I went home today with this yellow L-300 (public transport). The day was raining, so all the windows were closed. I sat in the back, in the left side. Then, someone hail the cab and he got in, and, ouch, he got this lighted cigarette in his right hand. He sat in the row in front of me.
After awhile, I noticed this smoke passing me. No, the smoke didn’t surprise me, there was someone smoking, remember? But what scratching my mind was the direction of the smoke. It came from back to front, passing me. If it’s from the cigarette, the right direction was from front to the back. I considered it for some time, while waiting the smoke to pass me again. It could be that the smoke passed me from the front without me noticing, and, because there was no hole to came out, the smoke went back to the front, that’s what I thought. When this impossible idea was formed in my head, there it passed me again, from behind. I raised myself up a little to see if the man was still smoking. No, the man was not smoking anymore. Well, well, there was only one source left: the smoke was exhaust fume. Yuck. And the windows were closed. Another factor to make sure myself die young because of lung cancer.
Yepp, that’s just one picture of Indonesian public transport. In Banjarmasin, it is almost impossible to find one public transport without those rust covering it. Talk about getting tetanus simply by going to work. I also lived in Jogja once, so I know how shabby the buses was. You can be almost be sure that your bus will falling apart on the way to campus. That’s about the decency of the look.
Now about your safety. The drivers steer them like in races, hop to right, jump to the left, miss other transport by inches, violate all traffic regulations and traffic lights, almost crash into the curb or people crossing the zebra-cross, stop abruptly, race with each other to get more passengers, if they have wings they would fly. But we people got used to that. I can even sleep in them.
And then the safety of your wallet. And your other things valuable. In Banjarmasin, pickpockets in public transport were not so common. You’ll be a mess of black and blue if people catch you, and I considered the man lucky, he could got burnt. But in Jogja? Hmm, I lost one cell phone in one of the buses. They work in teams, so your chance to survive with all your valuables is slim.
Remember also your health will be compromised. Badly. Smokers puff happily to your face, and if you close your nose with handkerchief, they glare at you and tell you that next time you’d better go to work with private cars. I glare back, of course. Hey, I let you smoke, so you’d better let me close off whatever holes in my body. Not only smokers. There’re always those people who can’t hold they saliva longer than a few minutes. And they just spit in the car. Yuck! And also there’re always these mom with their children on their lap, and these kids start kicking around, and your clothes got stained with dirty things from their shoes. And when you start looked annoyed, the moms clearly showed that it was your fault, you child-hater. Maybe the man with his smoke is right. Maybe I’d better get my own car.