Friday, August 22, 2008

Photostory Friday - Palembang Train Station (Part 2)

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

It was exactly a week ago that we went to check out the Palembang Train station. In last week's Photostory, I showed a deserted train station. This week, its the complete opposite. All the trains leave before 10am in the morning so thats why I didn't see anybody last week.

The place was full of travelers this morning. Thank goodness I didn't decide to try the economy class train to somewhere far away. Those carriages aren't air conditioned yet they had windows that were all half closed so, you can imagine the noise, heat and smell in there.

We took a ride on the new student's train to UNSRI (Universitas Srivijaya). Thats the one and only stop that the train makes and is only for students.

The two things I'll remember from the ride are: Firstly, they keep the doors open for half the journey! Two big doors on either side of the carriage, wide open, even when the train is running at full speed. I have no idea if they do this when the carriages are packed with students though.

The second thing is strange. The train reaches this little "stop", drops a man off and then reverses about 200m. The guy climbs a fence and goes into a little two story building to where the controls are I suppose and changes the rail alignments so that the train can go left to UNSRI. I don't know "train speak" so forgive me for all the inappropriate terms I'm using. We didn't pick the guy up afterwards so, I wonder if he just stays there for the rest of the day.

Here's what the scenery is like 2 mins out of Palembang. Its mostly paddy fields but they did have a few rubber estates in between.

OK. I just have to add this. I tried my best not to drink too much before leaving the house but I had to go to the restroom at the UNSRI stop anyway. To my surprise, it was clean but it must surely be the smallest restroom in the world! I swear, the width there is only the width of my shoulders. You can use the normal sized bucket at the bottom of the photo for reference.

For those of you who have never seen a toilet like this, its a squatting one and very common in Asia.


Mike said...

You did fine with the train speak. It was probably a switch tower.
What caught my attention was the last picture of the toilet. I think I would wind up stuck for sure.

Bilbo said...

It's too bad my Uncle Frank is no longer with us...he was a train lover (and editor of Trains Magazine for many years), and would have loved your railroading adventures. He'd probably have bought a ticket to Palembang just to be able to explain the parts of the engine you asked about yesterday...

That toilet is quite something. I've used squat toilets many times in my travels, but never one quite this ... um ... narrow. Maybe it's part of an Indonesian Government plan to keep people thin?

MamaGeek said...

You already know what Thomas fanatics we are so my guy would LOVE this! Now that toilet? I think I might wet myself first. :)

JennWasHere said...

I am from South East Asia (Philippines) and when we were kids, the old house in our dad's hometown used to have that kind of toilet. I used to think it has gone obsolete, but when I was in Baguio City, I was surprised that their public toilets for "peeing" has this one, too!


Tiaras and Tantrums said...

cool shots and story - very asian toliet!

Peter Dyrholm said...

well last week I was wondering about the train station with goats and nothing else...

Now what if you have to go home in the middle of the day? I guess you don't or hmm walk.

I have seen toilets like that before but not that narrow.
Any sign saying don't splash the floor?
It sure does look different from what I am used to but on the other hand it's get in and get done with ;-)

Sass E-mum said...

That is narrow. I'd back up... but then find my elbows would stick out too wide when pulling down my jeans... Aargh... too much information;)

Golightly said...

Wow, what an experience. As for the potty, I experience similar in Lavia, threw me off at first.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

What a fun little trip for you all. Beautiful scenery. I'm still not sure I'd feel comfortable using the squatting kind...... I guess it's all in how you grew up and what you're use to.