Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It's all going on....

No individual raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood.


What a week its been; storms, rain, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and traffic. I must be in Indonesia. 
I have to say if things keep going they way they are, then its going to be a hell of  ride until the dry season next year. 
It seems that this year the weather certainly has been more extreme and created more hardship and misery, or is it that the news is now delivered so quickly and so accurately that we are all learning more about the world and issues that we face everyday.


I remember back in the early days of being here, being stuck in the teachers house unable to go out due to the floods around cengkareng being so bad you could not get to the city so we had to have beer delivered by the case just to get over it. Also coming back from the city after a night with the gf, getting confused in the floods and making the taxi go through the worst floods twice! My last house there used to flood and the water used to pour down the walls and everything would get soaked.
Ahh those were the days. Then the weather changed and the rain last year was less and not as heavy. Then this year. Bamm!!! it has returned with such a force that it is crippling the city.


Not only that, but the last few weeks there have been big earthquakes around the country, landslides in Papua, volcanoes erupting in Sumatra and now on Java.


In the past week there has been 18 earthquakes, 3 over 6.2 and the last one, on Monday night near Sumatra triggered off a Tsunami and that sadly has killed people on the islands around Sumatra. For the source click here: 

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/region/Australia.php


Still on Sumatra, the volcano Sinabung has been erupting and worrying the locals and now as I write this, the volcano Merapi on Java is now reaching critical level, 000's have been evacuated and scientists are ready for it to go bang. It is Indonesia's most volatile volcano.

So its tough time in country with all this going on and there seems to be no sigh of it abating.


Back to the city of smells, and Jakarta has been getting hotter and hotter and the traffic more and more intense. I had to pick up my gf from the city on Saturday and from Puri it is a always a long hot ride in but because of the sheer amount traffic everywhere, I took a different route and I managed to get into the city within 30 minutes which was great and so I was in and out of the city within an hour. The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging in Starbucks and eating lots of food. 
On Sunday I went to Pancoran Barat again on the bike and it was a good trip as the city was light and not too heavy. It was a nice ride though and not too slow.


Then there was Monday. It rained Monday. When I say rained lets put it like this, it went very dark at 3pm and never got light until 6am the next morning. It rained so hard, you could hear it hitting the concrete roof. It rained like that for 2 to 3 hours. 


I left my office in Puri Indah around 7pm after most of the storms had gone. I was heading for Mediterania Apartments in Tanjung Duren. I got as far as Kedoya where everything had ground to a halt. Knowing that roads would be full and flooded, I turned around and went to Kebon Jeruk to enjoy sitting in traffic in another location and bumping and squeezing my way past cars on my bike, this took about 30 minutes. From there I headed towards Slipi but the way was full of bikes, buses and poorly managed roads and police/security and anyone else who could be bothered blowing whistles and waving at traffic as everyone on 2 wheels was moving at a crawl whereas everything on 3 wheels and more was stopped.
I ran out of fuel close to Slipi so I pushed the bike (much to the annoyance of other motorists) to the nearest  Pertamina and stood in the queue. As expected it was badly signed and so people were complaining about having to buy Pertamax + instead of the usual and then a fight broke out, which actually helped me get re-refuelled quicker as everyone got out of the way. Eventually with fuel I got back on the bike and arrived at slipi Theatres. Then the sight of total chaos was before me. Still I followed the other bikers and wove through traffic, jumped up onto the busway and down again until I reached the 5 ways crossing near the front of Taman Anggrek. 
It stopped raining so I took off my poncho. Sat in the mess, casually observing motor cyclists smoking, chatting, shouting, hitting buses? and so on, a big policeman started telling us to go down the toll back towards Kebon Jeruk. Nah. I squeezed through to the a point of no return. Suddenly the dam burst and a few bikes were pushing through somewhere and so I followed. 
I managed to jump onto the sidewalk, most regrettably blocking the way for people who were walking, and spinning and slipping in the mud got to the entrance of Taman Anngrek. It was now 8.30.  Stuck in the traffic again, I began to wonder how long the buses and cars had been stuck and why they refused to turn off their engines.  Raining now, so its back on with the poncho and again the bikes started moving. Someone in Taman Anggrek had the clever idea of letting bikes take the small road between that mall and Central Park, so pushing and shoving I managed to get through that way, to find the way home was empty and devoid of traffic for the last 500 meters. I got back to the apartments safe and sound and whilst the bike took a beating it was over for the night. 
Arriving at the bike park, that was underwater also, so splashing my out to the elevator raised looks of 'bule gila' and smiles.

I have promised not to complain about the traffic until the next time which knowing Jakarta, wont be long.

I hope the rain eases off for a while and if has to, comes about 1pm and goes around 4pm, that way all the water will have gone by the time I leave for home. I am also hoping that the rain over the weekend is so heavy I can go and get some pictures of the traffic and the floods to amuse myself and share.
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