Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kebun Teh Wonosari
This past weekend was an excursion to the Wonosari Tea Plantation, just outside Malang on Mt. Arjuna. The plantation was gorgeous, and they've got an argiturismo thing going on there – playgrounds for kids, cottages to stay in, tours of the factory, pony rides, a little zoo. On the other hand, they've got the biggest bugs I've ever seen: spiders that could eat the wolf spiders in Saranac Lake in one bite and then come back for seconds; big grasshopper things that could give the spiders a good fight. I took pictures, maybe I'll even manage to post them (again, internet very limited). Saw a snake too, and two toads mating in the pool.
We started out with a little hike up through the tea fields up the mountain, which, like all the mountains around here, is actually a volcano. So there, I did that. Homework was to interview some tea pickers, which was less awkward than you'd think, since everyone here is thrilled to talk to Americans, especially the crazy ones who actually speak a little Indonesian. Didn't expect that to come out of my mouth, eh? After lunch we took a train tour of the plantation, complete with commentary that no one understood, and a tour of the factory, which no one understood either. We did learn a pretty awesome Indonesian version of rock-paper-scissors, and got to taste the tea we saw being picked. And yes, I bought a pile to take home. The expensive stuff was a little under $2. Again, I <3 Indonesia.
Next up was some free time, so we wandered over to the little zoo and took pictures with the cassowary, which looks like the love child of an emu and a bear mated with a dinosaur. Big, colorful, and mean looking, with feet that wouldn't be out of place on a pterodactyl. Dinner, some games with the group – felt like summer camp all over again – and some singing by the Indonesians. I escaped when Pak Peter announced that everyone would have to take a turn and went off to stargaze. Great stars out there, but I didn't recognize anything. Guess I really am on the other side of the world.
After breakfast in the morning I headed down to the pool. I hadn't brought a bathing suit, but my clothes from the day before worked just fine. Ever try swimming in long pants and a light sweater? I think someone took pictures. Though with all the girls in jilbab bathing suits, I kind of fit right in.
Poor Yusinta, my peer tutor, got carsick on the way home, with the hot sun & heavy traffic. It's pretty hot here, though after a few days I stopped noticing it, other than being asked by my Indonesian friends on lovely warm evenings, “cold out, isn't it?”, but that car really was a little stifling. I think we passed an oxcart or two on the way in, chickens by the side of the road, definitely a pair of goats at one point. Like I said, other side of the world.