INDONESIA; There are so many reasons to give this photo a second look- first because it represents freedom that has long been done away with in the west.
If a man wants to drive with a LPG tank on his motorcycle, attached to a burner which is lit to keep his soup boiling hot, that’s ok! If his motorcycle happens to be 4 times as wide as before he built the kitchen on it- that’s ok too! He is a Bakso man- serving a wonderful bakso soup! The police will only stop him if they are hungry. Yes there are helmet laws here- hmmm the bakso man in this photo doesn’t care.. But there are more reasons to look.. In Southeast Asia, you can stand anywhere and food will come to you- wonderful food! We drive to restaurants in America, here in Indonesia foodstalls and restaurants are everywhere, and often drive to you!!
About driving, what exactly are the rules? Basically any space on the road a motorcycle can fit in- is acceptable to do just that, Sidewalks too if the road is crowded. The right of way is, who ever gets there first. The rules of the road are to smile and accept whatever anyone does- and we do everything! In theory you need a license to drive, and there is of course an age limit- but if you are a eight year old school kid driving to your local school without a helmet no policeman would mind, (he is after all enjoying a hot bowl of steaming Bakso). Helmets are required- though here in my village no one uses them.. If someone crashes, everyone stops and helps out, unless someone is badly hurt, both crasher and crashee apologize and smile.
Anyway I have always said one day I would like to take a turn as a Bakso Man.. I’ve driven the three wheel taxis in Java, and cleaned out fishing boats in New Zealand, been a security guard in Hawaii, a coral reef ecologist in Australia– someday for a day I would like to be a Bakso Man in Bali. Oh yeah, I also do a little importing, but you know that!
Here are the lyrics to the song I will sing as I drive my old motorcycle with a propane tank valve open, and a flame my boiling steaming broth, with no helmet, through swarms of people—- sung to the tune of “I want to be a macho man”
Bakso Bakso man,
I want be a Bakso man
Bakso Bakso man,
I want to be a Bakso man…
Make up the rest yourself!