There aren’t much of any street crosswalks to speak of. It’s more of pedestrians walking onto the street and hoping for the best, while minibuses, motorbikes, cars, and bikers whiz by. It’s quite the daunting experience.
Jakarta and Bekasi are like night and day.
Kind of like Anyer. On one side of the street, beach resorts with modern amenities like air conditioning and hot showers. On the other, dusty street vendors in makeshift shops completely open to the humid air. The streets go from mostly paved to gravel to half covered in inches of rainwater. Immanuel drives on, dodging the mini rivers lining the streets.
The stares we received, although I must say I must’ve blended in a bit more than my Caucasian cohort, were a bit aloof – obvious, to say the least.
Malin, my Swedish friend, has an ear for Indonesian language. I’m convinced she’s one of those naturally gifted folks who have an ear for languages. There’s a fair bit of language immersion and confusion what with all the Spanish, Catalan, English, and Indonesian going on. Malin grew up learning German and English in her native Sweden. Malin speaks to me in Swedish, and catches herself. Immanuel speaks to his Indonesian friends in Spanish – it slips out. We laugh.
I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Also, I love air conditioning. No bugs. Western Style Toilet=happiness. Life Simplified. I notice the scar on my thumb for a second, and remember my brother, whom is the perpetrator of a certain pencil stabbing while in grade school.
Security checks – our purses get scanned by metal detectors and security guards when we enter the hotel. Same deal when we go to the mega mall – an armed guard opens the trunk of our car before giving us the green light. We are not in Barcelona anymore.
It is raining when we leave Anyer. Schoolchildren shook out their water-filled shoes. Boys held up banana leaves (nature’s umbrella, I suppose) as they walked along the street in their uniforms.
Transit hotel. I have never been to one of these. After having a couple more days of bucket-o-water showers, I was only all too eager beaver for some hot shower power. (I can’t believe I just said it, either.)
There I was – hair soaking wet, towel around my shoulders, running with the hotel employee to the ticket counter, going through security. I was quite the sight.