Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Extreme sports

We decided we didn't want to die in an auto accident, so we fired one of our drivers today. Generally, Jakarta drivers are assertive but courteous, but this guy was an adrenaline junkie, for sure. Road rage is very rare here, but he managed to make an enemy every 50 yards. I think the horn button is wired in parallel with the gas pedal.

I'm into my 4th week, and I spend at least two hours in traffic every day in a city of 15 million people, but today I saw my first accident, albeit a minor one. A couple of kids dumped their motor scooter in the wet on a bend in the city. Lucky for them it was 6.30am and they were riding in the opposite direction to most of the traffic flow, so all they got was a little road rash.

Given how people drive and ride here, I'm amazed it's taken more than 3 weeks for me to see an accident.

ADRENALINE

Our driver had a day off today, so I decided I needed an adrenaline rush, by driving to the supermarket. First time I've driven in Jakarta. No casualties, but a couple of near misses. Lanes? What lanes?

ROAD SAFETY

There are so many things that happen here to give you a daily chuckle.

For example, this month the Police are cracking down on motorcycle riders and passengers who don't wear helmets. So, this week, everybody you see on a bike is wearing a helmet (of some type - ranging from full face top dollar racing helmets - cycling hats - and what look like little league batting helmets), but the cops don't look twice at the overloaded minibuses with 10 schoolboys riding the running board or sitting on the roof.

I also like the helmet/sandals safety equipment combo. I wonder how many long time motor cyclists are missing toes.

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