Imagine hundreds of tiny buses. Beaten up little milk-cartons blurting out black smoke. Two doors jammed open. Every crevice packed with bodies. A man shakes a hairy fist of change at you. You hand over a limp, sweaty note. Now hold onto your crap and mind your pockets - You’re on a Metro Mini.
There is no doubt. This is the most likely place you’re going to be robbed. So if you visit Jakarta you basically HAVE to catch one. Rub the shoulders with locals. Catch their transport. Toss away the ‘white man’ stereotype and broaden your white-bread mind.
I could tell you how and when to pay, how to make the bus stop - and that the green buses are called Kopaja. I could, but it’s better to learn with a bus load of people staring at you. Just do it. Live a little.
The driver eyes you through the rear vision mirror. A woman flicks the ceiling twice and everything grinds to a halt. Traffic flows past your dirty window like a tide. A little boy with a drum-kit leaps on. He belts out a good tune and thrusts a coin bag in your face. What now? Where are you? Who knows. Who cares.