Sunday, 6th August 2017.
It was the highlight of our trip this time around.
I watched the Jakarta skies at 6am, looking for the sunrise. It was already bright, but I couldn't find it. Perhaps the angle of my window did not allow me to enjoy the sunrise.
So I looked towards Jalan Hayam Wuruk. Countless of people were already walking and cycling towards Jalan MH Thamrin to enjoy the morning. I woke my little sister up; I did't want to miss it this time.
After a little biscuit and tea, we walked to the Harmoni bus stop. There were already loads of chattering primary schoolgirls and excited schoolboys waiting at the halte. The bus came in no time. The kids continues on chattering in the slow bus – it seems that some of the people walked in the busway itself.
As we were on the bus, we saw Indonesians from all walks of life, on their bicycles, running, just walking, pushing their carts, carrying boxes of Aqua, along the road. The road is busier near Sarinah, and the crowd was the biggest near Plaza Indonesia.
We came down at the Tossari stop, planning to walk northwards towards Bank Indonesia stop, which is about 3km away. As we crossed the flyover, the scenery from above is just amazing! Thousands upon thousands of people walking around Bundaran HI, some going northwards, some southwards.
The first thing I looked for was breakfast, of course. There were many street peddlers selling all sorts of food – bubur ayam, nasi goreng, ketoprak, otak-otak, sate, bottled drinks. After taking a few photos, I settled for pecel with lontong, enjoying the rising sun on my face while watching people passing by.
There were boys learning to skate.
Some youngsters selling bottled water, IR5000 for two.
Men pushing carts selling pasteurized milk, with or without flavours.
Ondel-ondel Betawi dancing to dangdut music, with a friend taking donations on behalf.
Groups of secondary school kids campaigning for their chosen cause. Their friendly faces going around asking for charity.
Middle-aged and elderly cyclists taking a breather on the roadside while dancing to even more dangdut tunes.
Groups of girls taking selfies aftwr selfies, while giggling and laughing and at times shouting and screaming.
Various charity organisations asking for alms from generous folks.
Street vendors selling fruits, hot tea, juices, clothes and toys.
Even umrah agents offering cheap packages.
A group of Batavian clad in traditional clothes, marching together.
Groups of the more health-conscious groups teaching exercises from on top of podiums.
Indonesian flags and banners waving proudly along the streets – it is their month of independence.
Somewhere along the road, someone played the song Indonesia Pusaka on radio.
My tears welled up, out of joy.
Its festivity, merriment, the peoples' passion and love for their country, their fighting spirit, their efforts to bring sustenance home no matter what it takes, their bursting energy – it is like Indonesia in a snapshot.
I have fallen in love with this city ever since I visited it in March, and I have always had a soft spot for Indonesia since I was young. So I left a little bit more of my heart in this big city, hoping someone will keep it there for me, as I will come back to look for it again.
. . .
Jakarta Car Free day is held every Sunday, where Jalan MH Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman are closed to motorised vehicles, except for Transjakarta buses – these buses have their own busway. There are other roads in other parts of Jakarta that are closed on the third Sunday the month. It is estimated that 100,000 people walk the roads every Sunday – that is 10% of the Jakartans.
. . .
"….karya indah Tuhan Maha Kuasa
Bagi bangsa yang memujanya.
Di sana tempat lahir beta
Dibuai dibesarkan bonda
Tempat berlindung di hari tua
Sampai akhir menutup mata…"