Idul Fitri / Mudik

Idul Fitri is the official end of Ramadan – the month of fasting for Muslims – and is Sunday  and Monday.  The official holiday is Monday and Tuesday but will really continue all week.  It is a HUGE holiday and people take time off and travel to their home towns to visit family (mudik).  They told us Jakarta would  empty out as people travel to their hometowns, but we didn’t believe it.  BUT, it’s absolutely true!

This is the EMPTY street outside the office at 3:45 pm on Monday.  No cars!  Tidak macet! (No traffic!)
And this is looking the other way – empty as can be….

It’s already starting to get hard to find a taxi.  Imagine 100 million people in central Java trying to travel – on mostly 2-lane roads – you can imagine the traffic and logistical nightmare.  Airline ticket prices double, train tickets are unavailable, and car traffic, which is already bad, approaches apocalyptic proportions.

Last year one of the people in office drove to Yogyakarta – 325 miles) and it took 60 HOURS – stopping only for gas and to switch drivers.  You ask, ‘how can that be’?  Easy – if several million people get on the same 2-lane road, traffic crawls ALL the way there.  Bandung (100 miles) will take 24 hours.  You have to REALLY want to see your family!  But culturally, whether Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or whatever, it’s what Indonesians do.  We talked to a friend in Jogja and mentioned that Jakarta was a ghost town and he said ‘ yeah, they’re all here in Jogja!’

Lighting display in front of our apartment.  1438H is the year according to the Islamic calendar
Miniature mosque decorated in flashing lights
Another mosque display
A little picture-taking display for Ramadan
This is the lobby of Office 8 next door to the office.  Totally empty at 4:-00 pm.  Creepy….  

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