During the first 48 hours in Palembang, Indonesia, I have traveled just about every way known to man. My travel partner and I checked out of our fancy international hotel in Jakarta and traveled by coach bus to the airport.
After a local friend negotiated our excess baggage fees down to $10, we hopped a one hour flight to the neighboring island.
Our host teacher, Agustina picked us up from the airport in her friend’s SUV. The next morning, we went by hired car to Ogan Ilir, the small village where we would be staying for the next two days. Once we made it to the village, we hired drivers to take us to the Ogan river bank via mopeds.
After our time in the village, we took the public transportation to Ogan Ilir Department of Education offices. But don’t let the traditional idea of public transportation fool you. This was a mini van with the back seats removed. They were replaced with a single bench that lined the walls of the van. At one point, we were packed 11 deep.
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My knees ached from conforming myself to such a small space. “Gosh, I can’t believe how many people are jammed in here,” I said to myself. Suddenly, the van stopped and two more people climbed in. Somehow, we managed to squeeze 13 people in the back of this van, not including one person in the front seat and the driver. No seat belts were worn and no lives were lost- – all for 5,000 rupiah, the equivalent of 50 cents.