How “Becak” gave us a happy experience
Posted August 17, 2009on:
I always thought taking a becak at night is a very romantic experience. So when my girlfriend suddenly shouted excitedly, “Look, there’s a becak!” while walking at Braga, Bandung, I spontaneously replied, “Let’s go around the city with it.”
I could see her approval to my idea. She looked so happy and couldn’t wait to jump into the becak’s small seat. I asked the “abang” becak how much I needed to pay to go around Alun-Alun with his becak; he answered politely with his Sundanese accent, “20 ribu aja atuh.” We almost had an argument to get a cheaper price, but soon realized that it would be too cruel to bargain (realizing that we’re not that thin).
Bandung’s weather proved to be so much more breathable than Jakarta’s and circling around Braga and Alun-Alun with becak was indeed a romantic experience. We didn’t talk that much during our ride. Perhaps, we were squeezing our bodies too hard on the small becak’s seat. But we still managed to smile and admired the excitement riding the becak. It had been so long since our last becak experience.
From our seat we could hear how the tukang becak was trying so hard to keep his vehicle moving. I felt so guilty for being too fat. I told myself if only I could replace him and let him sit instead and enjoy the scenery; but soon changed my mind, not wanting to let myself embarrassed.
One thing we learned from having our first becak experience in Bandung was the fact that it wasn’t easy to take pictures while being on the seat of a becak. My girlfriend tried her best to hold her pocket-sized camera at the right angle, but she just couldn’t get a good picture. And she gave up.
But again really, taking a becak ride was indeed a fun experience (and romantic too, depending whom you’re with). It felt so peaceful to have the soft wind hit our faces. The sound of cars, motorcycles, and people walking by somehow felt like God’s beautiful symphony from our becak’s seat. Not to mention how were surrounded by old and colonial buildings.
I wish it would’ve lasted so much longer. If only the tukang becak had been stronger, I would probably have asked him to take us not only Braga and Alun-Alun but the whole city Bandung with his becak. But I knew he had to take a rest, he was already losing his breath when we finally told him to stop.
I didn’t have the heart to give his Rp 20,000 that he had asked. Instead, I gave him an extra Rp 5,000 for his generosity. He smiled and looked happy. I said, “No, I thank you. You just gave us a happy experience!”