I’ve found some new-found freedom here in the Big Jak. I’ve been driving my motorcycle a lot this week, now that I finally have licence plates for it, and it’s given me some ability to get around and snap photos that I’ve not had the opportunity to take.
This girl, painted on a wall at a corner on a one-way section of Jalan Kemang Raya, watches me every time I go by her. Today, I got out and took her picture. I like her headband-ears.
Now that I’ve got mobility, I think it’s time to find some more street art.
Often, people around here will make jokes about how, if you wanted to, you could not get the attention of the police if you really needed them. Maybe this is why the expectations of Jakartans are not that high.
Or is it “peek-a-Benz”?
One of the many forms of transportation around Jakarta. I’ve thought about giving some of these forms a try, and then I remember that I like walking. And living. Living is good.
This week’s photo challenge is BIG. I am in Kuala Lumpur at the moment and found this very big James Bond overlooking a major traffic route. I guess they really like James Bond around here.
Tiga. Number three. The third part of my commute. Here it is…no words.
So…up the hill. The motorcycles, which my wife and I are now looking at purchasing, race down the hill to the school past me, the big white guy, and the guy over there on my right. He, and many others like him, moves around the city collecting anything from the garbage. Anything that’s worth keeping is kept, and all else is burned on the street when it makes too big a pile.
Then past Kemang Barat, a road that we used to walk until we knew there were other ways to get to school. It goes off to the right.
Past Barat is where the tailors and shops start up. It’s also where motorcycles, cars, and bicycles really get to interact.
Then, on past the New Zealand International School on the right and the stone lions on the left.
Then, Kemang Raya. See you tomorrow.
Yeah, so…the Bajaj. It’s pronounced “Bah Jye” and it is my least favorite way of getting around Jakarta. Here’s the good: it’s cheap and quick and the drivers maneuver in and out of cars to effectively take the longest but fastest route.
But…they smell, they pollute, are often dirty, and, because I’m over six feet tall and weigh more than two hundred pounds, very small. Even most of the drivers don’t really fit inside their own vehicles.
Despite that, they are fun to photograph.
I wondered, when everyone told me, “You wait for the Lebaran holiday…just wait for Idul Fitri. The city empties,” what they were talking about. How can traffic differ so much because of a holiday in a city of 28 million?
Then, this morning. I noticed that there was no noise at all as I walked back to my apartment from the pool. No traffic. No background hum. No Jakarta. It was as though the city was shut down. Everyone had gone home. No one was stirring.
I snapped the bottom photo a little over a month ago. I snapped the top photo about two hours ago. I’d say that I get what everyone was talking about.
I love this city. Maybe this whole country has signs like this, but I think any city that has parking for “Lady Drivers Only” has got to be a pretty sensitive place.
Deep down, in my thirteen-year-old heart, I love cars like this. They speak to raw power and fun and shininess. Loud noises and pretty curves. The lines are fun to follow. It’s why, despite our need to cut our dependence on fossil fuels, these cars can bring out 15000 people on a weekend to wander around Chilliwack’s downtown and inspire them to daydream.
My entire world has just drastically changed, literally speaking. The snow that has shut down my city for the last four days just turned to freezing rain. The temperature in the clouds is warm enough to be raining, but the temperature on the ground is four degrees below zero. What that means is that everything is coated in a thick layer of ice. I snapped this in my driveway because I liked the way the light was playing off the ice coating my car. Also because I have no desire to drive anywhere until the temperature heads north of zero.
What is beautiful, however, is how the entire visible world outside my window has this unbroken, unsullied, pristine shininess. So shiny…
Actually, I think it needs a lot of work.
Actually…I don’t think it’ll ever run again.
It is beautiful, in a twisted, rusty, never work again kind of way.
It’s late. Sorry. I had some grocery shopping to do and my wife’s got a bit of a migraine. Nothing I can’t handle, but nothing I want to ignore either. The photographs can always wait a little.
This was shot on my way home from work tonight. I guess it must have been a nice day.
I took a little walk down the street from where I live tonight and snapped these two photos, which I processed and then merged in an up and down diptych. There is an RCMP training center here and they have all of these police cars sitting in a compound waiting to be turned into patrol cars. I shot them through the fence and the whole time I kept thinking that I’d arouse some suspicion, seeing as there are signs everywhere like the one above: NO TRESPASSING. I know that I wasn’t trespassing, but I was hanging around with a camera and maybe that’s enough to get in trouble.
Sheesh. I’m turning into such an adult.
This is beauty in car form. This is the headlight of a 1957 Oldsmobile car. It makes me smile. The little rocket ships above the headlight on the fender make me smile even more. I’m sure that some salesman back in 1957 used the line that these little babies make the car more aerodynamic, but I’m also sure they do nothing but look cool.
I bought my car in 2004. As I drove it home, I thought I saw many other drivers driving the same car as I had just purchased. It turned out that they all looked the same, but were made by other manufacturers. They were all grey and boxy. No curves. No sex appeal.
The ’57 Olds? Tons of sexiness. The fenders. The chrome. The curve of the bumper. The people who designed this car wanted Marilyn Monroe in car form: lots of curves and big…uh… headlights. I think they succeeded.
I avoided the highway today. Too many travelers in the way for me, the petty commuter.
It was the beginning of the long weekend here, the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s named for Queen Victoria, by the way, but I’m not much of a royalist so I can’t tell you much more about it.
As for what it means around here? It means that thousands, tens of thousands, of people all decide to be outdoorsy all on the same weekend. It marks the opening of the campground season and boating season and, well, traffic season. The weather was beautiful, the sun was out, the cars were on the road. And so begins the smoggy, hazy, traffic-filled summer. Yay!
Photo Friday‘s challenge this week is “Ride.” The Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress is “Old.” I immediately thought of a photo I took over a year ago. This is a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. Someone has spent a great deal of time making this one beautiful.
As a kid, this is the car I wanted. That was before I understood gas mileage and oil costs and maintenance. Before I lost the dream for the lameness of reality.
Still, it’s a beautiful, old ride.