Depok, My Backyard and Beyond

Greetings, my good friends and beloved family

A week of BIPA classes have come and gone, a four hour daily dose of intensive Indonesian language. To tell the truth, it does not seem any more intensive than most of the rest of the day as I navigate through the spaces and places that are Depok, Indonesia. Unlike my experience in Malaysia, there are very few people here with whom to hold a conversation in English. I love it. There are the downsides, of course; while I really enjoy pushing my language skills and I get such pleasure out of interacting and seeing the world through a whole new lens, it is true that there are certain needs that are not met when one does not have the chance to have a conversation any deeper than my limited vocabulary allows me to go. There is a certain loneliness that creeps up on a quiet evening once in a while. It does make those occasional phone calls with family all the more rewarding. Those conversations can be a bit challenging, however, because I find myself out of practice and not very good at articulating complex ideas in spoken English…
I wanted to send a few pictures, maybe give a little flavor of the world that i am navigating on a daily basis. This hardly does justice to the place, however, just a few snapshots.
First of all, a little series of public transportation. We see here the grand road that is Jalan Margonda. This is the large road that parallels the railroad tracks, and is obviously the sight of some pretty rapid and ridiculously huge development recently. There are two large and very new shopping centers, and even a new Starbuck’s if you go down the street a little bit.

This road acts as one of the main arteries for bus travel for that wanting to get out of the town of Depok and to another district, or perhaps to Jakarta itself. The Angkot (maybe spelled correctly…) angkotis great for short distances, though not always the most comfortable for tall white boys with very long legs. The next picture is of one of the buses that runs into South Jakarta, North out of Depok. bus margonda.jpgI love riding these buses, there is always something interesting to watch. An area of employment that doesn’t seem to exist back in Minnesota is the guy that hangs out the door of the bus, doing his best to make sure everyone knows where the bus is going and trying to convince them that his bus is definitely the bus that they want to be on. He’s also the guy that asks for your fare once you’re either seated or squished into the crowd on the bus. Then, of course, you can also take the train. weekend train depok.jpgThis is the weekend, so it’s not all that busy, but usually there are bodies hanging out of the windows and the doors. Once I even saw people riding on the roof. My first time jumping into that fray was a bit intimidating, but I was quite proud of myself for getting where I needed to go. Plus, I think I earned extra “solidarity with the masses” points…
Another popular way of getting around, a bit more expensive but much more efficient, a little more dangerous and a little more fun, is to hire one of the many Ojek drivers hanging around every public place to give you a personal ride on the back of his motorcycle. friendly chaps ojek.jpgThese friendly chaps were hanging out, calling to people that looked like they might want a ride somewhere. The ojek drivers that hang out near my room don’t seem as happy to see me nowadays, ever since I bought my own bicycle…
Finally, fellow graduates from Perham High School will appreciate this last picture.ui yellowjackets.jpg I had no idea, but it turns out that the Universitas Indonesia is also the Yellow Jackets. Who would’ve thunk it? I bet we could waste ’em in basketball, though they might have an edge in the soccer department.

Indo Hand Phone # +62 81386389521

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