In the morning paper I read that thousands of trucks were lined up at the harbor to cross over to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. For three days in a row the newspaper reported that trucks were stranded at the port not far from the capital, Jakarta. Traffic jams are a daily occurrence in Jakarta but this was unusual for trucks headed to Sumatra Island. On a calm day news wise, I decided to go to the port just 120 kilometers (74 miles) away.
After driving for three hours, I arrived at the back of the truck queue. I started to walk through. Truck drivers sat on the street alongside vendors. The smell of urine stung my nose.
I wanted to show the number of trucks lined up so I thought my first photo should be an overall view from above. I started to look for high ground with my goal being on top of a truck, so I needed to talk nicely to a truck driver to get permission. I thought they would welcome me with a smile when I approached them. But my prediction was off. Instead, they looked at me suspiciously as I initiated the conversation. After I told them I was a journalist they were less suspicious. Later I discovered they thought I could have been a thief or a pickpocket.
I chose the tallest truck and his driver Zaenuri. Carrying soap, detergent and shampoo Zaenuri’s destination was Lubuk Linggau, a city in South Sumatra province. To cover the 940 km (584 miles) he usually drives for two days.
Zaenuri and other truck drivers happily helped me reach the top of the truck. First, they carried my camera to the top and then pushed me up. Having reached the top, I had to sit as there were no handles or safety devices. For almost four hours I enjoyed siting on the truck until darkness fell. The view was perfect. Over the four hours the truck only moved around 550 yards and stopped again.