I actually do know the name of the one below – it is “Rattan,” a type of palm that has long, light, and strong wooden vine-line branches. These vines are often used for furniture… we have a couch that has armrests made out of rattan!
|A rattan palm with its trademark vines|
Here is a Pterocarpus indicus Willd. It had extraordinarly broad roots that stretched for several meters (gotta use the metric system here in Indonesia). Our firs in the Pacific Northwest topple so easily in windstorms; I wonder what kind of winds it would take to topple a tree like this, or if it is even possible for it to topple at all.
No botanical garden would be complete without a tree that could unequivocally gore you to death, and we found that in the Pholidocarpus majadum. All palms have spikes at their stems, but the spikes on this palm were particularly noteworthy. Note to all tree-huggers: stay away from Pholidocarpus.
Finally, I saw one more tree that actually reminded me of home. The leaves of Quassica indica Noteboom looked somewhat similar to the laurel hedge that is so present around Seattle. It wasn’t a particularly pretty tree (sorry, tree) but still, it reminded me of Seattle, so I had to take a picture of it.
We later came across a stunning orchid greenhouse, which was without a doubt the highlight of our flora adventure. Unfortunately, my camera battery was toast by then.
After seeing much of the botanical garden, we crossed a suspension bridge across a cement canal made for diverting water that falls over the mountains above Bogor out to sea. The mountains above Bogor are exceptionally rainy, and Bogor itself is known as the “rainy city,” amassing over 140 inches of rain each year. When we crossed the bridge, it had not started raining in Bogor yet, but it was pouring over the mountains, as evidenced by the torrent of water rushing through the canal.
After we crossed the bridge, we came across a museum with a massive blue whale skeleton. It’s easy to take for granted how big whales are, but when you really think about it, it’s absolutely stunning how massive these animals can be. When an animal’s tongue weighs as much as all 22 football players on the gridiron, you know you are dealing with a truly massive animal.
The museum was filled with all sorts of models of lower-level life forms. Even though I’m a huge fan of marlin, there’s no denying that they do not have the brainpower of a blue whale. There were models of amphibians and reptiles as well. Unfortunately, I did not see any live animals or plants.
There were, however, tons of schoolboys and schoolgirls, and wherever we were, they would always flock to us and want to take pictures with us. It was extremely flattering. I know I will be treated more ‘regularly’ when I go back to Seattle, but hopefully I can take away some confidence knowing that I am a very unique person. I definitely feel very out of place pretty much all the time, but that’s one of the attractions of going to a foreign country. If you never took any chances and never went outside of your comfort zone, I think you would be missing out on chances to broaden your worldview and improve your self-esteem. That being said, it really helps that my mom and brother know some Indonesian and that most people speak some English.
Living is very cheap here. A good meal costs 1-2 dollars per person, meaning that four people can eat out and get drinks for less than 10 bucks. The most expensive restaurants are actually foreign chains. There are lots of KFCs, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks scattered throughout the area, and the prices there are far higher than anything at any sit-down restaurant.