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The umbrella-kids near the bridge JAKARTA - Yesterday in the late afternoon I was still in Jakarta. Not entirely according to my own planning, but those things are very hard to plan in this country, and even then there is not a real problem, because there is always another way to enjoy yourself and to get home as well.

I walked around in the area of Blok M in South Jakarta just after five in the afternoon because I wanted something to eat before I went home. I noticed heavy weather approaching already. A dark sky was slowly covering the city from the east and some refreshing wind gusts were already blowing through the area. Before it was totally dark a shadow-play of clouds and lightning had started and soon after heavy rain followed suit.

Shortly after six in the evening I stepped down from the Busway bus and was slightly shocked to see that the bus to Lippo Cikarang just passed the main bus stop across four lanes of traffic in front of Ratu Plaza. I missed that one indeed. But in half an hour or so there would be another one, because they are scheduled and regularly stick to their schedule as well.

The bad weather was well under way by now. I could do little more than waiting on the lower part of the passenger bridge that connected the eastern and western part of the wide 'protocol road' and the bus station in the middle. There were dozens of people waiting in line for their buses to arrive, so I should have no problem spending my time here for that half an hour.

That half an hour soon became more than just that short period of time. I suspected that the bus had ran into a large traffic jam on the toll-road from Bekasi to here, so I probably had much more time than just a few minutes. I didn't want to seek shelter in the nearby mall, and above that it might just be that a bus suddenly showed up after all. Nothing it sure here.

I saw several umbrella's near the end of the bridge. Below them a few children, shivering and wet from the rain. They were renting out their large umbrella's to those Indonesians that wanted to stay dry but needed to go somewhere right away.

For just 1,000 Rupiah they hand over their umbrella's to the Indonesian with laptop bag that is in a hurry and seems to run off with that umbrella when the transfer is done. The child, varying between five and a 16-year-old pregnant girl, all on bare feet, runs after their customer to be sure that they do indeed receive their tip at the end.

Several minutes after they suddenly disappear they are back again to wait for another customer. They do this in typical Indonesian fashion by waiting directly in front of the end of the bridge, while waiting at the sides is also perfectly possible. Their customers know where to find these umbrella-children and they have an umbrella above their heads to stay dry while waiting.

People are waiting for their buses on the ramp of the pedestrian bridge in front of Ratu Plaza, South Jakarta.
People are waiting for their buses on the ramp of the pedestrian bridge in front of Ratu Plaza, South Jakarta. indahnesia.com



Tags: children, umbrella, jakarta


Posted in Culture @ 01 December 2009 10:22 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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