Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dear Kukka: Happy 5th Birthday!

Whenever I feel weak
I look at your energetic self

Whenever I feel angry
I learn from your purity and innocence 

Whenever I feel unworthy
I drown myself in your hugs 

Whenever I feel unloved
I hear your sweet voice whispering “I love you, Bubu”

I am strong. I am calm. I am worthy. I am definitely loved. 

And it’s all because Allah SWT. have sent me an angel, exactly 5 years ago today. 

Happy 5th birthday, Precious Godsend!

You are my pillar of strength and my inspiration
My pride and my joy
My love of my life

My unconditional love and never-ending prayers are with you. 

Forever and always.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Malang I'm in Love

Let me begin this long post with the word: Wow.

I was arranging a trip to Legoland for Kukka when my very well-informed friends told me about Batu Secret Zoo in Batu, Malang. They told me that it was supposedly a very nice zoo. Different from the ones we knew in Jakarta or even Taman Safari. So I started to google. And my amazement started when I first opened the website. Long story short, Legoland can wait. I want to take my animal-lover daughter to this zoo.

Our trip began on July, 1st. The minute we arrived in Malang I already fell in love with the fresh, clean and cool air. They were right. It was cold in Malang. Cooler than Puncak or even Bandung? From the airport we drove straight to our hotel in Batu, The Singhasari Resort. Great place. It would’ve been perfect if the food is at least on good level :D 

That evening we visited Batu Night Spectacular. Another recommendation from another well-informed friend. Lucky me :) Batu Night Spectacular is like, borrowing my mom’s words: “Pasar Malam”. Don’t expect “modern” things around here. The rides are quaint but they seem to be in good conditions. From rollercoasters to the standard merry-go-round. Kukka’s first ride here was the Crazy House. Nauseating for me :p But her favorite part must be the lanterns. The lantern park is probably the most “modern” part of BNS :D You can see lots of lantern with different shapes all over a well-trimmed and clean garden. From a hot air baloon to Mickey Mouse. I’d love to sit on one of the park benches. But it was getting a bit late and Kukka looked already sleepy. We had fun and we drove back to the hotel feeling happy. The cool evening air added value to our visit. So, yes. Batu Night Spectacular is definitely a must-visit. 

The next morning I was once again in awe. It was a beautiful sunny morning with blue sky and cool wind. Somehow it reminded me of Europe... Our view from the hotel was spectacular.

No filter added!! 

It was definitely a great day to visit a zoo. So after a morning swim, off we went to Batu Secret Zoo. 

The view from our pool-access room

It is located in Jawa Timur Park 2, along with Museum Satwa. How was BSZ??? They should’ve named it Batu Spectacular Zoo! Seriously! I would never have thought that there is such a place here! Have they been keeping this place a secret??? Hence the name??? This place reminded me of The Berliner Zoo in Germany! Well, minus the huge forest-like area that is :D But seriously! Batu Secret Zoo is modern, clean and big with animals who actually move and make sounds! The monkeys are screaming, the lemurs replying and the tigers are roaring. They look fit, no too-foul smell anywhere and clean. No skinny tigers in sight, alhamdulillah :) My favorite was the majestic looking Siberian tiger. He (she?) is HUGE!!! And it seemed like I could almost stroke his fur by simply putting my hand on the glass cage... My face was *THIS* close to the Bengal tiger too! On the White Tiger’s area the floor is made of glass so you can watch the tigers playing beneath your feet! Wicked, huh?! 

My Godsend’s favorite was probably Dumbo, a name she gave to a rather small elephant. Probably a toddler? :)) I don’t know why but that elephant was alone. It turned out that Kukka was worried about it being lonely. Rain came in the afternoon. Lucky us we were in the foodcourt. We stayed there for quite a while. Hubster even had a snooze with his head on the table. When the rain stopped Kukka immediately asked to visit Dumbo again. So we had to drive our e-bikes back to the elephant area (Yes, we rented e-bikes! The place was too huge for us to walk through :p). When she saw Dumbo again, she said “Good. You’re fine. You’re doing okay. It’s not raining anymore. You’re not lonely anymore.” Sweetness overload. :) We had a rather hard time to ask Kukka to go out of BSZ. She’s an avid animal lover in a very nice zoo. So...yeah... :)) But it was getting dark. And we still had another place to visit. 

Next to BSZ is the Museum Satwa. Now that’s another cool place. A modern looking museum with giant dinosaurs’ skeleton and cool and very dramatic dioramas. No old-smell included like in Museum Zoologi Bogor, obviously :D Being in Museum Satwa somehow reminded me of the movie Night at the Museum :))) Nothing much to say about Museum Satwa other than the above because... Well, it’s a museum. You know what to expect in there. 

That evening we decided to have dinner in the famous Melati Restaurant in Hotel Tugu. The food was delicious indeed. My biggest regret was finding out that the hotel is said to be very creepy (read: historical). I would’ve took a walk around the hotel if I knew it. So yes, I missed the famous creepy painting of Oei Hui Lan and other spooky corners of Hotel Tugu :(

Jatim Park 1 was on the list for the next destination. Unfortunately it was raining and the sky was rather gloomy. But when we arrived in Jatim Park 1 the rain had stopped. Now, Jatim Park 1 claims to be Taman Belajar dan Rekreasi. It was indeed :D It’s like visiting TMII, right to the atmosphere and the quality of the architecture. Now, my daughter was not impressed. It’s totally understandable. Like for example, looking at the puppets in Indonesian traditional clothing gave even me the creeps! Their faces look like...mummies :D The whole park was clean though and the science area was interesting. Just a bit smelly at the Baby Zoo area. But to be honest, I will skip this park if we ever visit Batu again :D 

So, when Kukka asked to go to Batu Secret Zoo again, we said yes. But this time we just followed Kukka’s “order” on where to go and when to stop. After all, we’ve already seen them all. I think :D Oh, on our second visit, we finally managed to take lots of pictures with a super cute and cuddly white tiger cub. As a catlover, this was my personal dream-come-true! I wish I could bring him home with me. I'm sure he will get along with our 3 Maine Coons at home :D

So on the 3rd day we had to leave Batu and headed to Malang, the city and stayed at Harris Hotel. We had dinner at another well-known place, Toko Oen. The whole place brought me back to my grandmother’s old house in Jl. Sam Ratulangi, Menteng. I had Wienerschnitzel and it tasted quite good for a Rp 50.000 steak. But it wasn’t like I’ve expected. Hubster said it must be famous because of the atmosphere and the vintage look of the place rather than the food. 

On July 4th we had to go back home. It turned out 4 days 3 nights wasn’t enough to explore Malang. We didn’t get the chance to see the waterfalls, ECO Green Park, the apple trees etc and we also didn’t have time to try out the famous culinary places :D Maybe next time... Alhamdulillah, the holiday was a blast. We're bringing home one happy Cookie :) 

And if we do ever visit Malang and Jatim Park again, there are things that I will remember, such as:

Bring proper jackets, scarfs and long pants/jeans because it’s C.O.L.D!! Rain jacket for the little one and umbrellas. Buy Paket Sakti from the very first day. 1 ticket, valid for 2 days for Jatim Park 1, Jatim Park 2, ECO Green Park and Batu Night Spectacular. Google more and put all the must-visit culinary places in Notes. 

Oh, and don’t forget to pack extra patience. It’s definitely needed because the people here don’t seem to understand the concept of queuing :D

Peace out.