So I have been settled in Jakarta for a few days. In these days I realized that eating a vegetarian meal here is harder than I thought, the neighborhood that I live in turns out to have an exclusive red-light district (so I’m thinking about moving) and I started to be a little less self conscious with everybody staring at me (but I still notice and feel somewhat uncomfortable).
What I want to discuss is what was one of my biggest fears when I came to Jakarta. The traffic. I have to say it was better than I expected, because I only read the horror stories. So to get around Jakarta, you have several options.
- The busway. It only costs like 30 euro cents to do a trip on the bus, no matter the distance. Honestly, I really like the bus, and not to be discriminating at all, but it is mostly because the women and the men sit on opposite sides of the bus. It give me a level of comfort I don’t feel in the streets of my neighborhood. It has its own lane, so it takes you from A to B pretty fast.
- The taxi. It is cheap, but it is still a car. And Jakarta is famous for its traffic jams, so if you get stuck in one, better sit back and relax because it can take a while. I haven’t been in a taxi yet, although I will go hail one right after I finished this post. It seems like the best transportation in the evening/night.
- Walking. It seems logical, but here in Jakarta, people don’t like to walk. I am used to walking a lot (especially if my bike was broken) but here people seem to think walking is kind of weird. Also, they walk extremely slow. Sure, it is warm, but still… I like this way of going around because it gives me a chance to see everything and to stop if I want to. But it does include staring people. Staring people everywhere.
- A motor bike. It is like the bicycles in Groningen. They are everywhere. Everywhere. It seems like the easiest way to get around, because you can easily pass cars etc. on the street. I would never, ever, drive one myself, but there is this service called Go-jek, which is basically drivers picking you up on a motor bike and it is even cheaper than a taxi.
- A car. So this is one of the most confusing things ever. Jakarta has a lot of traffic. There are always traffic jams and it is hard to get around. But then the cars here are the hugest cars I have ever seen! Even if just one person drives, it is a big Land Rover sized car, always. The parking lots are full of them. It seems so impractical to me! Why not get a freaking Smart, so at least you can fit everywhere. Honestly, of all the traffic related subjects, this is the one that gets to me. I do not get it.
So my days usually consists of walking a lot, even if it does include YOLO-style crossing of the streets. It is still the cheapest way to get around and I just do not see the point in getting a vehicle to get me to somewhere nearby.
What also amazes me is that there are no rules. None. Nobody gives way and everyone drives like they own the roads. Amazing.
But for now, it is time for me to hail a blue bird taxi to go to a pool party.
Blog to you later!