Driving in Indonesia

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 
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Getting things done in Indonesia require “connections” – some are divine connections (sovereignly meeting people) and some are connections through people that we got introduced to through our alumni. I am thankful for our alumni because they know a lot of key people. They have been helpful in getting us connected with various people who have opened doors for us.

Today, Christina and I ventured out in our car to run some errands. Without a map or a GPS, we decided go to a megastore (like a Walmart) in a different town. We were told that it was off the tollway in a town that we had previously stopped by therefore I was pretty confident with the location. Getting on the tollway was the easy part, but trying to find the exit for the town was a complete different story.

Let’s just say that we went through the scenic route of two different cities. After 1.5 hours of driving, not only was it a bit frustrating with all the side roads that led to nowhere, but with limited Bahasa language skills, we were once again left with the infamous body language. Thank God, Christina had her little Bahasa language book.

We had quite an adventure.

We almost ran out of gasoline in a rural area… we were led by a man on a motorcycle to a major road that we needed to find… we stopped to ask for directions with broken Bahasa about five times within a half hour period. But at the end, we were able to find the store and find our way back home.

The best part of today was that I got quickly acclimated to the Indonesian driving culture. I think I love driving in Indonesia – lanes are just suggestions, speed limit signs are hard to find, passing up cars is an art, signaling is optional, avoiding the motorcycles make it feel like a video game and aggressive driving is the norm.

The only faux pas today was opening the car door on the left side only to realize that the steering was on the right side. So I had to play it cool and pretend that I was putting something on the passenger seat :-)