Saturday, May 14

Living in a city where the average speed is 20km/h: when traffic gets you down

Judy Kaufman, detail of Traffic Jam here and here

Catalogued Life usually serves as a happy place for me to hang out in. 
It gives me a space to catalogue and organise my overflowing desktop files and briefcases (and brain) which are packed full of all the shiny pretty things I like to give order to here. 
I kind of think of this blog as the neat and tidy room that I got to first - 
the first room to be sorted and organised - and the proud recipient of said shiny and pretty things.
However, today this blog serves as a place for me to v-e-n-t and work through some issues. I spent a terrible day yesterday stuck in traffic. Jakarta is famous for this and sometimes you can really only achieve one or two things if travel is involved. Running multiple errands is much harder here. One errand good. Two errands OK. But anymore and you are at the mercy of the 1.5 million vehicles on the roads on any average day. I tried the two errand option yesterday and sadly, the traffic beat me. Wednesday is usually my day off, the day I try to reserve for creative projects. I don't work in a creative field so have begun to take this time pretty seriously. 
However, work is preferable to being stuck in traffic.
So yesterday, when I thought I will just take a quick trip into town, to you know, accomplish TWO things  (two things people!) everything took much longer and my day off, as well as creative juices, sadly fizzled. 

Traffic Jam againJudy is a Barcelona based illustrator. Her etsy shop is here. 
 I really like her repetitive prints.

A quick catalogue* to comtemplate:
70% of Jakarta's population does not use public transport
Jakarta's population is estimated at around 8,000,000
78,000 buses and minivans ply the streets
15,000 bajas are chugging around
23,000 ojeks scoot around (motorbike taxis)
6000 traffic police patrol the city each day
It has been said that restaurants in certain areas of Jakarta are actually losing money due to traffic. 
Bookings are frequently cancelled because people are just stuck in traffic and can't get there.
Unbelievably, I would put road rage at 0% - no exaggeration whatsoever.
I have seen only one heated exchange (that simmered down quickly) in all of my time here (2yrs +)
There is a lot of tolerance and defensive driving going on here. It's actually inspiring. 

ITyler's work here

However, despite these grim statistics, I love it here. We live locally. 
Chose our travel times wisely and mostly don't complain about the traffic. Whats the point?
Occasionally I get upset and frustrated but like the other 8 million people here, try to take it in my stride. 
Expats (myself included) seem to be doing a pretty good job of rushing around and stressing out on behalf of the entire city, so I really do try and make a conscious effort to slow - it - down (when I remember to).
You can read a great take on hurrying in Jakarta here from a fantastically awesome journalist (my husband!). 

At any rate, Jakarta time is more fluid than other places and really, the world would be a better place if clocks were all about knitting scarfs rather than being late for a very important date, right?

I want this clock! I would like very much to have this clock. One Day. If possible.
It's eccentric and humorous and clever. Every passing of the hour is marked by a stitch, a full day is measured as one row around the clock and a year results in a 2 metre-long scarf. 
Yes! A clock that knits a scarf. 
Why of course!

* Statistics taken from Jakarta Globe Saturday/Sunday 24/25, 2009. 


mrs c. said...

Great article - thanks for the link.
And love the clock - very clever.
mrs c. xox

sarah said...

Thanks Mrs C! You could have so much fun with different coloured wool!