Monday, August 06, 2007

Back online, with bemos

We've replaced our slow and unreliable cable internet line with a DSL connection that offers same-day service (i.e. if you enter a web address, the page actually loads and opens on the same day. Imagine!).

I've been taking a lot of pictures of these little bemos lately. They run a fixed route around our neighborhood, taking you down to the market for Rp 2000 (about twenty cents).

Our landlord says they're left over from the 1962 Asian Games. Some, like the one above, definitely look the part.

Others are either of more recent vintage or have had major body work. They might have snazzy paint jobs and fanciful names like "Flower" (Bunga). If you've ever inhaled what comes out of a bemo's tailpipe, you know it doesn't smell like a flower.

Bemos seat six people comfortably, or eight people during rush hour, on two padded benches facing each other. You can also sit next to the driver, unless he has a friend or child with him for company.

The Number One Rule of taking a bemo is: do not get in one that's stopped and idling somewhere. The drivers like to accumulate a few passengers before taking off, which means you could be sitting in there for ten minutes while blue smoke fills the passenger cabin. In accordance with Newtonian law, once in motion, a bemo tends to stay in motion, so if you flag one down en route instead, your lungs will thank you.

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