Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Swarmed at Kopeng - Indonesia

During the weekend, I visited Kopeng, a park nearby Salatiga.  As we drove towards the top of the mountain to reach the park, N had mentioned that the sellers can be a bit annoying.  I didn't fully understand what she meant until after arriving at Kopeng.  For the first time in my life, I experienced the feeling of being swarmed by sellers for fruits, vegetables, and other goods.  It was an interesting, if not surreal experience.  It was also uncomfortable, but I'm grateful for the experience.

Since many may think I look Indonesian, I pretended to be a local, so that we wouldn't get charged extra to enter the park.  I looked away when we entered the gate and N did all the talking.

When we finally parked, two ladies and a young boy with oranges quickly approached the car.  Suddenly, a man started to walk towards us, asking "Do you want to ride the horse?"  He wouldn't leave us alone.  The people followed us around everywhere, including the man selling horse rides. He waited for us outside of the bathroom and also followed us throughout the park repeating the same question, although we continuously refused.


I smiled and waved my hand "no," but it wasn't effective.  N tells them "no thank you" repeatedly, but the sellers continue to force items on you.

We walked around the park and eventually decided to sit on the mats at the park to enjoy some refreshments.  The man mentioned that it's free to sit on the mats and provided us a menu to order from.  I ordered hot orange juice and N drank hot chocolate milk.


As we sat on the mats, a crowd of women began to come towards us.  They desperately tried to sell.  I couldn't understand much of what they were saying, especially when they spoke Javanese.  I was lost, but I knew they wanted us to purchase their goods and sometimes, they would become angry if you refused.

There were some sellers who became upset whenever you refused to buy something.  It was an uncomfortable feeling to be sitting on the mat, trying to enjoy the drinks you purchased, while being swarmed by sellers every few minutes.  I was uncomfortable, especially when we got scammed a couple times.

The man who said the mats were free to sit on, lied.  When we paid for our drinks, he never gave us any change, and stated "you also rented the mat."  There was another couple next to us who had also been swarmed.  After they left, I saw the man eating their leftover food.  I felt grossed out because I don't know if they cleaned our glasses, but it made me think that N and I may have drank from dirty cups.  

Here's a photo of the couple next to us being swarmed ...

Then, an old lady, the same one who pleaded for us to buy vegetables, returned again.  It looked like she had a bloody mouth too, which I later found out was coloring from chewing beetle nut.  N bought something from her.  Next to her, another lady approached, begging for money.  She was extremely old and I felt sorry for her.  I gave in and handed her some money.   She kept on putting her hand out. We decided to quickly escape afterward.

The park does have some beautiful attractions, including a fun pool.  I didn't go inside, but it looked like the kids in the pool were having a great time.

As we left, a "parking" man came out of the wood works.  He helped back up the car and demanded $5,000 rupiah, which is ridiculously high.  N gave him half the money and we quickly sped away.

I recently learned that I will be returning to Kopeng for school, so I wonder if the experience will be any different.  I'll have to let you all know!  There are some interesting things about the park, but you may get swarmed.


  1. Whoa, that's rough getting swarmed like that. I can't imagine how I'd handle that. Maybe get angry and lash out? Maybe start crying? It's weird that they just wouldn't take no for an answer.

    Maybe the experience is a little like how the celebrities feel when swarmed by paparazzi.

  2. That can be extremely annoyed swarmed by people who want to sell you stuffs. Hope that you did not have any health problems after eating food purchased from that dirty stand.

  3. Check my blog, there's something for you there :)

  4. Eleni, It actually wasn't that bad, but it was a really uncomfortable feeling. hehehehe Also, thanks for the nomination Eleni!

    John, thank God I didn't get sick. I really hope he cleaned the glasses, but I'm not sure. LOL


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