Thursday, July 4, 2013

Five People I Met On Jakarta's Public Transportation


Since I like to observe people quietly, taking public transportation has become one of my greatest sources of happiness (I'm so easy to please :P) because there are so many interesting people out there. Here are five people I met on Jakarta's public transportation and if you also use public transportation (or plan to take it), there are chances you meet them too one day.

-- The bespectacled woman was probably in her 40s or 50s. She wore a cammo shirt and trousers, a white headscarf and had a small mailman bag slung over her right shoulder. She asked the officer who guarded the TransJakarta door about Semanggi shelter, which was still five-six shelters away. After learning that her destination was quite far, she sat down, opened her bag and fished out...a crochet hook. A cammo suit and crochet? Hmm. She then peacefully worked on her crochet. While the bus quietly zoomed along the busway lane, her crochet works also progressed. When the bus approached Semanggi, she quickly put her stuffs inside her bag and then hopped off the bus. Of all people in the bus, she's the only person who did not check on her cellphone or listen to an MP3 player. Awesome.

--  The 502 Kopaja bus (Kp. Melayu-Tanah Abang) was about to depart when I hopped on. There was an empty seat at the back seat near the window, so I headed over there. But the old lady who sat on the seat next to seat by the window scooted to that seat (Have I confused you now? Good, that is exactly my purpose). Anyway, I sat next to her. It didn't took long before we started chatting. At first she asked whether the bus was going to stop at Blok A Tanah Abang (I don't know why people always ask me direction, I must have look very street smart). She said that she was going to Pelni hospital to accompany her husband doing dialysis. Her husband was sitting on my left, she was on my right, I was sandwiched between them (Why didn't she sit next to her husband? Ok, let's stop over analyzing this). She said that her husband had to do dialysis twice a week, every Wednesday and Friday. The procedure would take around five hours, so she had prepared lunch boxes and drinks. She said that her husband used to be a sailor, so he could have the dialysis for free at Pelni hospital. If they do it in another hospital, she would have to pay the fee. She said that her husband had diabetes too, which was the cause of the kidney failure. She then advised me to do a general check up. "Your body will start to weaken after you reach 35 years old, so you'd better have a medical check up to prevent the illnesses," she said. This time I hopped off first and I wished her and her husband well.

-- A towel vendor boarded the 502 Kopaja bus (I take the bus from time to time whenever I get bored with TransJakarta. The Kopaja is a bit shabby, but at least I can get a seat if I board it from Kp. Melayu). He wore a red bucket hat, a blue baju koko and black trousers. He gave the conductor the fare, but the conductor said,"Just keep it." The vendor then squatted and arranged his goods. Besides the towels, he also sold batik scarves. He placed a cardboard as the base on his left hand and started to pile up the towels with his right hand. It was a bit entertaining to see the vendor doing the arrangement, just like seeing a shop window being decorated :).

-- I was on 19 Kopaja bus (Blok M-Tanah Abang), sitting near the front door, when two unlikely passengers hopped on. The first person had traces of blood on the corner of his mouth, his eyes were red, he smelled like urine and the worst part was his trousers were on his knees. His shirt reached mid thigh, though. He was either drunk or mentally ill. The second person held a brick on his hand and threatened the first person to quickly hop on. The first person sat behind me and the second person on the back seat. Ack! Most bus passengers hopped off upon seeing the new passengers, but I stayed (If I think it over now, I didn't know why I stayed. Oh wait, perhaps lack of transport money? Ha!). I stood up and moved to the seat near the bus driver. I thought I heard one of those guys saying something, but the words were not clear. Then an old man who sat in the back approached the bus driver and yelled,"Pak, help me! Please protect me from this man!" The conductor told the two passengers to leave the bus. Surprisingly, they obeyed. So they were not crazy after all? Was it just some kind of stunts to get money from us? I asked the old man what happened to him. He said that the second man (who carried the brick) asked for some money. The bus driver assumed that perhaps the first man was drunk, while the second was mentally ill. Ok, so tips for you guys, don't play hero, just hop off the bus. Or if you don't have enough money to pay for the next bus fare, ask help from the bus driver.

-- I forgot to read the bus number, but I was sure it stopped at Jatibening tollgate, where I would hop off. The bus was already very crowded, and more people were boarding. I didn't get a seat. It was raining outside, and whenever there is rain, there are traffic jams, so the bus inched very slowly along the road. I had a rough day and really hoped someone would give up his seat when suddenly...a young guy (quite gorgeous, if I must add) gave up his seat for me. Alhamdulillah. I had yet to pay the fare, so I casually asked him if he had paid the fare. He said he hadn't. So I prepared the money. When the conductor approached, the very same guy paid for my fare. Ack, but that was my plan! I protested to him,"No, you shouldn't do that." The guy just smiled and said,"It's ok." He obviously didn't want to receive my money, so when I was about to hop off the bus, I slipped a Rp 10,000 note into his back pocket. He was surprised at first (What? Did you think I was pinching your butt? Yeah, I wish :D), but then mouthed a 'Thank you'. I wished I had written down my phone number on the note :P.

Have you ever met interesting people or experienced bizarre occurrences while taking public transportation? Do share :). 

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