Thursday, October 7, 2010

Means of Transport

I was, at first, reluctant to climb into a becak (be-chak) on the streets of Yogyakarta. I was concerned about the cars and motorbikes whizzing by and the risk of getting hit. Then, I noticed that just about all the locals, old and young, ride in becaks. Next, I noticed that becaks get a lot of respect -- among drivers of motorized vehicles. Ok, maybe not a lot of respect, but enough respect to count -- and convince me to climb in and take a ride. On some streets of Yogya -- they have their own lane -- along the backstreets -- they pretty much have the street to themselves. By sheer numbers, they outnumber taxis by about 10 to 1.

It's a quiet ride along those back streets -- with the occasional motorbike darting past -- otherwise it's the sound of the becak drivers' feet going up and down on the bicycle pedals -- and the ding-ding of his bell -- when we are approaching a pedestrian from behind.

The becaks are a bit more expensive than a taxi, but I enjoyed riding in them -- they're pollution free and it helps the guy stay in business.

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