Today, at work, I was unfortunately introduced to the infamous traffic jams in Jakarta.
The General Manager of the factory my colleague and I visited was sitting in the front seat of the company car. Every few minutes, he’d sigh and mutter, “Ini sebabnya orang Indonesia nomor 1 mendapat infeksi saluran kencing” (This is the main reason why Indonesians get urinary tract infection). My eyes went slightly wide, I looked around to see if anyone else heard then I hid my mouth behind my hand and giggled.
Earlier, as we were leaving the factory, the sky outside was pitch black and the winds were howling. The General Manager and the Finance Manager carried numerous bottled water to the car and reminded us to use the washroom because we may get stuck in traffic later. I asked the General Manager what he meant by that and he explained that with this kind of weather, it was absolute that the roads to the hotel would be flooded. And floods meant that we’d be stuck in traffic. The record for being stuck in traffic from the factory to the city was 8 hours, he informed us. 8 hours!
After 3 hours on the highway, we had gone only less than halfway and was stuck in the most terrible crawl I’ve ever been in. No cars were moving, it was as if I was in a lot of parked cars. We were on the highway in between Pondok Gede and Halim and I saw cars parked by the roadside, possibly waiting for traffic to abate. I wondered if it would be faster if I got out and walked. It was after 11pm.
At around 1am (I decided not to walk after all), after being in traffic for FOUR-AND-A-HALF FREAKING HOURS, our hotel finally came into view. I’ve never felt so happy to see a hotel before and I couldn’t get out of the vehicle fast enough so that I could stagger to my room on wobbly legs. On the plus side, I’ll never complain about being stuck in traffic back home anymore. Still, FOUR-AND-A-HALF FREAKING HOURS!
Traffic jam horror stories anyone?