I had pretty low expectations for Taman Safari, a conservation/amusement park about an hour away from Bogor. I knew there was a zoo where you could drive your car through. Students told funny stories of zebras sticking their heads inside the car and they all screamed, etc. No one really raved of the place, but I had always wanted to at least check it out before we go.
What I didn’t know was how big the park was, how well organized it was, how the animal areas were so beautiful and well constructed (better than any zoo I’ve ever seen) and how the rest of the park had so many different forms of entertainment!
We arrived around 9:30 am and stayed until almost 6:00 at night. The day was packed with so much, from the actual zebra head in the car moments, to an acrobatic show, cowboy show (with Hollywood size set, people and animal choreography and effects), two haunted houses, a dolphin show, Globe of Death (with 4 motorcycles circling each other inside), kid rides, and NO LINES!
We walked from one thing to the next buying snacks and feeding orangutans, and seemed to always magically arrive only a few minutes before the next show started. It was great! And to be honest felt like it really blew Disneyland out of the water with cost and efficiency of time spent. Only tip is to go early as to avoid traffic to Puncak. If you ever find yourself on Java, I highly recommend checking out Taman Safari, a beautiful park in the middle of a jungle.
We’ve talked about mangosteen, rambutan, and mangos before… Now let’s talk jackfruit!
Jackfruit is a very strange looking but tasty fruit. It seems to grow pretty wild in Indonesia (though I remember seeing them all over the place in Thailand too), making trees look like they have large, spiky, cancerous growths hanging from them.
But thankfully someone had the guts to open one of these and discover the delicious yellow pods inside. Don’t mistake these for durians, which are also spiky on the outside. The durian fruit is really stinky, banned in many public places, and tastes very distinct (Death and dirty socks? Yum!). Jackfruit on the other hand has an interesting flavor, familiar, but unique. Maybe a cross between a pineapple and mango?
I had been craving jackfruit for over a month and haven’t been able to find it in any stores. So yesterday at the traditional market I bought a quarter of one for a dollar. Today I cracked into it and started carving out the pods.
Tips: Use a sharp knife and pre-coat your fingers in oil to prevent the inner peals from sticking all over you. The stickiness doesn’t wash off with soap and water! (Picture me turning to my pembantu this afternoon, hands sticky to high hell shouting “help me!!!” And her laughing.) Once you remove and wash the pods, you can eat the fruit. Discard the pits as you go.
I come home to a bouquet of flowers pretty much daily because Eliana likes to pick flowers on her way home from school. She can turn a 15 minute walk into an hour with the determination to pick the right flowers for her bouquet. Thank god our pembantu is patient.
This flower has been dedicated to Savta and Aunt Lila.
I’ve mentioned exotic fruits here before, such as how to cut mangos and where to buy rambutan. But today I’d like to introduce you to the mangosteen.
The shell is usually dark purple, almost black, and is very hard. Once you cut it open, a white soft fleshy ball can be found inside. The flesh is extremely soft and juicy and tastes so unique. I honestly can’t think of another similar taste, but it is wonderful.
The only real drawbacks is the inconvenience of having to cut it open and the difficulty of getting a ripe one (my luck usually finds me overripe fruit here). But today my friends, behold the perfectly ripe mangosteen. I highly recommend you try one!
Shoot back a Nescafé after dinner and find a 10 year old babysitter to watch your kid, cause we’re going to the traditional market. It starts at 10:00pm.
Every exotic fruit and vegetable you can think of. Salted fish, tofu and chicken carcasses line the street. Merchants lay next to their goods and passively sell you a kilo of cucumbers for 5,000 rupiah. That’s about 6 fresh organic cucumbers for $.50, my friend.
We walked away with a kilo of cucumbers, carrots, celery, onions, mangos, some “sweet cucumber” surprise, and a watermelon for Elles. All for about $5 total. Pretty rad.