I was finally able to go on my first road trip in my new home yesterday! I had three driving buddies this time around. We drove to Bogor, which was about two hours south of here. We went to visit the Botanical Garden of Buitenzorg. It houses different plant species from all over the world. The trees in this place were incredible; some were as tall as high rise office buildings! This place is also famous for housing a species of flower commonly referred to as bunga bangkai or corpse flower because when blooming, it smells like decomposing flesh. Unfortunately this flower grows for an entire year before blooming for a solitary day. We'll have to keep an eye on it and visit again during its bloom!
As we have a week off of school for Idul Fitri (the end of Ramadan) several of us hopped our of bed at 3 am and jumped on a plane to Jakarta. We had a long to-do list and crossed one item off by renting a car + driver to go to Taman Safari, a drive-through animal park, just outside of Jakarta. Animals from elephants to alligators to hippos were just out of arms reach as we cruised the park.
At one point on our venture, we experienced a bit of deja vu as we approached a stone archway and mechanical gate reminiscent of Jurassic Park. A variety of signs warned us to stay inside our vehicle and keep the windows up if we didn't want to get eaten by tigers or lions. We got up close and personal with some pretty ferocious, albeit drugged, creatures.
At the end of our tour, after checking out some monkeys and giraffes, we had a photo-op. I got to high-five a lion and cuddle with an orangutan.