Here in Jakarta where public displays of affection are not widely accepted it is very unusual to see anyone holding hands or sharing an intimate moment with their husband/wife/lover. In Australia, especially during the warmers summer months, the parks are filled with young love, and the streets are filled with happiness as couples stroll hand in hand laughing and sharing intimate glances with eachother.
So for me, I have found that motorbikes are the most romantic thing in this crazy city. As you cruise around the streets it is not unusual to see whole families on a single bike, squished tightly together and often one or more of the children are asleep in their parents arms or with their head resting on the steering panel. Then there are the married couples or young lovers with their arms placed around their partners waists – even if it just for safety, for me I like to think of it as the only time that people can be carefree in their affection for eachother whilst out on the streets.
A visit to the Pasar Minggu flyover to watch motor cinta was a new experience for me. I didn’t want to get too close and ruin couple’s special moments together as they stopped on the bridge to eat a meal together or just enjoy their time without prying eyes from families or friends. It was so sweet as motorbikes stopped by the side of the road as the traffic went by, and trains passed underneath. The city lights were only bright enough to illuminate the night sky and not show the surrounding mess and filth on the streets, it’s like been transported to another place where couples can momentarily lose themselves in the moment and enjoy the time to chat together and just be at peace in each other’s company.
As I ventured to read the messages of love written on the railings, I couldn’t help but laugh at the scenes happening on the streets below. Jakarta seems to be a city of no road rules where a red traffic light just means that everyone can continue to travel in every direction, where a petrol truck passed us with people dancing and singing on the top of the barrel, and buses stopped in the middle of the road in moving traffic to let off passengers and their luggage… I am always perplexed by the crazy scenes that I see here every day and that no rules seem to apply to anything, except perhaps the concept of public displays of affection..
So to all those lovers that stop by the flyover, I hope that you find magic in your time together, that you can also laugh at the scenes around you and feel a moment of freedom to be yourself and enjoy your emotions, we are all only human after all.