There are two fail-safe sensory overloads for the traveller who wants to learn about a new place: going to the local supermarket, replete with its adventurous, exciting foods and people watching, and taking public transportation, with all of the delays, break-downs and random farm animals that comes with it. A perfect example? My cargo ferry ride in the Philippines, starring 41 water buffalo, several chickens and over 2 days of delays. Moving on from the Phils to Indonesia, I found plenty of transportation adventures for the taking, including a 30-hour trip back from Flores through the centre of Sumbawa and Lombok. Following in the footsteps of that epic journey, other public transportation routes within Indonesia piled on the hilarity.

What I Learnt About Public Transportation in Indonesia:

1. Indonesian slow ferries are as on time as Filipino slow ferries. That is, they are never remotely on time.

2. Indonesian slow ferries have a secret weapon: a raised, square platform covered in a green, rugged carpet. Located at the back of the ferry, it provided a perfect opportunity to lie down and a much more comfortable option than the hard, plastic seats everyone else seemed to occupy.

3. If you have a ticket for a seat in a minibus, it does not mean you will sit in the minibus. Chances are, you will sit atop it.

Sitting on top of the bus

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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