While staying with the locals in Indonesia I learned that being a people watcher there is free, fun, and opened my eyes with visions that I will never forget. Traveling can open your mind to new adventures, cultural differences, and even some strange sights you will not see anywhere else. Indonesia has few rules for organized living, and the ones that exist are ignored. The first time I went there the words “wow” kept escaping my lips on a constant basis.
Rules of The Road
In America our country has become so concerned with rules and safety that it is almost impossible to enjoy life. Our kids must have seatbelts or car seats. Bus drivers are disciplined for minor infractions. No issues like that in Indonesia. A ride down the road looks like an amusement park.
While traveling down a highway in Medan on the island of Sumatra, a motorcycle passed us with four people on it. Another motor scooter was seen with the driver texting, which I considered an athletic feat. A bus was seen with kids riding on top of the bus. What a wild, fun country.
No Bad Stuff Happened
In spite of the total insanity of ignoring any safety ideas like orderly kids on the bus, I did not see an accident the entire first week of my visit. Red lights must be in Indonesia for decorations, or the people there are colorblind. These lights were totally ignored by drivers, yet nobody hit anyone.
Drivers communicate by horns. No angry long beeps followed by a crash were heard like in America. It’s like the cars have a safety feature of talking with each other. Short “beep, beeps” are heard and it looks like mass confusion with no problems.
Fun Zoning Regulations
Almost every home is also a business. People sell bottled water or fruit on their front porches. I saw a makeshift restaurant in one front yard. The guy smoking a cigarette with no shirt or shoes reminded me of signs in American restaurants that say “No shirt, no shoes, no service, and no smoking.” Don’t look for health department rating signs either.
Kids play in the street with no problem. A really nice home is next to a place that would be condemned in America. A shiny new car is parked in a garage that looks like it might fall in at any moment. Rusty satellite dishes are larger than the houses they sit on top of. No air conditioning in this sweltering neighborhood, but the luxury of TV programs beamed in from space is watched by people sitting on concrete floors.
If you want an eye opening experience visit Indonesia. Bali is beautiful with a relaxed ocean breeze lifestyle. Jakarta has modern glitz and glamour. However, the real thing to see in Indonesia is the people and the culture like you will see no where else. It will make you appreciate America or perhaps create a tug in your heart to stay and enjoy this place for a long time.