Feeling increasingly confident about my regular routes through Semarang, I decided to try taking an angkot (public minivan) again. This time my van was much more full of people and much less full of fruit, so all the passengers played a rousing game of “guess the foreigner’s age.” Since everyone was guessing numbers in the 20s, I rather liked that game.
Midway through the ride, however, the van stopped. As in the engine quit. I figured the engine stalled or something since we were going uphill and had just pulled over to let someone off. But instead of restarting the vehicle, the driver got out and stood on the side of the road, beside the minivan. Turns out we were out of gas, nowhere near a gas station. What to do? Easy! Just wait a couple minutes for some guy to come along with an old plastic bottle full of gasoline and pour it on in.
You see, Indonesia has gas stations like any other country I’ve been to. But they also have random people who sell plastic bottles of gas on the side of the road. Sometimes these plastic bottles are old drinking water bottles they have saved and refilled with fuel. This phenomenon has made it onto my “accidents waiting to happen” list.
And as long as I’m talking about fuel, I’ll also mention that the school driver who takes me to and from campus each weekday occasionally stops to refuel when I’m in the car. He always goes to a real gas station… aaaaaand he always leaves the car running while he pumps gas. This kinda freaked me out the first time he did it, but a friend later told me that newer cars have safer spark plugs or something so it’s really not a safety hazard like it used to be. I’m going to choose to believe that. Otherwise that means I’m on the “accidents waiting to happen” list.