Owing to the population density and massive pollution problem in Jakarta, much of daily life is spent indoors. Although the torrential rain, thunder and lightning doesn’t start until about 1.45.p.m. the mornings can be unbearably warm and sticky making a trip to the swimming pool the only feasible outdoor activity for kids. Forgot long walks in the forest, or a bracing jaunt along the windy beach. Forget a morning in the park, happily handing around fruit shoots and Taytos, 99% of children’s activity in Jakarta is indoor.
Having a three year old, takes you into a range of these indoor activity centres and the rules are much the same everywhere. No shoes, wear socks, in the event that you forget socks, they can provide same for the price of a two night trip to Singapore. No food or drinks in the activity areas. Smoking and the consumption of wine prohibited in the parents seating section, (this wasn’t on the posted list of the rules,I found this one out myself). No pushing, shoving, spitting, swearing etc. etc. and the same applied to the children. Same rules apply everywhere, everywhere except Amazonia in Lippo Mall. Amazonia presumably referring to the Amazon, as inferred by the giant plastic monkey head at the entrance. Paying the entrance fee and donning the socks that I of course I had to buy because I always forget to bring, we stood at the gate of the play area waiting to be admitted but not before we had our temperature taken! – after paying the admission fee but before being admitted everyone’s temperature had to be checked and if it was on the high side, then home you go. Try explaining that to a three year old that his day out, wasn’t happening because he was running a bit of a temperature –not fun.
Fun or not, Amazonia formed a large part of our activity until I found out that there was indeed a waterpark in Jakarta, SnowBay, only a half hour away, a best kept secret if you ask me as I hadn’t heard anyone mentioning it. So scrambling to find our togs and a couple of towels, we jumped into the back of the car and shouted ‘To the Waterpark- NOW’. Well not quite but if the driver had better English I would have.
Admission at the waterpark was simple, eight euro admission fee. It was twenty in Doha. Forty in Abu Dhabi and Three and half grand in Portugal when you count the flights, accommodation,etc. No temperature check, no socks, no posted rules on smoking or alcohol, this would be a breeze compared to Amazonia.
Ahh, the great outdoors in Taman Mini City, Jakarta, far enough away from the city that only about 15% of the Japanese contingency wore surgical masks and close enough that you can still see the smog hovering overhead. It was a treat to be out and about in Jakarta, in the outdoors, breathing semi-clean air and looking forward to a day of dipping, dunking and diving or my usual activity, three hours wedged into a float bubbing along in the lazy river.
Like an 80’s cover girl (who gained a little in the 90’s and noughties) I ripped off my clothes to reveal my new shimmering bikini underneath only to realise that I was the only one in the whole waterpark who was showing midriff and rather a lot of, for that matter. I was also the only one showing upper leg and shoulders.
I’m not talking swimsuits here, I’m talking wetsuits. Women wearing ankle length leggings and smocks in the wave pool. Headgear and wrist length swim gear on the brain freeze rides and khafkans and scarves in the lazy river. Believe me, no-one was going to get kicked out here for being too hot. I had forgotten – Indonesia is a Muslim country!, and that for every ‘girl of the world’ out at night trying a snare an expat husband and for every joint smoking, free thinking young Indonesia artist there are thousands of Muslims adhering to the Koran.
Fully dressed, saturated and being carried along in the halal lazy river I can confirm that wearing wet jeans for a day in a waterpark is less fun than having your temperature taken in Amazonia