Indonesia 70th Merdeka Parade Malang (East Java, Indonesia)

One of the magical things about travel is that sometimes the coolest things happen when you least expect it. Today we had a late start, not heading out until lunch time. We’ve been staying up ridiculously late every night and now Paul has traveler’s gut so we just take it easy. Have I mentioned before that we’re here for a good time not extreme traveling.

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I do some Trip Advisor research and find a cafe that looks promising so that’s where we head for lunch. On our way there we notice that something is happening. There are more toy and food vendors than usual.

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A crowd lines the street that leads to the cafe.

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It just gets busier as we near the cafe and it’s obvious there will be a parade here today. We figure the cafe is probably a great place to wait. The cafe has a small menu with a mix of Western and Indonesian foods. We both order cheeseburgers and orange juice. Here’s the thing about Indonesia: you can buy cheap as chips street food on the one hand and delicious reasonably priced restaurant foods.

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And then the parade begins with an American style marching band followed by lots and lots of traditional floats. The music is live and the smiles real.

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The spectators are just as interesting as the floats. Scooters are parked everywhere and for the first half of the parade cars keep driving down the road.

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People steal flowers from the floats.

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And famous Javanese smiles abound.

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Almost two hours after it started the last floats enter the street and the spectators decide it’s time to leave. The traffic jam that ensues is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. People start riding their scooters away while there are still floats coming towards them.

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Whole families straddle their legs across scooter seats. This is the most economical family “car” there is around. I can’t help but wonder what these families must think of Australians’ general belief that motorbikes are dangerous and our unwillingness to take even one child on the back of a bike, let alone three. How different things are across our planet

4 thoughts on “Indonesia 70th Merdeka Parade Malang (East Java, Indonesia)

  1. A brilliant blog, with great photos, so good you’ve concentrated on the crowds. Interesting the way the parents have helmets on, but not the children. Do you know what the celebration was for?

    • The celebration was for 70 years Independence of Indonesia. The helmet thing is so funny. It is a requirement by law that motorbike riders wear helmets but there is no clarity around passengers (I.e. Children). At night here no one wears a helmet … So the police must not enforce the law at night time. Haha. Most adult helmets are not done up either. Oh and they won’t do anything. Think of the flimsiest old school hard hat you’ve ever held … Hehe.

      I love crowds and group behaviour. Probably because I like to believe we humans are all connected.

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