This weekend we had a great time -- Saturday morning a group of us met at the hotel and piled into 2 cars. We drove south out of Jakarta into the mountains and spent the late morning touring a tea plantation. The plantation is huge and the tea bushes cover entire mountains. The air is cleaner and cooler, so it's a popular activity to go there for the weekend; a lot of villas were in the towns we passed through. We stopped at an overlook where a lot of souvinier vendors accosted us. They are very persistent, but once you get used to haggling, you can get some good deals.
The plantation has a little town on it, which we walked through. There was a big picnic or concert going on in a park pavilion; we saw lots of kids there -- buying cotton candy, feeding rabbits. We walked up the mountain into the tea fields where we saw tea in various stages of growth -- ready to pick, just picked, regrowing. The trunks are about 3 feet tall and gnarled and old looking; the tea pickers pick all the green leaves off. A hillside that has just been picked looks brown in comparison to the lush green of tea that is ready to pick. The tea plantation runs a brisk business in tourism; we saw another tour group with a guide and a group on horseback. We decided not to tour the tea factory since nobody was working that day.
For lunch we went to an Indonesian restaurant -- the tables were in little open cabins around a little pond and close to the floor. We ate about 10 different Indonesian dishes -- fish, chicken, mounds of rice, gado-gado (salad with peanut dressing), vegetables.
After lunch we went to a place called Taman Safari Indonesia. Taman means park -- this was a drive through exotic animal park. We bought a bunch of carrots to feed animals, which made for some funny incidents.
Going through the lion, tiger, and bear pens were a little more hairy; Paul wasn't thinking and rolled down his window and almost had a bear in his lap. Our screams must have scared him off.
photos from all of this are at this website:
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