During the couple days we stayed in Jakarta, we went to see Monas (the National Monument) and went shopping. We needed a prescription dive mask for Jacob and I really wanted to go to the mall with the world’s largest indoor slide.
The FX mall is pretty much like an upscale US mall but with a twisting slide going right through the middle. They give you loads of protective gear and a super fast slidy mat to sit on. We went down 5 stories in 11 seconds!
On our way out, we saw a club on the top floor with the doors open, it provided a nice view of Jakarta, so we wandered in. A really nice woman about our age came out and asked what we were doing and we started chatting with her. Kezah had studied at Ohio State and was now back in Jakarta managing this night club. We all took such a liking to each other that we offered to take her to dinner later in the night.
We set off to do our errand – the prescription dive mask. It turns out the dive store is 3 doors down from Kezah’s house! The dive shop was the most professional store we had seen yet in all of Indo. They all spoke at least some English, with the manager (or owner?) speaking the best. We got Jacob his mask and a snorkel, got me a mask and snorkel in pink, and got recommendations for where to get certified in Manado, Sulawesi (the owner “has a friend” who does dive certification). We took the TransJakarta bus back to our hotel to rest and clean up for dinner.
We went to Thai food which was *amazing* and Kezah offered us lots of advice about where to go (she suggested a day trip to Bandung), how to get there (the local shuttle bus), and even hooked us up with her cousin who “has a friend” who could drive us around Bandung.
We took the Cipaganti shuttle bus, which was an 8 person, super comfy van, to Bandung and the driver met us at the mall. The driver, Dedi, didn’t speak a *word* of English, so Jacob got plenty of practice in Bahasa Indonesia. Turns out the easiest way to communicate was by text, so any time we were wandering around and needed to tell Dedi to get us, we texted him.
Our first stop was to the mall where Kezah’s cousin worked so we could meet him and take him to lunch. He offered us advice on where to go in Bandung and after lunch we headed out to Tanguban Prahu, a collapsed volcano up in the hills. Looking down into it, there were bubbling turquoise pools and to the side were little huts along the ridge where people sell all kinds of crap.
We didn’t really have time for a walk around the crater as we both really wanted to see a tea plantation (turns out this trip is really better as a day and night not just a day trip). We got to the tea plantation at the perfect time to take gorgeous photos of the grounds. It was almost quitting time at the tea factory, but the manager took us around the works anyway. It’s interesting that the whole time, the leaves are earmarked as lower quality for local markets and higher quality for export. We got to see the whole process of black tea which is something like this:
- it all starts as green leaves of tea
- a giant drying area dries the green leaves
- it gets sent to the chopping machines
- the chopped green leaves are fermented
- the now brown leaves are cooked in ovens (they use wood for the fire)
- the tea is juttered around to get the fine bits out
- it is packaged for sale