Economy Train Experience


In Indonesia going by train in economy class can be annoying and interesting as well. The ticket is quite cheap only 4000 rupiah (Rp.4000) to get this old fashion train with reclining seat. Economy class usually stops at many small stations and thatís one of reasons why it always takes long time in the journey. The other reason is when economy class will be running in the same rail and the same time with executive or business class from the same or opposite direction, the economy class must stop and wait even for long time till the executive or business class passes through the rail.
If you want to get a seat just catch the train in the first station because it is always crowded and messy, but if you are lucky you can get a seat even in a crowded coach. People who donít get seats usually stand or sit in the floor or even in useless toilet. The activity that I really like to do during the journey is observing people. Watching their behavior or listening to their conversation can be interesting. I find many different people and different behavior. Years ago when I was about to Lamongan from Surabaya by economy diesel train which only had hard bench instead of reclining seats I met a man brought a big cage with a chicken in it. In another day I saw someone brought a bicycle to a crowded coach. I also notice some sleeping behavior on the train. Some people sleep in the seat by covering their face with handkerchief, some sleep by leaning their head to the backrest of the seat with their mouth open, some sleep in the perfect sitting position, and some sleep by laying their body over the seat as if they mind to share the seat with somebody else.
I think that economy class is multifunction. I find plenty of hawkers who sell various things like foods, drinks, clothes, stationeries, accessories, literary books and dictionary, toys, flashlight, battery or even stuffs that you never think those are sold on the train such as rat poison, portable sewing machine, massage tools, cell phone battery, mini portable fun, kitchen tools, etc. What a creative people! Itís just like that the economy class becomes moving mall or moving market. Yes, indeed you can do shopping there! You can get many kinds of item without going or looking for in real market or mall. Just sit and wait for the hawkers passing through the aisle. These hawkers waiting for the train in the railway station, when the train stops they jump in to the train then walk along the aisle to offer the merchandises by shouting over the coach. Then when the train is starting to run some of them come out but some are still on the train to continue at selling and come out in the next stop. They do the same thing over and over when the other economy trains arrive.
Over all I just try to enjoy and find some pleasant instead of get bored or annoyed in that kind of place and situation. Just enjoy the trip!

Kholidah P

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