Is This Car Seat Belt-Free? Jakarta’s Passenger Seat Street

Don’t worry, starting every post with “Is this” isn’t a 2013 new year’s resolution.  Rather, it’s tongue-in-cheek; whenever you enter the average Jakarta taxi (or taxi in much of the world, and many private cars too, and buses, and bar stools), the passenger seats are rather shy about letting you use a seat belt, if they have seat belts at all.  Even better, if you try to put one on in the (front) passenger seat in a Chinese taxi (obviously, it has to offer one first), that’s considered an affront to the driver’s skills.  Well, maybe you could make up for it by saying “钓鱼岛万岁” (diào​yú​dǎo wàn​suì– long live Diaoyu Islands).  I wouldn’t.

Back in Jakarta, I was on a sporadically-placed lunch break, courtesy of working at a private language school, when I  decided to deviate from the usual territory and walk through the backpacker ghetto, also known as Jalan Jaksa.  It may have changed since then (but why?  Jakarta isn’t quite the caucasian dreadlock scene Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur have sadly become used to.  Though there is that other category of Southeast Asia acolytes, presumably far, far worse…), but all I remember about it was walking into one hostel without windows, with a smoking Australian bogan lying on the floor, and eating sour orange crepes at an outdoor restaurant.  You know, good times.

A seat belt-less taxi ride back to work brought a coworker and I past a somewhat unusual street scene, or perhaps, sidewalk scene.  The exact street name eludes me, and the usual map websites won’t allow full zooming in to verify; it’s nearly the same issue with the Indonesian-language website.  What we found were car passenger seats splayed along either Gang 17 or Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur Dalam (on each map, I added a location marker roughly in between those two north-south jalan, or streets.  That’s the life.  One question (or more?  probably more) should, nay will be asked: if you can find a bicyclist selling/displaying ice (tropical country, don’t forget) and a ferris wheel,  what difference in weight distribution will a couple of vintage Toyota Camry seats make?  If you think it’s because the biker would also be the person fixing the seats, therefore how could he pedal and upholster at the same time, then you probably didn’t click the ferris wheel link to see a rebuttal….

Must give the artisans credit though- those seats are supremely comfortable when not packed tightly in a car.

PS, the mosaic pattern around my face is all-natural.

This entry was posted in (Inhuman) Nature?, East & Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Non-Aviation Transit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is This Car Seat Belt-Free? Jakarta’s Passenger Seat Street

  1. ireneperelli says:

    My Dad’s old car in Jakarta doesn’t have a seatbelt! Reminds me of the old days!


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