Friday, December 25, 2009

The hamsterballs of Mekarsari

I had never before seen a giant floating hamsterball for humans. But as soon as I saw one, I knew I'd been looking for it my whole life.

As my lovely assistant (and housemate) Melanie demonstrates, you get into the hamsterball and have it blown up around you with the help of a big air hose. Then you get closed in with a surprisingly robust zipper-and-velcro affair.

You can't stand up for very long on the water, but it's fun to run like a hamster on a wheel until it gets unbearably hot and suffocating, which takes about two minutes. Unfortunately the ball is tethered to the shore so you can't hamster your way to the middle of the lake and then pass out in a dramatic heap and require rescuing.

The hamsterballs are at Mekarsari, a big recreational park outside Jakarta. Mekarsari seems to specialize in strange floaty things, including these big colorful rolls.

There were also bicycle boats. My lovely assistant (and housemate) Drew stood gazing at them longingly until someone came along and let us rent them. They were good exercise and the access to oxygen meant we could ride them around a lot longer.

After that, everybody needed some coconut water. It was served the traditional way, right in the coconuts, with a spoon so you can scrape curls of flesh off the inside walls.

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