I’m loving the motorcycle. It gets me to roads and places I’ve not been to before. This is an alley I have been down, but I’ve never come down it from this direction. Good times.
I am somewhere around 188cm tall, and just over 100kg. This makes me huge by Indonesian standards. Everyone is so much smaller than me. I particularly enjoy my experiences shopping here. I’ve asked the salespeople if they have shirts for guys my size, or pants for my size, and I get total honesty. No run-around at all.
“Do you have a shirt my size?”
No checking in the back. No asking around. No looking on other racks. They know that I am an anomaly.
So when I bought my motorcycle and the salesman delivered it with a helmet, I was cautious in my optimism. It turned out that the biggest helmet they had sits quite a way above my head, not so much on it. I had to do some hunting, but the helmet that you see above not only fits, it fits well. It was more expensive than some, less expensive than many. I tried on twenty helmets, and this one did not leave me gasping for air, claustrophobic, or feeling like I was going to tear my own ears off trying to remove it.
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.
For now, I’m posting another angle on the Vespas up my street. I will bring my camera with me tomorrow, and snap some new stuff. In the meantime, please accept these broken-down vehicles.
The technique here is to turn the camera upside-down and rest the bottom of the camera on the ceiling of the vehicle in which you’re riding. The camera is inverted. Your camera will turn everything back right-side-up afterwards.
This way, I always get the ceiling reflection and the people in the train.
This was shot on an airport transfer train of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The most fun way to get around on foot is to take these back alleys. I often am not sure where I’m going to end up, but that’s the adventure of wandering through back lanes.
It should be said that most of these alleys are, in fact, full roads that are used by motorcycles and cars. And no, they’re not really big enough for that, but that’s how they’re used.
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 Datsun is parked in the alleyway that I walk to work. I’ve snapped a couple of photos of it, and the last time I did the owner was quick to inform me that it was for sale. I guess he spotted me checking it out and figured maybe he could get rid of it. I’ve actually always liked these cars, so it would have been a good fit, it I weren’t living in Jakarta.
…to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. “
So said Mark Twain, and I agree. I think that there are other agents for the fatality of negative human attributes, like education and education. And I should be clear – some people can travel the world looking for McDonald’s restaurants and Macy’s stores and Holiday Inn hotels. They can avoid all the culture and ethnicity and find North America everywhere they go, complaining that no one speaks English. Sadly, I’ve been around some of those people as I’ve traveled around South Asia.
I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling with and around people who are looking for a better understanding of the world and its people. It may be, though, that it’s the attitude of the traveler that will determine whether prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness are fatally eradicated. Mark Twain, from what I’ve read, seemed to be the kind of man who was willing to challenge himself as well as others. Some people, sad people, do not have any desire to upend their tiny understanding of the world.
This photo is brought to you by the Kuala Lumpur International Airport…or their ceiling installations anyway. These giant pinwheels light the hallways of the International Flights in the main terminal.
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.
Not much time to post tonight, but I wanted to post this photo of motorcycles taking off (in motion) away from me yesterday morning. Can’t wait to buy my own.
On the way home today, I snapped this shot while walking with my son this afternoon. Sometimes one has to wait a little to get the right shot. There was traffic coming towards me as I was shooting this, but I waited until they all passed by and I was able to get this shot of a father and his child, holding hands, looking at flowers.
I think it was worth the wait.
I shot this from the window of the bus as I traveled from Jakarta to Bandung. We, my family and friends, went to Bandung for three reasons: outlet shopping, viewing a live volcano, and watching an angklung performance. On the way up, we passed a number of rest stops, but this one came with its own masjid, or mosque. Very beautiful, for a rest stop.
…I haven’t the foggiest. The gates on yards here in South Jakarta are often pretty, sometimes elaborate, sometimes looking like they were cobbled together with what might have been a nice gate at one point and then beefed up in security by slapping barbed wire and corrugated metal on them.
This one, I thought, was pretty nice.
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.
Taking a Bajaj (pronounced “ba-jai”) is probably not life-threatening. It is, however, the cheapest thrill ride you’ll ever take. This photo doesn’t do the ride justice, as the road ahead is relatively clear of other vehicles, but not a minute before I took this shot we were bumper to side fender with a van. Our driver leaned on his horn – it sounded like a goose with laryngitis – and continued our journey home.
I saw this gate post on the way home and I thought it looked cool.
What do you think?
Today is going to be a horrendous day. I’ve got a pep rally to help run and my leadership students will be setting up for a professional development day after school. Ahh…but I’m not marking this weekend, so I actually get a weekend.
I can get through the day. I can get through the day. I can get…
Oh, and look. Public transportation. I was so busy thinking of my day that I forgot there was a photo up there.
Hmm…I wonder if they’re going to the same place.
It’s always lovely when a photographic subject does exactly what I want.
Last night, after I had dinner, I walked over to the Skytrain station at Lougheed Town Center Station and bought a ticket. I didn’t ride the train, but I was supposed to buy a ticket in order to get to the area wherein I could ride if I wanted. I bought the ticket so that I could shoot some photos of people waiting for the train.
I got a bunch of good photos, but this one was particularly appreciated, seeing as how this young man turned and looked back at the exact moment I snapped the photo. To him: thanks.
Seriously. I actually wonder this.
Those of you who have read this blog for a while may have seen a similar photo about a year ago, during the Winter Olympics. I have always been impressed by the cleanliness of the ceiling in the Skytrain. So, I wonder if there is someone whose job it is to clean that thing, because it always gleams and reflects so nicely. Maybe they just steam-clean the whole thing at the end of each run.
I wonder this because I think fewer people would want to ride the train if, when they boarded, there was gunk and gum and unidentifiable, mucus looking stuff all over the ceiling of the train. On the other hand, maybe I’m tall enough to notice, but no one else notices these things.
Now that I think about it, the train is really clean in general. I’ve never noticed any graffiti in any of the cars. The worst “offense” is some culturejammer who keeps leaving well-written, neatly copied questions on stickers and attaching them to the advertisements in each of the train cars. Who are these unsung heroes of public transportation who keep everything so clean?
The high point, for me anyway, of any trip to Vancouver is the ride on the Skytrain. I love the stations and the fact that I don’t need to drive through traffic and stress myself out. Mostly, I love meeting all the wonderful, delightful, strange and quizzical people who also ride the train.