The night before leaving for Java, both UNAS and Rutgers students decided to celebrate our last night at a karaoke place. At first everyone was understandably shy but as time passed by and more laughter filled the room, our bond started to blossom. The most quiet people in the group had the most beautiful singing voices of the whole group. When they sang, my jaw hit the floor because it was so unexpected.
The next morning we left for Bogor on the Javan Island. I had no idea as to where we were going to stay, however as I got off the bus I was in awe. The city was absolutely gorgeous and to top it all off we were staying in the Botanical Gardens for two nights. Just standing on the lawn brought a smile to my face. My view was incredible! I was surrounded by trees and flowers from all over the globe. The vibrant greenery from the garden was hypnotizing and I felt as if I was living in a fantasy world. I wanted this to be my life every single day if possible. During the night we went out to explore the city filled with food carts, tuk tuks, and happy people singing. We decided to explore the mall which was highly impressive compared to American malls. They were several stories high, filled with both European and American brands. The malls were more western with a touch of Indonesian culture.
7/28/16 Today we had a tour of the garden. Our tour guide told us how the garden first belonged to the Dutch who colonized the country, but was eventually given to the Indonesian once they gained independence. We were also told that the President preferred to stay in the botanical garden instead of the capital, which I can completely understand as to why. Interestingly there were also a ton of Indian deer that inhabited the garden. The deer was a gift to Indonesia from India and they have multiplied ever since.
At one point some of the Rutgers students were stopped by locals and other foreigners and asked about our stay here. This took awhile since the people were highly curious about us Americans. I was able to escape an endless line of selfies since I looked more like the locals. Aside from the enormous trees, vibrant colors and enchanting orchid house, my favorite part was spotting the flying fox. I absolutely love bats and being able to see my favorite frugivore was a dream come true! Bats in general are misunderstood creatures and the larger they are the scarier they seem to people. The flying fox is a megabat and their size can be pretty intimidating. However people should not be afraid this mammal since they only eat fruit and want nothing to do with humans in the first place. Seeing these bats makes me want to continue my research in protecting these creatures in anyway that I can.