A typical frame of mind in the concept of ‘middle class’ in developing world is to own a car but in heavy traffic jam city like Jakarta, taking public transportation can reduce stress and reduce time. A favorite means of transportation is the ‘ojek’, motorcycle taxi if I may say. For us living in the suburbs, we have executive trains available transporting to the center of the city. The trains are Japanese subway trains that are granted (with a price) from the Japanese government so sometimes the Kanji writings for every stop still shows. In cold rainy days, these air conditioned trains can be as cold as autumn can be in northern countries. As travel can be boring I would imagine that I was riding the train in Japan. When I got married and had to move to Japan, I rode in the new versions of the train and sometimes giggle about it.
I studied anthropology so I like to observe human behavior in the social context and therefore I enjoy a lot traveling with public transportation especially the economical class because live is harder, then people have to be creative in order to survive. There are people selling food, selling toys, selling books, selling dumping products from China and lot’s more, it is just fun to see. At the end of the Soeharto era, most of the food sold in public where using real material and taken quite good care of. The taste comes as close as products that you will find in supermarkets. As the reformation era came and live became much harder, they had to find ways to cut production cost by means of adding substance that worsen the taste or making it more hazardous or by reducing the content of the food. More pick pocket and aggressive robbery happens even in the day time.
Since the beginning of my student years, I had to travel a lot and most of the time with economical buses. The first year was very tough because I will always loose my mobile phone or wallet because my body was not trained to be alert. As my experience adds up, I hardly lost anything. Then, I came to know the body language of pick pockets or robbers and can fool or pull pranks on them. When the skills got very advance, I could build the feeling of empathy and pity of robbers against me that makes them change their mind or forget what they wanted to do against me. I think those psychology theories in literature class were really useful.
I usual skip breakfast at home to taste the various assorted snack sold in the rain station or inside the train. One of it is very simple fried donuts topped with sugar. They taste great in the cold morning, freshly fried.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 sachet (6 gr) yeast
3/4 cup luke warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fine/caster sugar
How to prepare:
-in a bowl add the sugar, yeast and luke warm milk, stir and let it foam, set aside
-in another bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt egg, mix well
-add little by little taking turn, the milk and vegetable oil, mix well
-kneed until the dough is fine, add some more flour if it is sticky
-roll it flat and cut into dough pieces
-heat new oil, fry the doughnut until golden brown, take out and drain the oil
-while still warm, bathe the doughnut in sugar and serve