To my surprise, on this trip, I have not yet had any flat tires on public transport but did enjoy engine failure the other day. The journey was from Bogor to Bandung. We got off to a good start but things went rapidly down hill from there. I was once again riding “ekonomi” and therefore could not expect too much.
There is some really beautiful country in between these two cities along with mountains, valleys, and rice fields.
It’s gorgeous but if you’re going to break down you want it to be next to a gas station or failing that at least on flat ground so the bus doesn’t partner up too much with gravity and send you into a ravine.
Boulders behind the wheels acted as our anti-gravity force field.
Usually in developing countries an event like this seems to stir whatever male local population there is into some kind of action. I am never sure exactly what it is but am sure their intentions are good.
They do a lot of mingling.
Mingling is big here in Asia and in Africa. From the mingling you can usually expect a decision to be made how best to approach the problem. That is always a bad thing to assume.
What typically happens first is that a third of the men just depart without any action being taken for the benefit of the bus or its passengers.
A portion of the men will remain huddled, presumably, discussing the issue but in actuality it can often be fair to say that someone has broken out a deck of cards or brought up a far more interesting topic to discuss.
The two men that are left will approach the engine, one hand clutching a hammer or crowbar, the other hand being used as a head scratcher. Neither inducing confidence in the passengers who are strewn about the roadside waiting and watching…sometimes cooking!
Miracles do happen and the hammer/crowbar technique will spring the engine back to life. Everyone piles on and hopefully you make it to your destination. On this occasion we went through this three times before puttering into the Bandung terminal on what seemed like a last gasp.
For photos of Indonesia click here.