Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Whoa - This Traffic

We have met some of our future neighbors, and they are lovely.  Its a tight and cozy little community, with only a few families living behind a guarded gate.  That'll keep the cars to a minimum, and stop kids from running outside the gate.  Even little Annika will be allowed to run free under these conditions - so lovely.  Lilly has found two other girls her age, one of whom will go to school with her.  She has found her place, and feels so happy there.  Sophia has found one other girl her age, who will go to school with her as well.  We hear rumors of more little girls, but we are feeling confident just on these girls we know so far.  But maybe lets not think about the traffic.

Okay, just for you, dear reader.  Lets go ahead and think about the traffic for a moment.  Last week, it took about 30 minutes to get from our current front door to our new front door.  Today, it took 90 minutes.  Most of this was barely moving on one major street.

The ride home took 60 minutes.  This was good, actually.  At that time of day, the ride home from the embassy will easily take 2 hours.  That will be Dave's afternoon commute every day.  If he leaves work at exactly 4:00pm, he has fair odds of being home by 6:00 for dinner.  Driving the reverse worked in our favor.  Still, we spent 2.5 hours in the car for a 1 hour playdate.  Hard to justify.

In the car on the way home, we saw these goats on the road next to us.  So I quick pulled out my phone to share them with you.

Adi, our driver, says they are for sale.  If I understood him correctly, goats are frequently exchanged during a holiday in October.  I must say, I have never lived so near to an open pen of goats.

Since my phone was already out, I snapped a few more shots from the backseat of our car.  Apologies for the prevalence of the dashboard.  What I'm trying to capture here is just what type of neighborhood we will live in.  When I drive down these roads, I am reminded of larger villages in China.  But this is no China, where the government will plow down ramshackle homes for a brand new highway. 

So, take a look at the width of this road.  We've got the goats on the left, just an open sewer away from the road.  And on the right in this picture is a bit of a dump, I think.  It looked as if these carts are full of garbage, and carrying it into this empty lot where they sort through it and then pack it into a tight wall.

So, below we were first in line behind a road obstruction.  Often we will sit still for a very long time, with no clear idea why traffic isn't moving.  This time, we could see firsthand.  Get a load of this truck!  This is a simple flat-bed truck, with makeshift paneling creating high walls for carrying whatever-he-is-carrying.  Its genius, as long as it stays together.  So, he was standing on the side of the road.  That made this 2-lane road impassable for half of the traffic.  A man eventually entered the street to direct traffic, which happens frequently, especially in these smaller roads.  In fact, Google Maps often directs Dave and I down little alleys where we really ought not be driving.  And inevitably, some neighbor will come out and direct us around any obstacles.

Before coming here, we heard that traffic is the hardest thing to live with in Jakarta.  I could not even imagine what that meant.  After an afternoon in the car, I can begin to understand.  And with these photos, you can begin to understand as well.

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