Experiencing Indonesian Roads

So a month or so ago I was feeling adventurous… I got my Indonesian licence. Now don’t be too impressed just yet- there was no driving test, no road rules exam. Why? You ask. Well check out the photos at this WowShack link and you’ll see why.

Driving in Indonesia is like Marble Run. You just pull out on to the road, regardless if there is a bike, car, cat, truck coming and go; mostly at a glacial pace because the roads (if you can call them that) are increasingly becoming giant craters with bits of sealed road around them. See the lack of need for testing my practical or theoretical knowledge?

Rules? There are no rules. The road is for driving and you are King, or Queen in my case. Lanes are merely suggested spaces to travel within and indicators are decoration. In the far right lane and to turn left? No problem, just drift across and sound your horn once or twice and you’re sweet!

Police helpfully blowing their whistles and imploring cars to move along a road resembling a car park is the norm. Somehow waving a red stick evokes the traffic gods and traffic finds a way to creep on just enough to make you believe that yep, we are making progress.

Pedestrians step out on to the street without remotely looking and possess a wonderous thing called a ‘magic hand’. Hold your hand out and wave it about and you too will be the proud owner of a magic hand that creates an invisibility/protective shield. The power is unprecedented I assure you!

Now I have not even begun to do the WowShack post justice; take a look for yourself. And no, I haven’t taken our car out for a spin just yet…

http://www.wowshack.com/22-things-youll-see-or-experience-on-indonesian-roads/#at_pco=tst-1.0

thesmult- life is what you decide
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Mental health an issue for expats.

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One of the perks of being a stay at home trailing spouse is noticing the beauty amidst the chaos.I have seen this art in a few places around South Jakarta; I just can’t work out what the message is (political I believe)! Very skilful work which brightens up the place a little.

Traffic in Jakarta is notoriously terrible and one of the factors that impacts significantly on mental health of expats living here. Increasingly health professionals are recognising this more and more.  The doctor supporting Embassy staff, their spouses and families here is acutely aware and encourages the mental health break to recharge and unwind due to the pressures of living in a developing country such as Indonesia. Generally speaking, we take leave every 6 weeks on average. This may just be a long weekend or a few weeks an boy does it make a significant difference.

Culture shock is another after the ‘honeymoon’ period wears out it’s welcome. What a rollercoaster ride of emotions! For me, I was anxious and ecstatic to finally be moving to Indonesia to be together with my spouse. Like a holiday at first, I was on a high for a week or so and then like a lead balloon, anxiety set in. What have I done? Why am I here? Can I really do this?

True to the 10 steps of cultural adjustment outlined by Steven Rhinesmith (http://www.studentsabroad.com/handbook/adjustments-and-culture-shock.php?country=general) I went through stage of sheer frustration. Why can’t they stay in their own lane when driving? What’s with stepping into traffic while waving your magic hand? Why can things be more efficient? You do get through this. You do start to accept things as they are in the new country. You do learn to ‘stop messing with the system’ as I like to say. And life does get easier when you learn to let go of the ideals of home.

In the article (link below) ‘Dr Madison said expats will never go back to Australia the same and usually return with a more worldly approach to life. On the whole, they never regret the experience and even feel superior to those who have not undertaken such an adventure.’ Very true, but at what cost during the experience?

http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/exclusive-expat-mental-health-at-risk/

P.S. “pembodohan publik” means duping the public. This is protest art!

@aubergine_jelly : life is what you decide
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Happy Chinese New Year 2015

We ventured to Pondok Indah Mall (about an hour from home and slightly more to travel home) and had a delicious lunch.
We were fortunate enough to stumble across a highly entertaining Chinese New Year performance. Malls over here are always full of surprises!

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thesmult- life is what you decide
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