It’s been quiet (read: dull) in Jakarta, with most of my friends away and nothing happening. After the gym this morning, instead of flopping about like I normally do, I dusted off my new camera and walked out into our unexplored area of Bangka. I am ashamed to state that it’s been almost 2 years in this area, and I’ve never walked around, except in the southerly direction of upmarket Kemang. So here I was, marching out of our Jalan tikus (the narrow little rat lanes of Jakarta that make the best shortcuts) into Bangka that has been traversed every day in the car but never on foot.
Downmarket as it may be, Bangka does have its share of specialty stores – Solo Sae for batik, Borneo Chic with its pricey handbags from Borneo and Divemasters – for the ultimate diving gear and courses. I left them all behind. This is the main street of Bangka Raya that I ventured on:
No let up in the traffic, nothing to admire; I’ve been there in the car often enough. Dodging cars and bikes was an adventure in itself. The sun was out in full force, but I was wary of guzzling water, because it’s the holy month of Ramadhan, and everyone else is fasting.
But anyway, the bravery was rewarding, as I opened my eyes to notice the pretty amongst all the ugliness.
A cafe and gallery soon to open:
Birdcages (sadly, with birds in them):
More jalan tikus:
Happy kids, readily swing into pose for a picture across the street:
And then I saw this very pretty lane:
It lured me in, and the lady reading the Quran was happy to pose too:
After our standard chitchat: Where are you from? What will you do with the pictures? she encouraged me to walk in. There’s more in there, she said, go and see.
She was right. It was like an art village with recycled plastic bottles put to work:
An entire kampung (local settlement) beautified in the same way, friendly folks, showing me this lane and that:
An initiative by the residents themselves, the decor is about a year old. Thrills me no end that it is hardly a km away from home and was a treasure waiting to be found.
Leaving you with some more artiness, while I run off to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: