The Great Jakarta Traffic Jam

I’m finally home…comfy and warm on my bed. Today we experienced another FIRST for us here in Jakarta. Our car got stuck in traffic for 4+ hours en route home from my hubby’s office to our home. A drive that takes an average of 15 minutes a day – 30 mins tops with traffic. Before today the longest it ever took my husband to get home was 1 hour.

The day started pretty well, I had lunch in Avorio, Plaza Senayan with my girlfriends. I went to a few store then left to go to my husbands office to pick him up. As I was exiting the mall, I was surprised at how strong the rains were. When I got to his office, the bamboo tree had already fallen across the driveway. Yikes. (That was not a good sign.)

Fallen trees in the streets of jakarta due to heavy rains

(image: beritajakarta.com)

5:15 pm

Left hubby’s office. We were planning to go home, freshen up and catch a 7 pm movie. Since my friend warned me of the horrible traffic along the main road to our house, we instructed the driver to take an alternative road.

5:45 pm

We got stuck near beside a small mall. 

7:15 pm

Still stuck in that exact same spot. Gaaaaa!

7:30 pm

The rain becomes a drizzle. We decide to walk to the mall and look for something to eat. We bought the driver some food and drinks and brought it to the car. (No movement at all) Then found a restaurant to eat in. We ate slowly, and then even went around to check the shops.

8:20 pm

We came out to find the car in exactly the same spot. By now the drivers on the road had turned off their engines and locked the cars and were already chatting by the side of the road. Just hanging out under the drizzle.

While debating on whether to walk home or not, there was some movement… and everyone jumped in their cars in a hurry! … Only for us to move something like TWO METERS! That was when we decided to walk home.

Good thing I always keep a pair of rubber slippers in the car (trying to minimize wear of heels and pointy shoes to avoid bunions & hammertoes) because I wouldn’t have been able to do it wearing my peep-toe platforms!

8:30 – 8:55 pm

The walk home was not a very pleasant experience. There are barely any sidewalks in the neighborhood, and we had to walk on the street while dodging fast motorcycles who were weaving through traffic. One motorcycle almost backed in on me. (I jumped fast enough to avoid burning my leg on his muffler) and while walking on a dark street, a van almost side-swiped us. We had to jump into the mud to avoid the car. I could understand that people were going a little bit nuts from all the traffic – happens to me in Manila too! You go driving like a mad(wo)man when you finally move! I have to say that for me crossing the street here is scarier for me than in Manila, because there are so many more motorcycles here in Jakarta and sometimes they go flying at you without any warning! It’s something that I haven’t gotten used to. I’m a bit traumatized by crossing the street  to go to the salon across our house where a motorcycle and a car almost bumped me – in the pedestrian crossing lane. Phew. Almost.

8:55 pm

Arrived home with legs and feet muddy, hair wet and tired from the ordeal. It took us 25 minutes to walk home from the place we’ve been stuck in for 3 hours! That’s how near it was. Talk about the expression “So near yet so far!”

9:30 pm

The driver finally arrived home! YAY! I felt so bad for him, I offered him more food but he said he was full already from the food we gave him earlier. I packed him off with a big slice of banana bread for his commute home. The streets have started clearing up as well – thank God!

 

We checked the news and apparently the rain caused flooding and toppled over trees making many roads impassable. No wonder! Today was a super freak traffic jam! 4 plus hours to get home for a ride that usually takes 15 minutes!  Crazy!!!

The lesson of the story is not to take back street when it’s flooding. Main streets are the way to go, because somehow traffic will manage to move.

I checked with my friends and most of them were in the same situation. But I am happy to say that after 3.5 – 4.5 hours on the road, almost everyone made it home safe and sound, or just started traveling home after waiting it out (Smart!). What a night! Everyone must be so exhausted… Sleep tight and rest well everyone!

P.S.

FYI, this is the 2nd time we’ve had to walk home in Jakarta because traffic was just that bad. The first time was for the World Cup Championship Finals. We couldn’t get a cab, and we were moving faster than the cabs walking  anyway. LOL. We walked from 4:30 am to 6:30 am – with a snack break in between to rest at a 24 hour dimsum place. =P

 

Lovely comments

  1. says

    JG says that aside from you, his Indonesian (I think) diplomat friend and another from DFA got stuck in traffic too that day. Must’ve been really frustrating. But glad you guys got through it okay.

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