We were in Jakarta recently visiting a few museums. While Jakarta is a major city, its public transport systems are in pretty bad shape. The city has a bus system that may eventually get you to where you want to go. Angkots – mini-buses that have fixed routes – provide a cheaper, if slower alternative. But other than taxis there isn’t much else. There are no subways (although they hope to build one), and the only signs of an abortive attempt to create a skyway a few years ago are a number of poles built before the money ended.
There is one fun way to travel though – it’s the auto rickshaw. These three-wheeled vehicles are a staple of Southeast Asian cities. In Thailand they call them Tuk-Tuks. In Jakarta, they are Bajaj.
The vehicle narrows into a wedge – wide at the back, where the passengers sit, and narrow up front for the driver. They usually seat three people, although we have at times squeezed four and some luggage inside.
Besides museum visits, on this particular trip we were also looking for a couple of geocaches. So we jumped in a Bajaj and headed to a cemetery near the center of town, where we quickly found one of the few geocaches in all of Indonesia.
Leaving the cemetery we hailed another Bajaj. This one was a little smaller than most, so we were quite cramped. But the advertising inside the vehicle made the trip back to Jakarta’s Gambier train station worth it.
Peering over the driver’s shoulder I saw an odd sign, just beneath the window. It was for a company called ‘Rider.’ And the ad was selling underwear.
Move over cheese. “Ah, the power of underwear!”