Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Ok, today I am simply going to talk about random stuff. First on the agenda: buses.

Indonesian buses are truly unique. So what are the most important elements of an Indonesian bus? No, not the suspension. No, not the steering. The most important thing to invest in when doing up bus here are: stickers and sound system. I�ll start with sound system. Imagine an old rickety bus; seat covers coming apart, dirt collecting in every possible corner etc etc. Now imagine an illegal rave, with an old, but powerful PA system blasting out happy hardcore. Now combine the two. In fact, throw in one of those �boy racer� cars with the expensive rear mounted sub-woofers. Now you are close to understanding the auditory power of these otherwise scrap-worthy vehicles.

Actually the happy hardcore is mainly played in the smaller buses, which aren�t really buses at all; more like moving bass bins on wheels. They are actually those small mini-vans you rarely see in England, but which maybe the village butcher might drive. You know, the ones which re-defined the word �mini-van� and promoted the current models up to, ummmm, �midi-van�? Anyway, yeah, them, but with half of the back filled with speakers and the other half crammed with people squished along little benches along the sides or hanging out of the door. The �buses�, also known as �Colts�, �bemos�, and other names, are invariably driven by teenage boys, who treat the whole affair like a ride on the dodgems, with the happy hardcore or gabba techno adding to this feeling. They drive around trying to cut each other off or push one another off the road and into the pedestrians on the pavement, finding the whole thing hilarious, and driving as fast as possible, their adrenaline fueled by the 200bpm blasting out of the speakers. They are essentially boy racers with passengers.

But it�s not just the music that creates this image. It�s the stickers. Every bus, be it a Bemo or a big bus, is completely covered in lurid stickers except a small strip about a foot high to allow the driver to see through the windscreen�. a bit. These stickers really do make every bus look like it belongs in a fairground! They are hard to describe, but a few things that stick in my mind are: huge graffiti like bubble writing, NO FEAR logos, go faster stripes�.. basically anything goes as long as no bus is visible. As for how they manage to drive with only a foot high strip of windscreen to see through, I really couldn�t tell you�. But they do!

So, that's indonesian buses. I have a picture, but dont have the means to post it up.... will let you know when it's up on my photos site....

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