Monday, 21 February 2011

A Cycle Rickshaw Called Becak

In island Java you will spot a cradle type three wheel mode of transportation called Becak (pronounced as bechaa).This is similar to Indian rickshaw in usage but little different in outlook, and much different in travel experience. I have seen three types of rickshaws in India – Tri Cycle Paddle Rickshaw, Kolkata Rickshaw (man pulled, now not common! I saw in the city of Kolkata only) and Auto Rickshaw (motorised –rickshaw, improved version of Bajaj in Indonesia). The paddle Becak is a three wheeled tricycle cart, the driver is behind the passenger, the front is box type and slightly elevated. Now, there are motorised fuel run Becaks too, I saw many in Madiun and Yogyakarta.
The Becak paddlers are mostly from villages (Kampung Desa), they come to city in search of job. They find this job easy and more rewarding, than working say in a hotel or as a hawker. They are paid reasonably well also - for covering a distance of about 1.5-2 kilometer one is expected to pay at least Rp.10,000 (equivalent to Rs 50). Many Indonesian pay a little extra also, like Rp. 2,000, thinking this may help him in uplifting his economic condition. Indonesians respect each other, they are helpful by nature.
I first saw becak in Semarang city…..very enticing in appearance. Same day,I tasted a drive, well at 23:00 hours - travel was serene, fun and quite an experience. I felt as if I am in a cradle and very much on my own….just me and the long way. The paddler was very calm, very much into his job …detached from the passenger. Different from Indian Rickshaw paddlers /drivers, whatever... I love travelling by them. Indian rickshaw paddlers are very much attentive to listen your conversation with the fellow passenger, or what you are saying over phone. Some even dare to know your story. 
Well, India is IncredibleThanks so much for reading, Selamat Malam!

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