there were only two reasons why i decided to go bandung:
- there were supposedly outdoor gear shops there (i found 2 right in front of each other) and,
- i wanted to break the travel time between jakarta and yogyakarta
as far as expectations went, I really didn’t have any. however, I did not expected to ALMOST DIE on my first day of traveling
(this is actually a lot tamer since the traffic is bad and there are a lot of cars. most of the roads are wider, and cars, trucks, ojeks, and angkot just whiz by).
Vehicular Traffic and Pedestrians
most of bandung’s roads are one way. only major roads are two-way it seems, at least around the city center. so there are a lot of roundabouts and circling around grid roads if you’re in a vehicle. this is likely to facilitate a continuous flow of traffic. i don’t recall ever seeing a stoplight.
it makes it a challenge for visitors not used to such environment, because there were no overhead passes, and pedestrian crossings are mostly found in corners (so good luck it the road is long). the logic is that when drivers make a turn, they should be slowing down. but not in bandung! not sure if anyone knows what it means, or they just ignore it. so there’s no other way really; just cross the damn road. just don’t expect them to slow down for you.
having said this, i’m actually an experienced jaywalker (i grew up in metro manila, hello). however my style of jaywalking is just not fit for bandung (i don’t speed up to run. I gauge the speed of the cars and weave through traffic, like beating an offside trap). while it works on roads with less motorbike, i think it’s not a good idea when there are a lot of ojeks.
so on my first day there, as I was crossing, an ojek suddenly appeared behind a van. frazzled, i stopped. a no-no for jaywalking across a busy street. the motorbike didn’t slow down as he expected me to just run out of the way. instead, i positioned myself in front of him, ninja-style, so that i can use my hand to swat away the ojek (i have no idea why i thought that would work), while thinking “that US$100+ travel insurance doesn’t seem like a bad idea now!”. he was so maaaaaaaad. as I walked away, he hit his dash three times, as if it’s sacrilege to slow down on the road.
but hey, i survived to go to my first indonesian cultural experience! (on to my next post)