I've survived my first week in Indonesia! I'm having a great time here, enjoying the beautiful city and its surroundings.
In the morning and after school, I ride the angkot. It's a blue van that people take to get to different destinations, such as to the university campus. It costs 2,000 rupiah to ride. I live too far from campus to walk, so i'm glad there's an easier way to get around town.
In the angkot, you do not wear seat belts and the door is always open. Also, you may encounter interesting episodes on one too. My angkot crashed into a motorcycle yesterday! Fortunately, the motorcyclists survived, although I believe their bike wouldn't start.
The first time I rode the angkot, I got lost. The angkot driver didn't know where my address was, so I got off with my friend who also couldn't figure out where she lived. When we finally found her home however, it was my turn to find mine. I felt I would be able to navigate the area and find my house alone, but I was wrong.
An hour later, I was walking around, lost and confused. No one seemed to know where I lived and I couldn't describe it to anyone either. A man on a motorcycle approached me and asked in English, "Where are you trying to go?" He mentioned how I looked lost and he wanted to help me. I was getting nervous after a while because it seemed like the further I walked, the less familiar the area looked. I also wasn't sure if I was walking into a bad neighborhood. Fortunately, I discovered it's safe throughout the town.
The man who tried to help me asked if I could walk over to the nearby mosque, so he could hear me since the traffic outside was too loud. I told him, "It's okay. I think if I walk a little further, I might find my home." Minutes later, I was sitting on the steps of a mosque, lost, trying to explain where I lived.
The man insisted he pack me on the back of his motorcycle. It was a kind gesture, but I would never get on anyone's motorcycle back home! I didn't know him or have a helmet, so it was a big risk in my mind. I told him I was afraid, so he suggested I take the angkot. He would lead the angkot with his motorcycle to my house.
Inside, I felt a little hesitant, but I got into the angkot. The kind man paid for my ride, although I refused. When I got into the angkot, I repeated my address to the driver just in case. Then, I noticed a motorcycle quickly speed in front of the angkot. The man wanted to ensure I would make it home safely and led the way. My homestay mom had been waiting on the corner. Once I saw her, I knew I was home! It was such a sigh of relief.
I thanked the kind man profusely. It was truly a nice gesture. In Hawaii, it's not easy to trust people you don't know and I try to use the same rule here. But at the same time, I realize that some of the kindest people appear when you are lost and in need of help. I couldn't be more grateful! The people here have truly been helpful and kind.
Later, I discovered that I wasn't the only one lost. I now realize that I have to use a certain phrase for the angkot driver to understand where I live.
It's safe and easy to ride the angkot, but there are times when the driver may not be familiar with your destination. I highly recommend you find nearby locations to let the driver know what area you live in!