the islands of Indonesia.
We picked up Mom, Dad, Erin and Lee at the hotel and then we went to the park. We were suprised when we arrived that there was hardly anybody at the park. This was likely because of Ramadan, and Natalia said it was normally more crowded. Not that we were complaining--it made it very easy to get around and see all the sights.
The first place we visited was the aviary. This was really neat because we saw all sorts of exotic birds, all of which were native to Indonesia. The aviary consisted of several large domes, which were split into two areas. The first area contained birds from Eastern Indonesia, and the second area contained birds from Western Indonesia. The zookeeper said every month they would open up the doors so they could visit each other. Just kidding about that part.
The aviary was really cool, and we saw many different birds. Mom and I talked to a Macaw for about 5 minutes, and we got it all on tape. I was taping for most of the time, but I did get a picture in front of the peacock cage. Don't worry, the pictures get more exciting later on...
After the aviary, which all of us really enjoyed, Dad and I especially, we got on the skyway, which was a cable car that was carried across the entire park. From the cable car we got a birds eye view of the park, and could see the miniature Indonesia islands very well. Here's a picture of the islands.
We actually got two rides across the skyway because we got to the landing area on the opposite side of the park, and the attendant just sort of waved us through! We got a chance to pass everybody, which was sort of fun, and back at the first landing area there was sort of a bump when you landed, and since Natalia and I landed first we got to see everybody react to this, which was pretty funny, let me tell you.
After we rode the skyway we checked out a few of the other sites, which included different churches of the area, which were true churches, and we were able to take a walk through an Islamic mosque. Very interesting.
Another part of the park contained the houses of Indonesia, which you could walk through and look at the architecture of all the different types of houses built in different parts of Indonesia. We only walked through one house, which was very much like a barn. It was interesting because it was built on stilts and you had to walk up two very steep flights of stairs to get to the living area. The upper living space was a very large room that was considered a common living area. It had ventilation on each end, which also made it very barn-like, and then it had smaller rooms all along the sides of the room, and each of these smaller rooms would house a family.
Once we got done checking out the house examples, we went to check out the lizards and snakes. I'm not sure what they call this place. They call big bird houses aviary. What a great name. I guess lizards are too ugly to have a name for where they live. Anyway, we went to where the lizards and snakes live, and we saw many snakes, including the Indonesian Spitting Cobra, and a Monitor Lizard, which is about two feet long. Natalia said this was the same lizard that was stealing the fish out of the Koi pond in her parents' garden! We then went back to the main attraction in the snake-and-lizard-iary, which was a Komodo Dragon. We actually got to walk up and touch the Komodo Dragon, which was pretty cool. Here's the picture of Natalia and I with the Komodo Dragon. It was pretty docile, but I was half expecting it to go, "RAAHHHHHH," and then go after my arm. Fortunately that didn't happen.
So that was pretty cool, and if we hadn't gotten enough of touching scaly animals, they had another feature close to this with a very large python. They let us go up and hold the python, which was really cool. I went first, and here's the picture. You can really feel how powerful the snake is. It's not slimy at all, but I could tell the snake was like, "You know what, this guy thinks he can keep a hold of me, but I could just squirm right out of his hands and coil around him if I felt like it. Well, I just ate that chicken yesterday so I think I'll just play along for now." Ok, so the snake didn't actually say that, but it did squirm around quite a bit. It was interesting because you could feel the scales of the snake sort of bristle out in a wavelike manner, which made it harder to hold onto, and would allow it to back right out of your hands if it really felt like it.
I thought I was really brave to go up, until my nieces went up and held the snake. There was also a little turtle walking around the snake area, and we got a really cute picture of Catherine and Celine.
We all had a really fun day, and it was nice to have a fun outing with Mom, Dad, Erin and Lee on their first full day in Indonesia.
Next up...the big reception!