I went for a walk a bit later than usual this Sunday. Between 6am and 7am is a very dangerous time for cyclists on the main Citra Raya roads. There are young men on motor bikes, as well as boys as young as 11 years old. They are like young males everywhere – out to “impress”, oblivious to the consequences of their actions. The most dangerous though, are the young girls, from ~16 to 20 years old. They are on motor bikes in two’s and three’s, and act like they are in a coffee shop, not on a moving vehicle. When we cycle, we usually head out of Citra Raya quickly, and return via the market, after 07:30am.
I witnessed a very near tragedy involving both male and female riders. A girl was entering a ght-hand corner, using her handphone in her hand-brake hand, while two males came roaring (50km/hr is fast in Indonesia) from her right, towards their mates on the far side of the road. Somehow, one of them only clipped her and she didn’t go over. Faced with five males, she tootled off rather than make an issue of the boys’ carelessness. Half a second later, and she and the young man would have been on their way to hospital, or worse.
Sunday mornings are always really interesting. Many people say “Selamat pagi” in a genuine way, and there are always plenty inter-cultural experiences. The sightseeing bus (fare Rp1000 [~$0.12]) is always full of small children and their pembantus. For some reason, I always feel uplifted by a glimpse of the far-away volcanoes.
There are always a lot of kids about, and it is a sign of growing affluence in the surrounding villages that they all have bicycles. (When I first came to Indonesia, it was usually only those who couldn’t afford a car or motorcycle who cycled.)
Bordering on Surabaya’s west, Citra Raya is in stark contrast to the villages from whence the early-morning motorcyclists come. For a start, instead of mosques, there is a new, large, Catholic church, with a very large congregation, the streets are comparatively wideand clean, and the buildings are substantially large. Even so, aspects of traditional Indonesian culture are very evident.