Joel’s Birthday Treat


We pass Wonderia a couple of times a week and Joel always comments on how spooky and abandoned it looks, which puts it at the top of the list of Joel’s must visit places.  Last week being his birthday week, it was finally time to venture behind the colorful Wonderia gates to see Semarang’s only amusement park in all its glory.   And glorious it was, if you’re into places that look like an old Scooby-Doo episode come to life.  We read online that the park was built in 2007, how it managed to fall into this severe a state of disrepair in only nine years is unbelievable and amazing.  The reviews around town are that Wonderia is old, janky and unsafe.  Every parent that we surveyed came to the same consensus that they would never bring their children here and yet somehow that fact heightened the thrill factor for us.


First up we wanted to hit the Ghost House.  We were the only people in the park so one of the employees stood by the ticket booth, asked us what we wanted to ride then walked over with us and proceeded to start getting the ride up and running.   We rode the car about two meters before we heard a pop and the car stopped… for good.  We each paid 10,000 rupiah to get in and 7,000 for the tickets (about $1.23 total per person) so dammit we were going to ride something!  We waited while the employee shut down Ghost House and then walked us over to the one spot he was sure he could get working: the bumper-cars.


The food mural wall was odd but somehow not out of place.  Shown here was one of the two headless chicken bodies with a happy garlic. The merry-go-round, like the Ghost House, was not in working order, but no one seemed to mind that I unlocked the gate and went in for some photos.


The Wonderia Monorail was functioning and it was also a horrible idea.  The calm looking selfie I took was before this crazy train started moving.  It looked about as old as Father Time and swayed back and forth with the steadiness of a drunk tight-rope walker.


All in all, Wonderia was pretty much exactly what we expected- a collapsing, technicolor dystopia.  I’m glad we had the park to ourselves for our first visit because it added to the eerie mystique.  Next time, we’re coming back on one of the weekend nights when the parking lot is packed with hundreds of scooters and you can hear the music bumping from outside the gates.  I’d be into seeing an Indonesian rock band here, however I’ll definitely be skipping the monorail.


Missing the Seasons


Seasons are a big deal in Seattle.  Summers are short and incredibly sweet, winters are long but temperatures are much milder than people imagine. The hardest part of the move to Seattle from North Carolina was not the rain but the darkness.  Being so far north, the days get very short in the winter, like 4:00pm-get-your-ass-to-bed-cause-it’s-DARK kinda short.  Winters really make you yearn for some sunshine so when Joel came back to the PNW after two years in Jakarta, it was hard to get on board with his worship of grey skies.  How could he be sick of something that we Seattleites crave so badly?!

Well it’s taken about six weeks but I’m sick of the damn sun.  In Indonesia the sun is very similar to the loud dance music they play in the malls- it’s inescapable!   It’s just so damn bright and hot all the time.  I’ve always been okay with sun if it comes with beach and yes I know I live in a coastal city on a tropical island, but the beaches in the city are so polluted that the water isn’t somewhere you’d want to swim.  It’s pretty depressing.

So I’ve found myself living vicariously through my facebook feed- hiking in a puffy vest, baking holiday bread and prepping for Thanksgiving. I never imagined I would miss a Seattle winter but here I am browsing through typical PNW misty, grey photos feeling like I’m missing out on 40 degree weather.



No post on missing out would be complete if I didn’t mention Blanche.  I miss Blanche so bad!   Anytime the doorbell rings on a TV show and no one barks I get a little depressed.   I know Blanche is in good hands (staying with my friend Melanie in Raleigh) but it doesn’t make the distance any easier.  I hope she knows that I’m thinking of her and coming back to smother her in smooches real soon! Blanche-and-mommy