I lived in the City of Depok in Indonesia, a rather large town of over 1,000,000 people that is a part of the Megatropalopolis that is the enormous city of Jakarta. Its a sprawling city that doesn't seem to end in any direction and is crowded with everything that one could imagine. Public transportation, cars, and motorcyles share the streets with venders, pedestrians, and a varied variety of things for sale that make up the storied streets of Jakarta and its surroundings. The traffic here is legendary and constant it seems at most times except during Friday Prayer. The traffic here is unlike anything I've ever seen though, its so much more fluid. It seems Indonesian drivers can squeeze into any space possible and utilize every surface possible. Its quite common for motorcycle drivers, by far the quickest way to travel, to utilize side walks and the oncoming lanes of traffic to squeeze around other cars. Its quite a wonderful dance where the objective is to get to your destination as quickly as possible without ever having had to stop because of traffic along the way
The city of Depok is quite vast and I've yet to venture much behind the small area that makes up the the 10 minute angkot ride(8-10 person public transportation bus) between my home and school. As I've only been going in this way about two weeks its quite a wonderful world to explore on my way home. Its filled with every kind of person, vendor, and building one could possibly imagine. The only consistencies found are the neighborhood mosques which dot the cityscape with their beautiful minarets and traditional Arabic and Javanese architecture which ring out the Adhan five times a day to call the faithful to pray. It is an awe inspiring sound and it still makes me pause in wonder every time I hear it.
I started school a few weeks ago and my high school consists of grades 1-3, or 10-12 in the US, and has about 700 people. The classes here are divided into a two track system of Science (IPA) and Social Studies (IPS). I'm in the science track and am in the 11th grade here. Everyone at school seems to be the most excitable and welcome person I've met and are always very interested in hearing about the US and helping me with my Bahasa Indo. News travels very fast about me here. Everyday I here some new and random fact about myself from someone at school that I'm meeting for the first time that I can barely remember telling someone about twenty minutes before and most days a students from one of the other high schools stop and talk to me. I even got into an angkot the other day and the driver knew my name and where I went to school and was glad to meet me! We even had quite a lovely conversation about why in the world I was in Indonesia and what I thought about it so far with only a minimal amount of gesticulation and laughing on either side. All that being said, the people of my High School and the city of Depok are a most welcoming and wonderful bunch and if they represent the whole of Indonesia this is going to be a most wonderful year indeed.
A Few Photos:
|My Host Brother Cenna and this fantastic Indonesianesque walkway after leaving Universitas Indonesia one day.|
|Us and our fantastic red batik we wear every Kamis (Thursday).|