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The city of Jakarta has 10 million people and over 9 million registered motorcycles. The entire United States has 310 million people and over 7 million registered motorcycles.

Pollution is a problem in Jakarta. Pollution-01

It is no surprise that 70% of air pollution is caused by motor vehicles, with that number only expected to grow in the coming years. To combat this, residents can often be seen wearing face masks to prevent the inhalation of exhaust smoke and other debris, especially while traveling in or near the heavy traffic of the main roads.

The AIG was surprised to see the mask itself has become more than a utilitarian piece of disposable equipment sold in bulk at pharmacies. It has taken on a role of fashion accessory: often color coordinated with outfits or adorned with a favorite pattern or cartoon character. The fashionable variety is often reusable, made with more durable textiles, with users often having an assortment at home to choose from.

This ain’t your momma’s pollution mask.

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The Daily Crawl

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jakarta traffic2Jakarta is a big city, really big.  It’s metropolitan population is somewhere around 28 million ranking it about sixth in the world.  Unfortunately it is also one of the largest cities in the world without a significant public transport system making its travel delays unavoidable and traffic the first topic of most small talk.  The AIG was well aware of this fact in advance of our arrival and had planned accordingly, 2-3 hours commute allowed between appointments, lots of water in the backpacks etc. Planning and reality can differ however and the reality of what Jakarta traffic can really be like is astounding.  So far we have averaged between 7-8km/hr (5 mph) in the city, and have not even hit what the locals would call a “Macet”, a word Jakartans have invented for when the word “traffic” doesn’t really cut it.Daily Route

The Bicycle Rickshaw

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BRAll over Delhi, from the busiest freeways to the most crowded markets you can see bicycle rickshaws plying their trade.  This type of rickshaw has many benefits over other forms of Delhi transport not least the serene nature of the journey itself which brings involuntary smiles to the passengers.  Always wanting to reach a deeper level of understanding the AIG sent Kiwi out to investigate further which resulted in an ecstatic rickshaw owner finding himself being peddled around the market by what he could only assume was an insane tourist.  The verdict “this is a bloody hard job”.

The Daily Commute

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Metro-01After fighting our way through crowds of TukTuk’s, taxi’s, buses and everything else imaginable on Delhi’s crowded streets the AIG team ventured underground and found a calm, efficient, modern oasis of a public transport system that would be the pride of Manhattan if relocated.

The Delhi Metro runs about every minute at rush hour, a fact discovered by the AIG when they missed the southbound Yellow Line by mere yards and began loudly bemoaning their bad luck…only to feel rather foolish as the next one rolled in within seconds.

The Delhi Metro opened in 2002 and is rapidly expanding which is a common theme in these parts.  No riding on the roof, ladies get their own carriage and photography is prohibited.