Blog Nod: Jakarta from the eyes of one Patrick Lee

Blog Nod is a section where I share other blogger’s post.

This time, I want to share what my friend Patrick’s impression about Jakarta when he first arrived in the city. Before hand, do read  his blog entry “Traffic in Jakarta“, he has some spot-on impressions of the new Batavia.

Here’s the summary of his post:

At first glance, Jakarta must have some of the most courageous people ever to sit behind the wheel. […]

If there are two lanes, a line of three cars will inevitably end up driving side by side, with a row of motorcycles moving along filling in the gaps, and a couple of bajaj puffing flatulence where they can(the baggi is an Indian motorcycle taxi that looks like it has been patched together from a pair of twenty year old lawnmowers). If there is a holdup in traffic, street peddlers will squeeze by the vehicles selling nuts, toys, fruits, and magazines. It is not unheard of to sleep your way through traffic at the speed of 1km/hour. […]

If the drivers here are courageous, the motorcyclists here must be pathologically suicidal. And the streets are filled with them. […]

Brake, accelerate, and popping out suddenly into open space is their motto. […]

I saw a brave girl calmly text on her smart phone while riding on the back seat of a motorcyclist. I’ve never seen a man walk so casually across a road with cars and motorcycles whizzing by inches from his body. Ah! Trust amongst the people![…]

The infrastructure here is poor, there is no beating around the bush on this, and more improvement can be easily had but when given the lemon of 18 million inhabitants, poorly organized roads, and no subway system to speak of, the commuters of Jakarta have made lemonade. […]

The Javanese built their own method of traffic, without rules or dictates from above. They had to, and it works barely, mysteriously, and beautifully. It is a wonderful example of spontaneous order.