This summer, while transitioning between jobs, I had two glorious weeks off. I decided spend one of these magical free days traversing Jakarta on the Busway. It seemed like a fun way to see parts of town I don’t normally get to. Plus, I actually thought I might be able to ride all the lines in one day, which turned out to be a pipe dream.
(Members of my family will now be wincing, because riding all the busway lines in a day is exactly what our late Uncle Jack would have done, and Uncle Jack was definitely a bit of an Odd Duck. I guess biology is destiny, after all.)
I got to our local station, Benhill, at around 7 a.m. Things were hopping — lots of foot traffic, lots of road traffic.
,The breakfast vendors were in full swing. This guy is selling sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, probably with a little chicken inside, as well as an assortment of pastries. These people start early — probably by 5, although I’ve never been around to see — and they’re usually gone before 9.
The station wasn’t too crowded. I waited inside for about five minutes, thinking about the warning a taxi driver had given me a month or two before: Watch out for men in suits and jackets on the busway. They’ll hypnotize you and steal your wallet and cellphone! I saw some guys in business attire, but they seemed to be innocently reading the paper. Of course, that was probably their cover.
Finally the bus came. I had decided to ride all the way up to the Chinese end of North Jakarta and then double back to get on one of the East-West lines. This was cheating, in a sense, since I’ve done the north-south trip many times … but I also know it’s the best line on the busway, and I wasn’t in a hurry to start dealing with long lines and packed buses. So I set off to Kota.
to be continued …