Thursday, March 11, 2010

How To Spend Time On Jakarta's Congested Roads

(Source: here)

I grew up in Jakarta's greater area and have been commuting, so traffic jams are basically my staples. I know the commute will take two hours, so I leave two, or sometimes three, hours earlier before the appointed schedule. If you can't beat them (traffic jams), just (at least try to) join/enjoy them.

Here's some ideas on how to spend the hours on the road:

1. Listen to the music
There are always street musicians, beggars, vendors in every bus, angkot (public minivan) or street junction, who sing, deliver a litany or offer their goods. Sometimes they sound good, most of the time not. My suggestion: buy an MP3 player and lose yourself into the music. It also hampers perverts attempting a conversation with you.

2. Bring something to read
Either a newspaper or Roald Dahl's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the reading material will bring you away from the congested roads to the Faraway countries. The not-so-good side: sometimes people sitting next to you join you in the same page and they are not happy when you turn the page so quickly.

3. Do crossword
It encourages the gray cells, as Hercule Poirot may say. The good side about doing it on the road: you can ask the person sitting next to you if you stumble on a word or two. Hey, it is a good idea to start up a conversation.

4. Wear/re-apply make-up (for the girls, sorry guys)
As I once emphasized, taking public transportation here is like sitting in an oven. It's so hot that I usually reach office drenched in my sweats. This is why I only wear make-ups to the minimum limit. After all, I'm not working in a media that requires its workers to look trendy. However, I once saw a woman applying  facepowder and lipstick on a bus. So I guess it's do-able.

5. Play games
Only do this when you are sure no thugs/pickpockets in vicinity. There are so many game choices, from the ones in cellphones to the consoles. My favorite games are Nokia's Snake and iPod's Vortex. But i would only pull the gadgets out if I got myself a seat by the windows.

6. Have meal
Most people leave homes/office without a proper breakfast/dinner. Before our govenment prohibits eating in public transportation, let us munch our food there. Just don't litter around, will you?

7. Sleep
Why not? As long as you have a seat and keep your belonging close to you, I think it is allright to take a nap.

At the end of the day, it's simply the ability to adapt and have gratitude that save most Jakartans from mental breakdown and depressions.

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