– ODO- 22491-22631km
– Location- Pamanukan, Indonesia
– Weather- 27-38
Today was my first day if my ride across the Indonesian island of Java. After crossing the city from my ferry I was ready for the same crazy roads and I wasn’t disappointed. I left at 4 am to cross central Jakarta before the major traffic jams started. Following the blue line on my phone, the road never continued straight for long. The roads have no consistent lines, lanes or junctions and exits may take you back the way you come before pointing you in the right direction 500m later. Houses press close to each side of the road, interspersed by wood shops building furniture with a fine cape of sawdust spread out into the lane.
After three hours the traffic began to build. I share the road here with tiny mini busses in bright blue and green which pull in at each junction, trucks are rare but mopeds the norm. After riding for so long in India I got used to the driving style quickly. It’s similar but subtly different. Whereas in India cars, bikes, trucks and cows flow around each other horns blazing in Indonesia the forward momentum wins. Slower vehicles trundle in the middle lane and cars and bikes cross outside in a stream, aware of the flow but never looking back or aside. The flow is so fierce drivers pay men with flags, who stand and each turning, and use themselves and human traffic lights, throwing themselves into traffic and with a whistle to allow the car out and picking up some coins out if the driver’s window.
I’ve been worried this last week that I’ll be the centre of attention on the streets. It’s hard going if you garner too much day in day out. In reality, I’ve had only the best kind of responses on the road, occasional friendly waves and hellos. From the early start, I’m exhausted and as I sit by the side of the road my sweat freely flows from the humidity but I’m happy to be on the road again.