Jakarta ranks as one of the worst cities for traffic in the world. No joke. With an estimated 25 million people, no metro or subway, few sidewalks, and even fewer highways, that means a lot of vehicles on the road. When it rains, the traffic is ten times worse, so a 5 km journey goes from 20 minutes to an hour. Yes, you read that correctly. It can take an hour or more to go 5 km (roughly 2.2 miles). Now you see why I use Go-Jek for delivery so much.
Anyhow, tonight I had plans to meet my boss and his wife, along with a colleague who is in town, for dinner in Kemang, a trendy area in South Jakarta. After a busy day at IKEA, I dozed off on the couch this afternoon, lulled to sleep by the steady rain outside my window. When I awoke, I only had 30 minutes before I was meant to meet them. Thirty minutes to get somewhere in Jakarta is not very long, so I was a bit worried I’d be late. After changing, I realized the rain had momentarily stopped, although the sky was still grey and ominous. If I get a taxi now, I’ll for sure be at least half an hour late. I’ll have to Go-Jek it. But that means there’s a high chance I’ll be stuck in the rain on the back of the bike.
With little choice, I decided to order a Go-Jek and take my chances, knowing that even then I was going to be late. Having been caught in the rain on a Go-Jek in the past, I knew I had to come prepared. I quickly changed out of the clothes I intended to wear for dinner, opting for a pair of running shorts, a singlet, and a rain jacket. Stuffing my dinner clothes, a hand towel, and extra pair of undies in my purse, I was ready to go. You might be wondering why the extra undies. Well, one time I got stuck in the rain during a torrential downpour and I was soaked right through to my knickers. I wasn’t going to risk it tonight!
Hopping on the back of the bike, it had started to drizzle again. About 5 minutes later, the rain started coming down in sheets. At this point, I was unhappy with my footwear choice as my shoes became soggy. Oh well, I’ll have to live with it. As we wove through the cars lined up at the traffic lights, I was glad I’d gone with the Go-Jek instead of the taxi. I may be wet, but at least I’ll get there at a reasonable time. Pulling into the parking lot, I made my way through the winding hallways to the inside of the mall.
Dripping wet from the ride, I thanked myself for packing dry clothes. I slipped into the restroom to quickly change before dinner. The line for the toilets was so long! I’m not waiting in that line. Sneaking over to a corner near the sinks, I toweled off my legs before removing my rain jacket and pulling my shirt over my singlet, then as quickly as possible, I changed my shorts. If anyone even noticed the bule (foreigner) in the corner changing her clothes, they didn’t bat an eye. Luckily I wasn’t soaked through and still had dry undies. I’m a risk-taker, but not that much of a risk-taker! Dry, apart from my squishy shoes, I made my way to the restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner.