“Welcome to Jakarta mister.” That’s what a cab driver said to me after a near miss with a scooter. Driving in Jakarta is an experience—there are no speed limits, but nobody speeds. Some intersections have no signals and scooters are everywhere a car isn’t. They outnumber cars by far and go anywhere they can fit. Drivers are pushy but not aggressive. I have not witnessed any rage or vengeful driving habbits. Any body can direct traffic anywhere. They just step out, stop traffic and let you in from a cross street. You are expected to hold out a 2,000 rp bill  from your window and they grab it as you drive by. The average speed is probably 15-20mph if you’re not on the expressway. Somehow, it all works—it has to—too many people have to get somewhere. 

Car insurance runs $300 per year. Sometimes traffic tickets are negotiated on the spot. It usually costs about half when you pay the officer. When we purchased the car we were given two options: The legal way, which is to get it retitled for about $500; or pay the registration for next year using the former owner’s name which is not exactly legal but everybody does it.

The rest of our business in Jakarta is coming along. We ran into a couple snags. We have to get our marriage registered in Indonesia and they won’t recognize the Dayak wedding. So, we are getting remarried in a Catholic ceremony. This set back cost two weeks because of all Easter activities.

Fortunately, bribery is a part of life here one of the civil servants offered to be a witness at our wedding and move the registration papers through rapidly for a modest fee, which we gladly paid. Welcome to Jakarta, mister.

View from our apartment window

Minor traffic jam in Jakarta. Notice most scooter riders wear jackets—even in this heat!

A relaxing and not-so-relaxing fascial. $12.00 gets you a 1 hour facial.

I love this woman

I love this little car. The seats fold flat and give a lot of cargo space

It’s small like an older Rav4. It has good ground clearance, and turns on a dime.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.