Friday, February 1, 2008

What a HORRIBLY WET day in Jakarta

It would have not been so bad if today is April Fool's day, but no, it is only Feb 01.

It was raining cats and dogs that woke me up in the wee hours of the morning and I could not be bothered to look at the clock but tucked myself underneath the warm comforter in bed and continued with my slumber until, hmm, I guessed about 9'ish.
Happily got myself ready for work and to fly home later in the day to my ever so lovely wife and kids (oops, not kids anymore but grown up and teenage daughters) but sadly, that was not the case.

A brave venture out the front door from my SOHO was about a foot high flood water...and that was the order of the day until about now, 11.30pm. To make matter worst, the power was cut at about 12 noon where my art director was midway burning a CD for a full page congratulatory ad in Kompas the next day. No matter what, we have to get the ad material to Kompas in Palmerah. I must say we were lucky enough as my Brand Director has some 'connections' there and we were able to come up with a plan to bring our Mac G5 CPU there since there was no electricity in the office! Mind you, it was still raining and there was this 1 foot high floodwater. To cut the story short, my Art Director made it there safe and sound despite having to negotiate the massive traffic congestion and floodwater along the way. To the guys in Kompas, who were so helpful, a very BIG THANK YOU for your kind assistance.

Now that our one and only car was being used to send the G5 and my Art Director to Kompas, I had no choice but to go to the airport by a cab, given that we would have been in some serious "shit" if Kompas carry a full page blank without the ad, and costing about Rp200+ million, the next day.

There I was in a cab on the way to the airport and by the time I reached the junction in front of Mal Taman Anggerek, the traffic was at a total stand-still, smacked right in front of my face. I sat in the cab and waited... and waited..... for about an hour, and the cab hardly ever moved! By then, I had no choice but to change my flight and went straight back to my SOHO (pics showing me walking back and the guys in the office ready with the digicam handy, and I, of course gladly posed for them, keeping cool and not wanting to show my frustration and disappointment. Now that I am in the filthy flood water, I know what the feeling was like when I watched on TV what and how the poor folks of Jakarta have to endure everytime it rains). I SMSed my wife about the change of travel plans, knowing very well that she and the kids will be very disappointed. (As for me, I was devastated). Then again, and in a way, it was a small blessing in disguise as I found out that another Malaysian buddy who was also on the way to the airport at about the same time was stuck in the massive traffic congestion and he couldn't even get passed Mal TA. He was diverted out of Slipi by the traffic cops, heading towards Tangerang and was stuck at Puri Indah area for 1.5 hours ( it was 9.35pm when the SMS came in and he had been in the car for the past 5 long and agonizing hours).
And finally, at about 11.30pm, the power was back.

I supposed Fauzi Bowo's election campaign theme "Jakarta untuk semua" really do hold a lot of weight in water. Now it would probably read, "Banjir untuk semua", Macet untuk semua" and for the rest of the odinary folks like you and me out there, that theme should be translated to "RUGI untuk SEMUA".
Look, this is a known problem and issue for so long, year in and year out, the same problem persisted and it's getting from bad to worst. For Jakarta's sake, what are the elected officials, the city council and the government been doing?
Remembered my Malaysian buddy that was stuck for 5 hours? This's his SMS at 6.35am the next morning on Feb 2, quote and unquote:
"FYI, I never got to the airport & got stuck @ Puri/Rawa Buaya area and then turn back to hse. Reached home 6.15am or 14 hours after I started. U better check traffic flow and weather, till this morning tool rd to airport still closed".
To my buddy, I feel and share your frustration too. However, we should not let this stress us out too much but to try and try to be positive, afterall, we have no choice but to manage it well.
It a short-while, it will be a trying time for me to get to the airport as the toll road is still closed.
In view of the latest traffic and flood situation update I obtained from, especially on the toll road to the airport, I rang my driver to come in earlier to send me to the airport, as I intend to leave earlier than planned, using an alternative route with the this thought, "Yes it will be a longer journey but the journey will be smooth" Amen.

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