Coming from California, and having never been outside of the U.S. before makes this experience that much more novel to me. The three biggest differences immediately struck me during my hour long observation session while seated in the back of my taxi from the airport.
1. Jakarta is tucked snugly into a thick blanket of smog that makes Los Angeles look like it’s sleeping naked under Egyptian Cotton Sheets.
2. Litter from construction materials is rivaled only by the amount of human trash litter. There are open sewage ditches that someone could easily fall into if they were to be engaging in America’s favorite pastime: texting while walking. (Reminder: leave nokia in bag at all times)
Note: Cats will pop out of these ditches intermittently and no matter how cute the little baby kitten cat is, Do not touch it. Because if there were to be a zombie apocalypse, it would start with these Golem looking creatures biting some unsuspecting warm-hearted old cat lady.
3. Traffic. I never want to hear someone from the U.S. complain about traffic again because until you have experienced the extremely innovative clusterfuck of motorcycles, taxis, buses, and cars that is Jakarta, you will never know what traffic is. I have seen people create 4 lanes out of 2. I have seen motorcycles take over the sidewalks, and create a 2 lane road out of it. Oh, and police cars, ambulances, and firetrucks have to just sit and wait their turn with everyone else.
Jakarta is an unapologetic urban seductress that slaps you in the face and says: “Deal with it, bitch! I promise it will be worth your while…”