Sunday, March 04, 2007

Jakarta Traffic

The other evening I went out for a run. My route primarily consists of two residential neighborhoods which are quite nice to run in. But to get from one neighborhood to the other, a few busy streets need navigating. It was late afternoon on a Friday and the streets were full up with rush hour traffic. I was half way into my run when I came to the first crossing. I stood on the curb for only a brief moment before I turned towards traffic, lifted my arm as one would do when parting waters, evoking a higher power, or acknowledging a crowd of devoted followers and stepped directly into the line of cars barreling down on me. I strutted across the street, arm held high, staring each car down, exuding absolute confidence as I stepped defiantly into each of the three lanes of oncoming traffic. When I made it to the other side and began running again, I thought to myself, what in the hell did I just do? It was then I realized that I had unconsciously used for the first time, one of the superpowers that all residence of Jakarta eventually get which enable them to survive life in this city - the ability to stop moving vehicles by simply holding one's arm aloft and stepping boldly into the line of traffic. Perhaps it was simply a matter of time before the two required pieces came together - as both the arm motion and bravado are essential - attempting a crossing using one without the other is courting disaster. And I think when you leave Jakarta the superpowers stay behind - so don't raise your arm and step boldly into the path of an oncoming New York cabby.


Christy Hsieh said...


I don't know if you remember me cause it's been 10 years since Glenbard South. After all this time, I'm still having dreams about high school, and googled a few people out of curiousity. Your blog came up, so here I am.

Your life is amazing! I'm glad you left South/Wheaton/Burbs for more adventure -- it really suits you. Your family is beautiful, and congrats on the soon to be new addition.

I'm bookmarking the blog to inspire future travels. Keep posting; it's great reading.

Best regards,
Christy Hsieh Domin

IndoIan said...

Yes, I remember you well, Christy. I think you set the official Glenbard record in the "Student Seeking Advice and Clarification on Assignments" category. And I beleive you were on the mock trial team - but the year after I was released from my year of servitude under Tillman and Murray.

Thanks for your note and the kind words.

Be good and enjoy and feel free to write whenever.

Mr. Duell

Vexel said...

Hello Ian,

I stumbled upon your blog and i must say that it is one of the most refreshing and heartwarming blogs i've come across. Let me explain.

I graduated from JIS in 93 after 13 very memorable years. Growing up in Jakarta in the "golden" years of the early 80's to the mid 90's was an experience that for me, all things are still measured against to this day. From the food, to the sights, to the people, to the school. You're take on just about everything brings back such fond memories. I wish for all people to experience indonesia the was i have or the way you are.

Congratulations to a lovely blog, to a beautiful family and thank you for brining me back to a very fond time in my life.

Terimah kasi banyak banyak!


Philips said...

hey, i'm currently from the states and interning in jakarta for the summer. when i read this, i literally just started smiling.

what you wrote is so true, unto its innermost parts. i caught myself trying to cross a street, and couldn't figure out how to do it, until i saw an elderly woman, do exactly what you did.

i truly enjoy your blog, and it has made me realize certain jakarta nuances that i've quickly adopted while I'm here.