I took this photo a few months ago, it I downloaded an app on my iPad called Snapseed. It has a “tilt-shift” process that turned my photo of the Selamat Datang traffic circle into what looks like a miniature diorama. So fun, but so weird.
What do you think?
I resolved to get to know my city a bit better. I bought a motorcycle in the early days of December, and, now that it’s finally licensed, I’ve been driving it around my neighborhood. I bought it so that I could get to and from work more easily, but it’s offered so much more than a commuter vehicle ever could.
Jakarta is an immeasurably large city. There are five areas, as far as I can tell, that actually make up the city of Jakarta: South (where I live), North, East, West, and Central. Then there are all the other towns, villages, cities that have been absorbed by the greater Jakarta area. On top of that, the council of people who plan out how the city develops seems to be non-existent. Streets start and stop, lead to suicidal corners and dead-ends, narrow to daredevil dimensions. If rhyme and reason play any part, they are a funeral dirge to the hopes of newcomers wishing to get to know their new city.
Add to all of that the “macet” (literally translated as “jammed” – referring to Jak’s horrible traffic), and buying a car was out of the question. So I bought a motorcycle. What’s great is that, in the three or four days of driving it around my neighborhood, I’ve already scouted a number of places I had no idea existed.
What you see above is an example of one of those places. I particularly love the juxtaposition of the mosque and the graffiti.
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.
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.
PHD is Pizza Hut Delivery. They are delivery only. There are Pizza Hut restaurants all over South Asia, but in Jakarta there are Pizza Hut Delivery joints that are delivery only. That sounds like a good idea, but the pizza is kind of dodgy. The all-meat pizza has “sausage” on it, but I swear it’s hot dogs. The stuffed crust is pretty good, but I’ve yet to find a really good pizza here in the Big Durian.
I do, however, love their delivery guys. They fly around Kemang Raya (for those just tuning in, that’s the big road we’ve got going on here) delivering pizza very quickly riding on this fleet of red motorcycles, as you can see above.
Tiga. Number three. The third part of my commute. Here it is…no words.
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.
This monument is the Selamat Datang monument, and selamat datang means “welcome”. It is located in Central Jakarta. I managed to shoot this from one of the top floors of an ACE home center in the Grand Indonesia Shopping Center.
The traffic looks nice right now, but an hour and a half later, when we left the mall, the “three lanes of traffic” were stuffed with somewhere between four and six lanes of drivers. It seems that the traffic lanes around here are just suggestions.
I don’t want to alarm any family members back home in Canada, but this is the road that my family and I walk across every day. Twice.
If it’s any consolation, it only looks like this in the afternoon.
Oh, and if you’re going to ask, “Where’s the crosswalk?” my answer is…”Hahahahahahahaaaaa…crosswalk? Hahahahahahaaaa…”
This is what traffic often looks like in Jakarta. It has been equal parts horror and awe – those are the only feelings I have while sitting in the front seat of a taxi car or van. There are no traffic lights, or at the least none that anyone follows. The streets are narrow. The scooters are omnipresent. The drivers? Omnipatient. They wait, kindly, as someone else takes a corner in front of them. They don’t lose their tempers. They smile, wave, and smile more. They are infinitely more considerate and civilized than any driver I’ve ever encountered in more than twenty years of driving in British Columbia. Totally amazing.
The No 3 Road exit is the exit to Cultus Lake. It’s also the exit off the highway to my back-road route home. In the summer, this exit is well-used by lower mainland traffic trying to escape the busy-ness and congestion of their home cities. Of course, the irony is lost on a great many that as they make their way to an escape from their own highly populated cities they are contributing to a massive congestion of vehicles on the road and people at the lake.
Humans are silly.
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!