My take on Indonesia

I have spent 3 months in this country..but only on 4 of it’s islands..Java, Bali, Lombok and Gili. Here are some negative things.

Too many people……. everybody has to have a child, the kids are everywhere and many are not in school. The people of Indonesia are crowded into cities, villages and along the roads.

Too many people smoking everywhere….young and old and the cigs are too cheap, they cost just over a dollar a pack and are advertised everywhere, Very effective ads… handsome male models look down from gigantic outdoor signs and say ‘never say maybe’. People smoke inside restaurants and stores.

There is a great deal of litter, mostly plastic bags. Most rivers and streams are full of plastic stuff. Bali’s beaches are beautiful but the junk in the water and on the beaches is terrible. There is talk of banning cheap plastic bags in Bali.

Most people get around on motorbikes. Many people drive recklessly. I have had many close calls on the back of a motorbike. The roads are okay, and are being improved but there are places where open holes appear and are very dangerous. Nobody uses turn signals and most go from lane to lane trying to pass vehicles and trucks. Many busy intersections run on the principal. .who is the most macho. Not too much cop presence; I have just seen them checking for license and registration at check points. Sometimes you see them trying to direct traffic. Most stores have someone with a whistle who helps get vehicles out onto the roads…they all want 10 or 20 cents to keep an eye on your vehicle.

Every once in awhile you get stopped to pay a road toll. Very informal and strange. Sorta highway robbery, not a good way to collect taxes.

The Internet is spotty at best. The people are forced to pay for every pixel on the internet.

When things break there is no sense of urgency. Things like VISA swipe machines. They break and nobody knows/cares when it will be fixed.

Like most of Asia nothing seems to be finished. Buildings are not complete and there are piles of stone and bricks to finish the construction sometime in the future, it just is not done yet.

Now for the good things Indonesia has.

Most people are happy, smiling and nice

Families stay together, they live and work together, there is a sense of community and neighbors hang out together.

The food is excellent and I will miss it. Perfect for a veg person like me. You can not imagine how good the fruit and juices are.

This country is developing fast, the young people are plugged into the web and they want what they see there.

Indonesia is beautiful. Not the cities so much but the countryside. I have seen it from trains, busses and the back of a motorbike. Palm trees, coconut trees, tea plantations, rice paddies, volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches and tropical fruit trees.

I hope to see Sumatra next year, I have a friend there and as long as the volcanic action stops I will visit.

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