Tag Archives: Traffic

Troubling scene on Swanston St

I was on Swanston St earlier today and saw a rather troubling scene.

If you know Melbourne at all, you know that Swanston St is off limit to cars. Today, though, someone in a regular car was in the lane beside a tram. When I came onto the scene, the tram driver was yelling into his microphone at the person in the car. “Get off the road! You’re blocking the trams!! Get off the road!!”

Like, totes freaking out. His tone was angry but also condescending. I imagine that what he wanted to be saying was, “You idiot! Get the hell out of my way! What’s wrong with you?! Can’t you read a sign! Where did you get your license?!” 

Pedestrians all around were gawking at this altercation. As the driver of the car eventually found a way to get out the situation (turning right – in front of the tram – into Little Lonsdale St), some of those pedestrians howled and clapped long and slow, a “good onya idiot, about bloody time”. 

I think it’s pretty awful to speak to people the way the tram driver did today (and the way the pedestrians howled). It’s as if there is no room for error. You can’t make a mistake or it brands you as deeply incompetent, not worthy of respect.

But what’s more, it’s Swanston St! What if that was an interstate driver, under the pump in peak hour traffic? Caught out by a hook turn? Surely that tram driver or those people on the street wouldn’t need a lot of empathetic imagination to put themselves in the driver’s shoes.

I just reckon it’s really rough when we find ourselves unable to tolerate mistakes, and ready to belittle someone when they do. I think it’s doubly disturbing when it’s a guy with a microphone and 100s of people standing around on a street corner, behaving terribly to a lone person.

Poor form tram driver.

The rains are ‘ere

Since about two weeks ago it has been raining every day. Not always a huge amount of rain, but enough to signal the beginning of the monsoon. But three days ago, on my way home from dinner it started to rain hard. It bucketed down. By the time I made it home there was a stream flowing through the driveway.

When I woke up the next morning it was still raining. The stream in my driveway had turned into a gushing river and I got soaked through when I dared to leave the cover of the porch to get into the car. It was only one step away!

This is what it looked like in the car on the way to work. I felt very sorry for the motorbike riders.

One of the major obstacles of driving through this rain was that the water on the road concealed the huge potholes we usually go to great lengths to avoid.

And just when I thought I’d seen a lot of water, we got to the guesthouse to pick up the new intern. This house is right next door to the giant house I was living in before.

The awful thing was that it kept raining that hard for another 8 hours, so imagine how much worse the flooding got. Apparently this amount of rain is not usual, but not entirely uncommon.

Did you know that having a good vocabulary can help you save the world from hunger?

Have a look at the Free Rice website. I got to 500 grains of rice before I felt guilty for wasting time.


Stuck in traffic?

Thank you everyone for sending me “get well soon” emails. I am healthy again and perhaps even feeling at my best since arriving! (Probably just jinxed it. Helloooo typhoid)

I didn’t even get to take a day off work! On Monday morning I was back in the UNIFEM car stuck in traffic once again. For a small city the traffic flows unbelievably poorly.

This is a photo of the stationary traffic. It doesn’t even look that busy but we sure weren’t moving.

Wait…What is that up ahead?…
Soldiers! And they are singing! Do Australian soldiers sing? Do they march up the streets of Canberra?

After struggling for a while we finally get in beside them to overtake. I think my driver Pak Halim was just trying to get a good vantage point for my photography.

Eventually we make it to the office and watch the soldiers as they march past. Off they go, merrily marching…oh no….

I’ve been spotted!

What is that shining young representative of the military doing?

Oh yes, he’s giving me the finger(s).

Debate amongst yourselves if you think he intended to show me a peace sign. And then further debate if it is hypocritical for a soldier to make a pledge for peace, which might lead to further debate on whether a highly militarised government has a greater or lesser chance of achieving peace.

Have fun with that and report back in the comments.

On arrival in new country, so many potential posts, so little internet time

I’m in Jakarta now, spending a week doing “in-country training” which has so far consisted of a language teacher cooking us food she can’t eat (fasting for Ramadan) and telling us about our star signs (in English). We stepped up training this afternoon by going to a shopping centre with a swimming pool and taking a very enjoyable dip.

I’ve taken a few photos and have even racked up a few ideas for posts, but left my camera in my room when I came downstairs to a cafe to use the wireless internet. If I intend to be a diligent poster I am going to have to be on the ball in future.

Jakarta is hot and polluted as you might imagine, but I love it. In the beginning everything just smells and looks and feels exotic and “away from home”. I’m guessing that could wear pretty thin pretty quickly if I lived here. We spent at least three hours in traffic today. One of those hours was pretty bloody awful because I needed to wee. The bus driver kindly stopped at a petrol station for me.

I will be flying to Banda Aceh on Friday morning after a big night of karaoke we have planned for Thursday night. I can’t wait to get there and start sorting myself out.